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Products > Aloe reitzii var. vernalis
Aloe reitzii var. vernalis - Reitz' Spring Aloe
Image of Aloe reitzii var. vernalis
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Aloe reitzii var. vernalis (Vryheid Aloe) - A robust stemless plant, usually with a few rosettes to 3 feet tall, with long relatively broad silvery blue-green leaves with reddish teeth along the margins. In late winter into spring (and sometimes in summer) arises the spectacular inflorescence, which is often unbranched as a younger plant but branching near its base on more mature plants, with each stem becoming a vertical spike rising well above the foliage and holding dark red to orange-red down curved flowers that lie flat against the stems with oldest flowers turning yellow at the tips starting from the bottom of the spike.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate rarely to occasionally. Hardy to 25 F. A great plant for the dry garden or as a container specimen, though seed grown plants can take up to 7 years to mature and begin blooming. This variety has the same type of inflorescence as the species with its downturned dark red flowers that open orange to yellow but with slightly smaller floral bracts and seed capsules, but what is most unusual is that variety vernalis flowers in the late winter and early spring, while Aloe reitzii var. reitzii, which we also grow, flowers in the summer.

Aloe reitzii var. reitzii has a restricted distribution in a very small area on rocky slopes in the grasslands near the Belfast district of Mpumalanga in northern KwaZulu-Natal but this late winter flowering variety is only known from a single population, growing on steep slopes to the south around Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, and it is this location that gives this plant one of its common names, the Vryheid Aloe. This name is somewhat confusing since from this same area there is a single stemmed short tree aloe, Aloe vryheidensis, that might more rightfully be called by this name. For this reason, we have come to call this plant Reitz' Spring Aloe. Gilbert Reynolds named Aloe reitzii 1943 to honor Francis William Reitz, then the South African Minister of Agriculture and nephew of the president of the Orange Free State, with whom he shared the same last name. The varietal name comes from the Latin word 'ver' which means spring (as in the vernal equinox) is reference to this varieties unusual spring flowering season. Our stock on this plant came from a single plant purchased in 2009 from John Miller at the Institute of Aloe Studies as Aloe reitzii var. vernalis IAS09-051. 

This information about Aloe reitzii var. vernalis displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.