I love winter in Durban, especially when the aloes start blooming. I’ve spotted the first one in my garden, isn’t is beautiful?
Apologies for my blog slackness. The aloes in our garden are a magnificent display of orange at the moment and I absolutely had to do a post about them. They really are flaunting it. Not quite sure which exact aloes these little babies are – but they sure are beautiful…
I’ve been told they are indigenous and that they are also used as a protection plant of sorts in Zulu culture. That is all I know. Anyone got any more to say?
I really do love aloes and the aloe tenuior (Basutho Kraal Aloe, inhlaba empofu) in my garden is currently flowering. This plant forms a thick shrub with spikes of red flowers shooting off it, attracting both whitebellied and Black Sunbirds. The plant is also used as a protective charm by inyangas and a remedy (made from roots and leave) treats tapeworm infestations (from Pitta Joffe’s Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants).
It is really easy to propagate – just break off a branch and stick it straight into the soil.
I never knew this little guy was an aloe – although now that I think about it the red/orange flowers are very similar to the other, larger aloes I have.
Its official name is aloe aristata and they were first ‘discovered’ in the Drakensburg in KwaZulu-Natal, but their habitat stretches from the eastern Karoo to the Eastern Cape to Lesotho. They have thick, juicy leaves with small spines on them which form a rosette (the leaves, not the spines).
I’ve always grown these in pots which would explain why they have remained quite small. I think I will set one ‘free’ in my garden to see how big it gets.