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Aloe Aloe

New Aloe Ice Cream is two tonedAloe flowers attract so many of the nectar loving birds. After the drought of this summer the aloes are looking even more spectacular this year. The selection really is getting bigger and bigger as new varieties are bred. We love winter aloes because this is when they flower in striking tones of yellow through orange to red and the nectar from the aloe flowers attract many of the nectar loving birds.

Winter is Aloe flowering seasonMost Aloes are suited to hot dry positions but will grow in any garden where they get a lot of sun and are planted in well drained soil. We love aloes because they flower from late autumn in striking tones of yellow through orange to red. The nectar from the aloe flowers attracts many of the nectar loving birds at a time when many of their other food sources are limited.

Grow the best Aloes in containers or open garden beds, they are that adaptable. In the garden plant them with a layer of river sand at the bottom of the hole to aid drainage. In a container always use potting soils mixed with river sand or use a readymade succulent mix.

Aloes flower even better as they matureMany Aloes are indigenous to South Africa and are featured in many modern landscapes as aloes also have very architectural lines and as such suit the contemporary designs of homes currently being built. The leaves are also interesting and vary from green to grey and most have small spines on them which make them look prehistoric and yet very contemporary at the same time.

Remember in essence they are the epitome of #WaterWise so they don’t need that much water. As with all succulents, it's essential that aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering. With little to no maintenance you can enjoy many years of flowers that become better every year as the plant matures.

A new hybrid Krans AloeThere are many varieties to suit any garden style. Every year there are more and more hybrids being launched as they have become so popular and even collectable. The dwarf varieties flower on mass and are quite striking in the garden.  They will clump naturally but look stunning if planted in groups of three or more and complimented with pebbles or low grasses such as Mondo Grass.

What can go wrong?

Be on the lookout for Scale which is the most common problem locally. This shows as a white speckle which covers the underside of the leaves. Spray with a contact insecticide. We recommend Oleum as an organic and safe product. With two or three applications it will clear altogether.

Aloe Hedgehog is a dwarf clumping varietyIn recent years we have seen more and more Kanker on aloes. This is where one sees the flowers or leaves almost mangled they are that malformed. This is caused by a mite insect which is almost impossible to see so most people miss it until the damage is dome. Use a systemic insecticide such as Efekto Plant Protector as a drench at flowering time as well as in midsummer to keep it under control. Destroy the leaves and flowers that are ruined to limit the infection and to stop it from spreading.

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