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Tilt-head aloe

Aloe speciosa

Slaphoringaalwyn, Spaansaalwyn (Afr.)

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A tall, up right growing solitary to branched aloe that reaches up to 6 m in height. Its leaves are blueish-green and has serrated, pale red leaf margins. The leaves can be used to dye wool a delicate pink. The large cylindrical flower heads display striking red buds that open up during spring time to reveal green-white flowers. It is easily distinguished by the head of rosette leaves that are permanently tilted to the north in the southern hemisphere.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Winter, Spring
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Seeds should be allowed to dry for at least 3 months after flowering before they are harvested.

Propagation

Seed
Best grown from seed treated with fungicide. Sow during spring or summer in a well-drained, sandy medium. Cover the seed with 2-3 mm of sand and water well. Germination is usually within 3-4 weeks.

Special features

Attracts birds
The flowers produce nectar that attracts sunbirds.
Attracts useful insects
The flowers produce nectar that attracts bees, butterflies and ants.

Geography

Origin
Swellendam in the Western Cape to the Kei River in the Eastern Cape
Natural climate
Subtropical thickets and dry river valleys

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Ornamental
Being drought-resistant it is an ideal plant for the water-wise garden.
Fabric colouring
The leaves can be used to dye wool a delicate pink without the use of mordants (substances that set the dye on fabric).

Personality

Family
Asphodelaceae
Flower colour
, Pink
Scent
None

Problems

Generally not affected by diseases, but Aloe speciosa is occasionally prone to rust especially when grown in dense stands. It can be treated by spraying affected plants with copper-oxychloride.

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