Posts Tagged ‘ Eco ’

What to do once your aloes have bloomed

Posted on: September 30th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

The sensational aloe show is over, what now? Here’s what do once your beloved aloes have bloomed to ensure they’re prepped and ready for their next vibrant parade.Once your precious aloes have finished flowering, it is recommended to cut off the flower stalks. Plants will put a lot of energy and reserves into producing  seeds, which is why trimming is needed to redirect that energy for new growth instead.


Growing aloes from seed can be a fun and a most rewarding hobby, however, if you plant seeds from aloe hybrids, they will not be true to type. This means that the seedlings will not be genetically identical to the parent and won’t look and perform the same. If you wish to grow species from seed, be sure to purchase your seeds from a reliable source to ensure that you do in fact get the pure aloe species you want, and not miscellaneous hybrids as these plants hybridise very easily.

Bloomed Aloe
Bloomed Aloe

Although one might not see signs of growth above ground in winter, the aloes are getting ready for summer by growing gorgeous new roots. If you dug up an aloe in July, you would see bright yellow new roots being formed. Start feeding your aloes again from late July/August. with a nutritious fertiliser (available at your GCA Garden Centre) every 3 months to ensure a spectacular flower display next winter.

Throughout the year, carefully monitor your aloes for common pests and diseases like Snout beetle, mealy bug, aloe cancer, and aloe rust. Treat your plants as soon as possible with organic pesticides available at garden centres.

A little succulent maintenance will go a long way, all the way to next winter to be precise. Take care of your gems and enjoy the booming rewards to follow.


Say ALOE to your little friends

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Aloe is part of the succulent family with a long history of medicinal use, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Today, this miracle plant is grown worldwide and is still used to treat all sorts of skin ailments, viruses, and bacterial infections. In addition, aloes are a superb choice for bright landscaping and bringing texture to the garden with attractive foliage and large blooms grabbing attention where ever they are planted. Check out Life is a Garden’s super aloe short-list for plants available now at GCA Garden Centres, nationwide.


Aloe ‘Peri-Peri’

This aloe is ideal for smaller gardens and pots, specifically for colder regions. It flowers in early autumn with a profusion of pinky-red flowers. When planted as a mass border in drier, sunny gardens, Aloe Peri-peri adds a tremendous splash of colour. They grow easily and are immune to aloe cancer and most other slow diseases; however, they can get black spot in high alkaline gardens. This stunner attracts birds, butterflies, and many insect species to the garden. It has medicinal anti-bacterial properties that support external wound healing.


Did you know? The University of Pretoria is well-known for its autumn Peri-peri aloe show and this plant is also one of the base plants in the Jason Sampsons layout.


Aloe ‘Hedgehog’

This low growing, clump-forming aloe has become a real winner in the South African horticultural industry. The Hedgehog is suited for small gardens and mass planting, as well as container gardening. They are fast-growing with ever-expanding rosettes of foliage and orange-red flowers. Under unfavourable conditions, they may be susceptible to aloe cancer.

Cultivation: Sun/semi-shade, rich drained soil, medium watering

Size: Multi-stemmed 200mm x 200mm

Flowering time: June - August (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: Up to -5°C

Released: 2006


Did you know? The Hedgehog aloe is the first aloe to be developed and released in South Africa, specifically for the landscaping industry, and has officially become the best-selling aloe hybrid in S.A.

Aloe ‘Charles’

The Charles is certainly one of the most spectacular large aloes available. Their abundant racemes are strong red to white and are simply breath-taking. They grow easily, generally becoming single-stemmed with several dichotomous branches. Their peak flowering time is from early July to early August. Aloe Charles is the perfect statement-maker and will grow well in masses with plenty of sun and rich soil. They are highly resistant to most aloe diseases too.


Did you know? This aloe was named in loving memory of Charles Andrew de Wet Snr. - an inspiration and role model to his son, an avid aloe grower.

Aloe top tip: They flourish in full sun and will produce more blooms and have better disease resistance. They do not like wet feet and will perform best in rich soil.

Aloe ‘Bushwhacker’

The Bushwhacker produces an abundance of pink to creamy-white flowers from late May to June. This beautifully showy, medium-sized aloe grows relatively fast and looks good on its own, but even better when planted in masses or in a pot. Bushwhackers have a high resistance to most aloe diseases. Sap from the leaves can be used externally to help treat acne, minor cuts and burns.

Cultivation: Full sun, moderate watering, rich soil

Size: Short stem with side shoots, 700mm high x 600mm wide

Flowering time: May – June

Cold tolerance: -4°C

Released: 2012


Fun fact: Greeks believed aloe cured baldness and ancient writings say that even Cleopatra used it.

Aloe ‘Goldfish’ var. ANDgol PBR PT7147

The Goldfish is an attractive re-blooming aloe that flowers throughout the year. It is a wonderfully small, suckering aloe that is well suited for containers or rocky areas. Plants have speckled foliage with red leaf margins and yellow to light orange flowers. They are hardy, water-wise, and a charming addition to smaller gardens and patios.


Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 35cm high x 40cm wide

Flowering time: Early winter and sporadic re-blooming throughout the year (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -2°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2016


Aloe ‘Medallion’

Developed as a distinct improvement on aloe Vanbalenii, the Medallion offers a profusion of brighter yellow flowers that grow faster, compared to the more dull yellow of the Vanbalenii. They are strong and stemless, discolouring to red during winter if given less water. The Medallion is a real gem in all sized gardens and landscapes with good resistance to aloe cancer.


Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 60cm high x 100cm wide

Flowering time: Early June to early August (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -4°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2018

Fun fact: Aloes consist of 99% water and can even be found on islands in the Indian Ocean.


Aloe ‘White Rhino’

Here is a tall, single-stemmed aloe with dichotomous branches and attractive grey foliage. The White Rhino boasts an abundance of stunning white flowers, growing effortlessly from a base of succulent rosette leaves. These plants grow much faster than the white form of aloe Ferox, giving it an advantage in the garden, both as a bedding plant and in containers. The sap from these leaves contain strong antibacterial properties to assist with skin abrasions and minor insect bites.


Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 1.8m high x 1.m wide

Flowering time: Early June to late July (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -5°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2018

Aloe top tip: Prepare aloe beds with copious amounts of organic material, such as compost or well-rotted manure and bonemeal for super root health.

All of these super succulents are available now at GCA Garden Centres, nationwide. Call ahead and see which aloes your centre has in stock, or use our handy store locator to find the next centre closest to you: GCA Garden Centres. While you’re there, remember to grab some soil and compost. Your GCA Garden Centre advisor will be able to recommend which products to use. You can also do further research on your new aloe and learn more about its medicinal properties and how you can go about using them.


ALOE-lujah for Africa’s Medicine!

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

For thousands of years, Aloe has been revered for its many profound medicinal uses. From the Ancient Egyptians to present-day Western civilisation, the long history and wide-spread use of this miracle plant has withstood the test of time, and will good reason! Aloe features as the main ingredient in so many skin, beauty, and health products around the world. Check out Life is a Garden’s indigenous super succulent short-list that’ll get you singing ALOE-lujah in no time!


Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens)
  • Appearance: A multi-headed shrub with large sunset-hued flowers and striking leaves.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers in autumn/winter.
  • BFF Benefits: Attracts birds, drought-resistant, good as a hedge/screen.
  • Magical powers: Used as an anti-bacterial, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, hypoglycaemic, and to treat open wounds.


Bitter aloe (Aloe ferox Mill.)
  • Appearance: Reaches a height of 2-3 metres with huge flowers and rosette leaves.
  • Get growing: skill in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers in autumn/winter.
  • BFF Benefits: Good for pots, attracts birds, and is drought resistant.
  • Magical powers: The secret ingredient in Schwedenbitters, also used for its laxative properties, arthritis treatment, skin disorders, and wound healing.


Fun fact: Aloes consist of 99% water and can even be found on islands in the Indian Ocean.

Fence aloe (Aloiampelos tenuior)
  • Appearance: Slender scrambler with masses of delicate orange-red flowerheads.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers from early summer.
  • BFF Benefits: Feeds honeybees, good for pots, attracts birds, drought-resistant.
  • Magical powers: In traditional medicine, the roots and leaves are used as a purgative and tapeworm remedy.
Soap aloe (Aloe maculata)
  • Appearance: Heads of bright sunset flowers with sword-shaped, spotted leaf rosettes.
  • Get growing: skill in full/partial sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers year-round.
  • BFF Benefits: Attracts a variety of flyers, good for beds and borders, tolerates salt.
  • Magical powers: The sap from the leaves can be used as a soap alternative (or used in homemade soap) owing to the strong anti-bacterial qualities.


Fun fact: Greeks believed aloe cured baldness and ancient writings say that even Cleopatra used it.

Cooper's aloe (Aloe cooperi Bak.)
  • Appearance: Grows like funky tall grass, alone or in small groups, with spiked flowers.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full/semi sun with sandy soil, flowers from late summer.
  • BFF Benefits: Good in pots and as screens, attracts birds, edible flowers and leaves.
  • Magical powers: Young shoots, flowers, and leaves are loaded with minerals. Harvest them to cook in a stew as a nutritious vegetable.


Quiver tree (Aloidendron dichotomum)
  • Appearance: A hardy tree with smooth branches, blue-green leaves and yellow flowers.
  • Get growing: Challenging to grow (but worth it) in full sun, flowers in winter.
  • BFF Benefits:  Good potted tree, attracts and homes flyers like sugar birds and weavers.
  • Magical powers: Young flower buds can be eaten (tastes similar to asparagus), roots are used in traditional medicine to treat asthmaand

Top aloe tip: Ensure your beds or pots have good drainage as aloes hate having wet feet. Keep an eye out for fungus and root rot.

Plan ahead or plant now, but whatever you do, grow aloe! Visit your local GCA Garden Centre to see which indigenous and exotic aloes they have in store, as well as soil mixes and food for your new super succulent. Read up about your wonder plant and familiarise yourself with its medicinal properties and how you can go about using them. Enjoy growing your own muthi and say aloe to your new best friends. Life is a Garden – how will you heal yours?