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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Let’s celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July in style by showcasing – the gorgeous, golden-yellowStrelitzia, appropriately named after Madiba as ‘Mandela’s Gold’. It flowers beautifully this time of year and is an amazing feature plant. Also, Aloes are out with striking spears of yellow, orange and red, adding some much-needed warmth to our gardens and patios during these cool July days.
The global lockdown was indeed a rather scary experience, but it also presented a golden lining with some much needed time for humanity to reflect on our impact on the natural world. How chilling it was to observe the rapid decrease in air pollution, the abundant return of many animals to urban areas, and the increase in sea-life activity around the world. Hopefully, this will help us all to deepen our appreciation of Mother Nature and whole-heartedly celebrate the International Day of the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems on 26 July, and World Nature Conservation Day on 28 July.
Trending – Life is a garden with water-wise Aloes
Gone are the days that Aloes were only seen on road trips as large shrubs growing on mountain slopes. We have a huge variety of spectacular Aloes bred for our patio pots and gardens. Breathe warmth into your winter garden and attract sunbirds and bees at the same time. Aloes range from dwarf forms like ‘Peri Peri’ and ‘Hedgehog’ to the multi-coloured ‘Charles’ and ‘Ballerina’, the rich colours of ‘Fireball’, ‘Andy’s Yellow’, ‘Gold Sparkle’ and many more. These sculptural plants have interesting leaf shapes and colours such as ‘Freckles’,which has grey tones and speckles, and Aloe striata, which has stunning pink-lined flat, grey leaves. Treat yourself by visiting your local GCA Garden Centre and choosing one that blows your hair back.
Best veggies to grow in the winter
It may be a bit late to make a start on some of these veggies right now, but you can always plan for next winter too:
- Baby spinach, which is all the rage in cooking and in salads, is available to sow from seed and plant from seedlings almost throughout the year.