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Aloe Varieties

August 05, 2000|JULIE BAWDEN DAVIS

There's a lot to choose from when it comes to aloes. Here are a few types that are generally easy to find:

* A. arborescens: A shrubby aloe that mounds and can reach 5 to 10 feet tall when mature. Flower spikes are scarlet red or yellow, and appear from late winter to early spring. Leaves are light green and spiny edged, and can grow up to 2 feet long.

* A. cameronii: Often grown as a shrub, this multiheaded plant grows 24 to 30 inches tall and forms a ball due to the numerous offsets it creates. In the heat of summer, the green leaves turn a brick red. Flowers are dark red and bloom in spring.

* A. ferox: This single-stem aloe will reach 9 to 10 feet over many years, forming a large rosette at the top that is 3 to 5 feet across. The leaves are green with a spiny surface and reddish brown teeth on the margins. The flowers appear in winter and are a vivid orange-red.

* A. marlothii: A tall, single stemmed plant that can grow 5 to 6 feet across and 9 to 12 feet tall. It has orange-yellow flowers in winter that branch out horizontally. The leaves are about 3 feet long and have a bluish tinge and heavy spines.

* A. rauhii: The leaves of this small plant become a lavender blue with intense light. It grows 6 to 8 inches tall in a small clump of rosettes.

* A. saponaria: This plant has low-growing, spreading clumps of green leaves with white markings. In summer, a flower stalk grows 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet above the foliage with orange-red to shrimp pink flowers.

* A. striata: This is a low-growing, solitary rosette that reaches 18 inches tall. It has bluish green leaves and striking coral pink to coral orange flowers in spring.

* A. variegata: Commonly known as partridge-breasted aloe, this is a popular clumping plant that can grow up to 1 1/2 feet tall. The leaves are flat and channel-like. Red flowers come in spring. It thrives in very dry conditions.

* A. vera: Also known as medicinal aloe, this plant has clustering rosettes of fleshy, narrow, stiffly upright leaves that are 1 to 2 feet long. Three-foot orange or yellow flower spikes appear in summer.

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