About me

About me
🌿 I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Aloe ferox beauty


A wonderful succulent to have in the garden is Aloe ferox, they never fail to bring colour in winter, and provide much-needed nourishment to birds and insects during a time of scarcity.

Indigenous to South Africa’s Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho, it is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication, and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics.


The bitter aloe will reach 2-3 metres in height with the leaves arranged in a rosette. The old leaves remain after they have dried, forming a "petticoat" on the stem. The leaves are a dull green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them. They may also have a reddish tinge. The "A. candelabrum form" has an elegant shape with the leaf tips curving slightly downwards. The spines along the leaf edge are reddish in colour. Spines may also be present on upper and lower surfaces of the leaves as well. Young plants tend to be very spiny.


The flowers are carried in a large candelabra-like flower-head. There are usually between five and eight branches, each carrying a spike-like head of many flowers. Flower colour varies from yellowy-orange to bright red. "A. candelabrum" has six to twelve branches and the flowers have their inner petals tipped with white.

Aloe ferox is not a demanding species to cultivate, and has no special requirements. It can be grown in a cool/warm glasshouse and put outside for the summer. It is best grown in free-draining compost, which should be soaked and allowed to dry out between waterings. It should be given lighter watering in winter, still allowing the compost to dry out in between. This species can be propagated from seed.

Aloe ferox is listed on the plant list of endangered plants (CITES - Appendix II) along with other wild species of this genus


(Afrikaans : Bitteraalwyn)
Die Bitteraalwyn (Aloe ferox) is ’n struik wat deel is van die aalwynfamilie en is ‘n inheemse plant van Suider Afrika. Die plant blom vanaf Mei tot September. Die struik is ’n stadige groeier met ’n enkelstam en dik, doringrige, vlesige blare en buisvormige, oranjerooi blomme. Dit is ’n uitstekende struik vir die rotstuin en verkies vol son en matige water.

Die sap van die blare word vir medisyne en skoonheidsprodukte gebruik. Die blaar van die Aloe ferox plant bevat twee verskillende sappe, nl. geel bitter sap en wit aalwynjel. Albei die sappe is heilsaam vir die liggaam en word uitwendig sowel as inwendig gebruik. Die bitter sap is direk onder die groen skil geleë en is in werklikheid nog deel van die skil. Wanneer ‘n blaar van die plant afgesny word vloei hierdie geel bitter sap spontaan uit die blaar uit. Wanneer die bitter sap gekonsentreer word, word bitter kristalle of bitter poeier gevorm. Die binneste vlesige deel van die blaar is jellierig en bestaan uit ‘n wit slymerige sap wat aalwynjel genoem word. Aalwynjel is nie bitter nie.

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