Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox


Aloe ferox (Cape Aloe)

Aloe ferox (Cape Aloe) is a succulent with erect, unbranched stem topped with a rosette of fleshy, dull blue-green leaves, often with a…

Aloe Species, Bitter Aloe, Cape Aloe, Red Aloe

Family: Asphodelaceae (as-foh-del-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: ferox (FER-oks) (Info)
Synonym:Aloe galpinii
Synonym:Aloe horrida
Synonym:Aloe muricata
Synonym:Aloe pseudoferox
Synonym:Aloe subferox


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Martinez, California(2 reports)

Vista, California(9 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Mar 28, 2016, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I bought two years ago unidentified small Aloe's in a 3" pot. Kept very dry at the nursery they had some nice coloration. Now,I see they are A.ferox with bluish foliage. One in this rainy winter is showing rot..I see on the net also that they are prone to that,while the other is fine. I haven't had problems with a nearby A.marlotthii -ever-so with Aloe ferox you might want to place more judiciously.

On Feb 7, 2015, Kell from (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Jan Emming owner of the Destination:Forever Ranch and Gardens, a 40 acre desert botanical garden and sustainable living homestead in the Arizona desert with a nursery:

Aloe ferox is a widespread and common aloe in South Africa, and can be found in a variety of habitats including this Succulent Karoo scrub in the Huisrivier Canyon west of Calitzdorp. They had finished blooming a few weeks before and are setting seed pods. It would have been wonderful to see this scene with blazing orange or red flowers, but it was mid-spring and just a bit too late at the time we were there.

On Jan 3, 2013, Joy2Foragers from Holden Heights, FL wrote:

I had one in the ground once, but it rotted away in my region's humid summer. I purchased another plant online, kept it in a pot, and it's doing fine. I move it in when we are getting a lot of rain. Requires extra care if you live near or in Zone 10, such as very well drained soil, but otherwise idiot-proof!

On Dec 29, 2009, ogrejelly from Gilbert, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I purchased and planted an Aloe Ferox last year and already see that it is growing fast. I posted this just now because I live in the Phoenix area and we just had a pretty cold night bottoming out at 29 degrees. I was away for Christmas and I returned with the dark thought I may have lost some of my plants. Uncovered and exposed, the Ferox did just fine. Just thought others might like to know, if they are considering one, that they can hold up to a pretty good freeze.

On Jan 26, 2009, baiissatva from Dunedin,
New Zealand wrote:

This aloe and it's confusingly numerous hybrids (I think I have about three different forms though theyre still quite young and it's hard to tell) are great for the novice aloe enthusiast because they look impressive from an early age and Ive found them to be very forgiving. You can forget about them for a half a year and they'll sit in the corner gasping for water but not dying on you and will revive and replump with a gratifying generosity of spirit.
We get only light frosts usually, with the odd hard one every couple of years and these guys have never sustained damage in my maritime 9-ish zone I grow both in pots and in the ground and both situations have proven hardy. That said, I wouldn't like to freeze the poor thing solid so if you. read more get snow that stays on the ground and goes icy, keep yours in a pot for winter sheltering.
Despite it's undemanding nature I dont find A Ferox to be particularly fast growing down here for some peculiar reason my numerous other aloes all seem to be romping away but these guys are slow and steady. Perhaps it's because their leaves are quite massive from an early age and bulk is attained before height, if that makes sense. Mine are still a trio of spiny no-neck monsters, dammit.
Like most aloes the ferox is a shallow rooted beast and that combined with immense top-heaviness can cause it to topple in a windy spot so placement needs to be considered. I weight the bases of my larger aloes with big rocks, especially after transplanting, and it seems to help. You dont want one of these falling on you, your dog or your other plants.
If youre a bit of a cactus-killer but love a dramatic plant, this is the aloe for you because of its stoopid-proofness. Just remember it gets pretty hefty. For some reason A Ferox reminds me of the giant gingerbreadman Mungo in Shrek Two. I just thought Id put that out there :-)

On Jan 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the more commonly sold tree aloes and makes an impressive landscape specimen. Like Aloe marlothii, this is a monster of an aloe- gets huge, fat-leaved, top-heavy heads with profuse, huge red orange flower stalks. It is a beautiful plant. The leaves are a bluish-green and tend to be a bit spikey (not as bad as Aloe marlothii which looks very similar otherwise). These two aloe seems to hybridize easily and there are a lot of mixes on the market. A seedling has intensely spiny leaves, but most of these spines eventually disappear as the plant matures. It is a fast grower and a seedling will produce fertile seed in only 4-5 years here in So Cal.

This is a highly variable species with a variety of flower and plant shapes. It also hybridizes freely and easiy. read more with whatever is blooming around it. Tall, mature plants can be a bit difficult to tell from Aloe excelsa, though the latter's flowers are supposed to be a bit less straight up and down than A ferox flowers.

The largest form of this aloe, from KwaZulu land, has been listed separately for a long time and called Aloe candelabrum. however, it has been recently included in this species. This plant has enormous red- orange flowers and is often a solitary grower (but not always).
THis is one of the most popular medicinal aloes, and in S Africa they cut off a lot of the leaves (max supposedly 8, so plant can recover) for a product called Cape Aloes, used as a purgative or 'stomach purifier'.

Someone told me the 'candellabra' form of Aloe ferox has white lips at the ends of the individual flowers

Cape Aloe, Bergaalwyn, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe, Alligator Jaw Aloe, Aloe candelabrum

Native to South Africa, Aloe ferox (Cape Aloe) is a large and showy, evergreen succulent forming a dense rosette of blue-green, lance-shaped leaves, often flushed with rose, up to 3 ft. long (90 cm). Each leaf is adorned with dark brown spines along the edges and on the leaf surfaces, especially on the lower surface. The old leaves remain after they have dried, forming a 'petticoat' on the stem. Single-stemmed, Cape Aloe produces bright red-orange, tubular flowers with dark orange stamens protruding from the mouth. Long-lasting, they are held above the foliage in a very showy, large candelabra-like inflorescence with 5 to 8 branches. Adaptable to many conditions, this Aloe makes a beautiful display in sunny borders or decorative containers and is great for attracting nectar-feeding birds.

Nearly as renown as Aloe vera, Aloe ferox is valued for its colorless leaf gel and bitter brown exudate. The gel is a popular ingredient in cosmetics, herbal remedies and food supplements taken orally and applied to the skin.

  • Grows up to 6-9 ft. tall (180-270 cm) and 3-5 ft. wide (90-160 cm).
  • Easily grown in well-drained soils in full sun. Irrigate little to regularly. This Aloe can tolerate long periods of drought but looks better with a little water.
  • Great for beds and borders, rock gardens, succulent gardens or Mediterranean gardens. Ideal as an accent plant in sunny borders or in decorative containers.
  • Deer resistant. The flowers produce nectar and are attractive to birds and bees
  • Virtually disease free. Watch for scale insects and mealybugs.
  • Do not trim off the dried leaves as they protect the trunk from excessive sun, heat or cold.
  • Native to South Africa and Lesotho.

Properties of Aloe ferox

I would not like to finish this article without first talking about the properties of this beautiful plant, which, in addition to being cultivated as ornamental, can also be used to improve digestion or purify the gallbladder . In addition, it also serves as a laxative and laxative.

The way of use is the following:

  • Juice: dilute the acibar (the viscous liquid that is inside the leaf) in water. So that it is not so bitter, it can be sweetened with sugar or honey. Taken at night, it will help improve the intestinal tract.
  • Acibar powder: should be consumed before meals, in very small amounts. This will improve digestion and cleanse the gallbladder.

What did you think of this Aloe? .

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

How to Propagate Cape Aloe

The aloe plant often develops pups or suckers. Once these off-shoot plants develop some size they can be removed to produce more plants.

The propagation of an aloe ferox plant is also carried out through seeds.

  • Sow them in well-drained soil in indirect sunlight.
  • Once the seeds start to germinate, water it.
  • Once they are an inch tall, transplant them into a small pot or bag.

This entire process may take up to 6 months or more.

Watch the video: Aloe Vera Demystified