Say Aloe-Aloe to this easy-care succulent range
Most of us are familiar with aloe vera, that humble plant with such potent healing and medicinal qualities. But the aloe genus also contains about 400 other species of flowering succulent plants, native to Africa, Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, and the islands of Africa.
Succulent plants have the ability to store water in their leaves, stems and roots. They can cope with extended dry periods by drawing on the water resources that they have stashed away in the good times.
But just because they are good at storing water, it doesn't mean that they can't tolerate water when it comes. Aloes are becoming increasingly popular in the landscape because they don't need constant irrigation.
The Aloe-Aloe range was introduced to the Australian market in 2008. These hybrid forms have been bred for a wider range of flower and foliage colour and texture, faster growth, longer flowering periods, dramatically more profuse flowering, pest and disease resistance, younger flowering, and easy care. All plants in the Aloe-Aloe collection are clones of unique selected superior plants, so the growers can guarantee quality plants.
They have performed spectacularly well, coping with a wide range of garden conditions, including drought, rain, heat and cold. Importantly for those of us gardening in the tropics and sub-tropics, they have proven to be able to withstand high rainfall for long periods. They will be perfectly happy in just about any soil type, as long as the drainage is good. If you have heavy clay soil, then plant them in a raised bed or on a slope.
The Aloe-Aloe range is extensive. The smallest are quite dainty, growing only about 25cm tall. The tallest are a statuesque two metres, and, with nearly 40 varieties in the range, there are many in between too. The flower colours range from white, yellow, orange to red and pink and there are also bicoloured flowers.
With careful selection, you can have plants in bloom all year round. But one of the great things about aloes is that their striking form is very attractive even when they are not in flower.
Aloes can be used in most garden and landscape styles; they can look lush and certainly shouldn't be reserved for creating an arid, desert look. They fit well in both formal and informal settings. Use them as a show-stopping feature plant, as well as borders, bedding plants and ground covers.
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