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Aloe aristata (Lace Aloe - Hated by Clare)

Real Aloes all the way from South Africa which – as long as they don’t get too wet – will grow happily in chilly old England. They have typically fleshy leaves (you could probably use the sap to treat burns as with Aloe vera) and they send up orangey-red flower spikes that last for several weeks during the summer. They spread – very slowly – by producing little pups at their bases which grow into proper plants. The effect is like a bigger juicier mat of Sempervivums (the House Leek). As the story below will tell you, they can be grown in pots but if in the ground just give them plenty of light and ventilation and pretty sharp drainage – they don’t adapt well to soggy sites.

We propagate them by division but the original plant came from my neighbour Clare who’d had these plants in the same terracotta pot for years and years through the harsh winters of the 1980s and she told me they never suffered in any way. I didn’t believe her at the time but I do now. P.S. I then discovered recently that the reason she’d left them out in those awful harsh Siberian winters was in the hope that they’d die because she didn’t like them. Well done little Aloes. Well done.

Hardiness traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.