Aloe vanbalenii and Crassula multicava


The use of indigenous plants remains at the forefront of current garden trends.  Some combine better than others in the suburban landscape.  Here is one combination that works extremely well, with both plants flowering at the same time in winter.

Aloe vanbalenii forms clumps of snake-like leaves held in rosettes.  Foliage recurves such that the leaf tips touch the ground.  The leaf margins have sharp teeth-like spines.  In full sun, the leaves are a distinct browny red colour, while in shade, they remain green.  Flower spikes one or more metres tall emerge from the centre of the rosettes.  Each stem produces two or three cone-shaped flower heads (racemes).  Colours are variable, usually shades of yellow, orange and apricot.

Crassula multicava is a low-growing succulent groundcover with round, green, fleshy leaves.  In winter, masses of small, pale pink, star-shaped flowers are borne in clusters.  They grow well in sun or shade, making it a most versatile plant.  Use to great effect surrounding clumps of aloe vanbalenii.

These plants contrast perfectly with the strong, statuesque shape of the aloes, offset by the soft colours and texture of the crassula.  Use feature rocks and gravel around and amongst the plants for added effect.