Aloes are the most noticeable plants in the winter landscape in many parts of the country. Most of our local indigenous aloes and many new hybrids bloom during May, June and July, bringing life and colour to gardens and natural areas during this bleak time of the year. Birds rely on the nectar rich flowers for energy and sustenance when other food resources are less readily available. Aloes are gaining in popularity as no fuss garden plants that reward with a spectacular winter display.

Hybrid aloes are being produced for improved garden performance that includes brighter, showier blooms; extended flowering periods and superior growth habits. Many of these hybrids are smaller plants forming low growing clumps of leaves from which the flowers emerge. These are particularly suitable for smaller gardens and for planting in pots. A wide range of hybrid aloes will be available this winter season here at Blackwood’s Home of Gardening.

Species aloes are the types found growing in the wild or veld. Many of them adapt to garden conditions. This often depends on their natural origin or distribution. Local gardeners should seek aloe species from summer rainfall regions rather than winter as they perform better in the wetter climate around the KZN Midlands. Check out the size and growth habit of each aloe before planting make sure that some of the larger types have sufficient space to grow in.