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Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe arborescens Mill.

Common Names

Candelabra Aloe, Candelabra Plant, Krantz Aloe, Mountain Bush Aloe, Octopus Plant, Sword Aloe, Torch Aloe, Torch Plant, Tree Aloe


Aloe arborescens subsp. arborescens, Aloe fructicosa, Aloe perfoliata var. arborescens, Catevala arborescens

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Aloe


This species is native to the southeastern summer rainfall areas of Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi).


Aloe arborescens is a large succulent shrub, up to 10 feet (3 m) tall, with branching stems holding attractive rosettes of pale green, yellowish, or sometimes blue-green leaves. Each rosette grows up to 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, narrow, and with conspicuous teeth along the edges. Flowers are cylindrical, vibrant red-orange, and appear in late fall and early winter. The inflorescence is usually unbranched and rises to 2 feet (60 cm) above the foliage.

The specific epithet "arborescens" means "becoming a tree or tree-like." It derives from the Latin "arbor," meaning "tree" and refers to the tree-like growth of older specimens.

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe)

Photo by Pluteus

How to Grow and Care for Aloe arborescens

Light: When growing Aloes indoors, place your plants near a southern or southwest-facing window that gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Soil: Plant Aloes in a well-drained soil specially formulated for cacti and other succulents or make your soil mix. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.

Hardiness: Aloe arborescens can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.

Watering: These succulents do need regular watering but are very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry. Cut back on watering during the winter months.

Fertilizing: Aloes generally do not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients.

Repotting: These plants are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot them in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.

Propagation: Propagating Aloe can be done by using the offsets, cuttings, or seeds from a mature plant.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Toxicity of Aloe arborescens

Although Aloe arborescens is known for its beneficial effects on human health, it can be mildly toxic to cats and dogs when ingested.

Forms, Cultivars, and Hybrids of Aloe arborescens


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