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Aloe ferox (Bitter Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe ferox Mill.

Common Names

Bitter Aloe, Cape Aloe, Red Aloe, Tap Aloe, Bitteraalwyn (Afrikaans), Kaapse Aalwyn (Afrikaans), Kapaloe (Swedish)


Aloe galpinii, Aloe horrida, Aloe muricata, Aloe perfoliata var. ferox, Aloe pseudoferox, Aloe subferox, Aloe supralaevis, Pachidendron ferox, Pachidendron pseudoferox, Pachidendron supralaeve

Scientific Classification

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


Aloe ferox is a tall, single-stemmed Aloe, up to 10 feet (3 m) tall, with leaves arranged in rosettes. The leaves are thick and fleshy, dull green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them. They have reddish-brown spines on the margins and smaller spines on the upper and lower surfaces. The flowers are orange or red and stand up to 4 feet (1.2 m) above the leaves, in multi-branched inflorescences. There are usually between 5 and 8 branches, each carrying a spike-like head of many flowers.


USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Aloe is a very forgiving plant, and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it is essential that Aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering.

These succulents are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot Aloes in the spring that are tipping over their pots or have ceased growing. Use a fast-draining potting mix with one-third sand or pebbles. During repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to carefully divide the root ball. Some varieties of Aloe will send off offsets that can be potted independently.

Aloe plants need strong, bright light. They can withstand full summer sun, once acclimated. In the winter, provide bright light. It prefers warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C), but will survive down to 40 °F (4.5 °C). Feed with a succulent fertilizer in the summer only. Suspend feeding in the winter as the plant goes dormant… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Aloe


Native to South Africa (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal) and Lesotho.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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