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Aloe ferox (Bitter Aloe, Cape 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: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Aloe


Aloe ferox can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) in height with leaves arranged in rosettes. The leaves are thick and fleshy, dull green, sometimes with a slightly blue look to them, and have reddish-brown spines on the margins with smaller spines on the upper and lower surfaces. The flowers are carried in a large candelabra-like flower-head and stand up to 4 feet (1.2 m) above the leaves. There are usually between five and eight branches, each carrying a spike-like head of many flowers. Flower colour varies from orange to bright red.

How to Grow and Care

Aloe is a very forgiving plant, and a well-grown Aloe can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it’s essential that Aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering. Prefers warmer temperatures of 70ºF/21ºC to 80ºF/27ºC, but will survive down to 40ºF/4.5ºC. Aloe are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot plants 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Aloe.


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


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