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Aloiampelos gracilis (Rocket Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Aloiampelos gracilis (Haw.) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.

Common Names

Rocket Aloe, Scrambling Aloe

Synonyms

Aloe gracilis (basionym), Aloe gracilis var. gracilis, Aloe laxiflora

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Aloiampelos gracilis is a much-branched, succulent shrub. Its thin stems grow tall and erect from its base on the ground, often reaching 6.67 feet (2 m) in length, and branching near the base. When it is not climbing on other vegetation or fences, the mass of semi-erect stems forms a shrubby bush. Its narrow, succulent leaves are dull-green with tiny, soft, white teeth along the margins, and it normally flowers from May, through to August. It can easily be distinguished from other species in the genus by its up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm), thin, bright red flowers which appear on multi-branched racemes.

Photo via davesgarden.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Due to their hardiness and the wide range of flower colors, these slender succulents have become popular ornamental plants in South African gardens. The commoner species (such as the more widespread Aloes of the Eastern Cape) are increasingly grown in gardens overseas too.

Climbing Aloes require a sunny, well-drained position and are particularly suitable for rockeries. The taller, climbing species are commonly planted along fences and boundaries where they grow up through the surrounding foliage. The lower, rambling species however, are better suited for rockeries, slopes or terraces, which they will naturally cascade down over.

They can easily be propagated by taking cuttings as well as by seed. Climbing Aloes generally have both male and female flowers on each plant, but an individual plant is usually not self-fertile by itself. However, some of the species are also inter-fertile, and can thus form hybrids… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Climbing Aloes

Origin

Endemic to the area around the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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