Aloiampelos gracilis (Haw.) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.
Rocket Aloe, Scrambling Aloe
Aloe gracilis, Aloe gracilis var. gracilis, Aloe laxiflora
Aloiampelos gracilis, formerly known as Aloe gracilis, is a succulent shrub with slender, semi-erect stems bearing fleshy, narrow, dull green leaves with tiny, soft, white teeth along the margins. The stems grow from the base, often climbing on other vegetation or fences and reaching 6.67 feet (2 m) in length.
This species can be distinguished from the other species in the genus by its thin, long, red flowers that appear on branched racemes, usually in winter. The flowers are cylindrical, sometimes banana-shaped, and up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long.
Aloiampelos gracilis is native to South Africa. It occurs in the Eastern Cape province in a small area around Port Elizabeth and extends westwards into the Baviaanskloof mountains.
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 also increasingly grown in gardens overseas.
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, growing through the surrounding foliage. However, the lower, rambling species 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 male and female flowers on each plant, but an individual plant is usually not self-fertile. However, some species are also inter-fertile and can thus form hybrids.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Climbing Aloes.
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