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 much-branched succulent shrub with slender stems that grow from the base, often reaching 6.67 feet (2 m) in length. When it is not climbing on other vegetation or fences, the mass of semi-erect stems forms a shrubby bush. Leaves are fleshy, narrow, dull green with tiny soft white teeth along the margins. This species can easily be distinguished from other species in the genus by its thin, up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long, bright red flowers, which appear on multi-branched racemes, usually in winter.
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. 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 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.
This species is endemic to the area around the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
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