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Aloidendron tongaense (Tonga Tree Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Aloidendron tongaense (van Jaarsv.) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.

Common Names

Tonga Tree Aloe, Mozambique Tree Aloe, Medusa

Synonyms

Aloe tongaensis (basionym), Aloidendron tongaensis

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Aloidendron tongaense, formerly known as Aloe tongaensis, is a succulent tree, up to 26 feet (8 m) tall and about the same in width, with a rounded crown. Main trunk is stout and up to 2.6 feet (80 cm) in diameter at the base. Leaf-bearing branches are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Leaves are carried in rosettes at the branch ends. Inflorescence is branched, up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Flowers are yellowish-orange, tubular and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Photo via davesgarden.com

Hardiness

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.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Origin

Aloidendron tongaense is native to sandy tropical coastal forests at the border between Mozambique and South Africa.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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