Aloe ferox, Cape Aloe or Bitter Aloe, is a stout arborescent Aloe from South Africa and Lesotho that grows 2-3m with a tall inflorescence of orange-red flowers. The fleshy leaves often have a glaucous tinge and have reddish-brown marginal spines and - particularly when young - also have spines on both leaf surfaces.
Aloe ferox is harvested in South Africa for Cape Bitters, the medicinal leaf exudate that is a powerful colon cleanser and purgative.
Although cold tolerant, Aloe ferox is not frost resistant and any temptation to try to over-winter it outdoors in the UK should be resisted. It can be brought indoors in October to a warm conservatory or bright sunny window ledge until late Spring or over-wintered in a cool glasshouse under fleece.
|Synonyms||Aloe candelabrum, Aloe ferox var. galpinii, Aloe ferox var. incurva, Aloe ferox var. subferox, Aloe galpinii, Aloe horrida, Aloe muricata, Aloe pallancae, Aloe perfoliata var. ferox, Aloe pseudoferox, Aloe subferox, Aloe supralaevis, Aloe supralaevis var. erythrocarpa, Busipho ferox, Pachidendron ferox, Pachidendron pseudoferox, Pachidendron supralaeve|
|Geographical Origin||South Africa, Lesotho|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Warm sheltered aspect. Water during summer, completely dry in winter. Dislikes winter wet. A well drained soil to which generous amounts of sand, grit and shingle have been mixed.|
|Eventual Height||2-3 m|
|Eventual Spread||1.5 m|
|Hardiness||Tolerant of a very mild frost but not hardy. May survive a mild winter in some very favoured UK locations but best brought indoors for the winter. Under fleece in a cool greenhouse|
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