Wits Grass Aloe
light; moderate; hardy
peach; orange; red; November - February; spring; summer
sun; rockery; container; wildlife bees insects
rocky places; grassland; bushveld
Highveld; bushveld savanna
Find informative indigenous gardening articles in our web magazine - www.theindigenousgardener.co.za
This is a well-known deciduous grassland Aloe commonly seen around Johannesburg and Pretoria after the first spring rains. Only 30 cm high, they grow in dense clumps with narrow leaves than fan out at ground level from short stems. Leaves die down completely in winter with new leaves appearing after the first spring rains. Flowering stems stand well above the leaves with up to 20 peach-red to scarlet flowers forming multiple heads from November to February. Flowers tend to droop when they open. Aloe verecunda is not a long-lasting plant and does need replacing every few years. In the wild, the Aloe escapes the winter frost by growing in sheltered pockets where the fleshy roots are protected. Plant in sun in a rockery, or close to rocks surrounded by wild grasses. This summer flowering Aloe prefers summer rains and a cold, dry winter. Propagate by seed sown in spring. This is quite a variable species with many different forms throughout the distribution range, including a greenish-yellow form.