Flat-flowered AloeAloe marlothii
|Category||Desert Accent Plant|
|Size||10' x 10'|
|Flower Color||Orange, yellow, or red|
|Flower Season||Early spring|
The large, impressive, single-stem aloe grows to ten feet or more. The plant has a broad base and tapers as it grows upward. Older foliage forms a dry skirt around the plant. Its new foliage is broad, heavy, and grayish-green with reddish-brown teeth that form along the margins and randomly occur along its orange leaf tips. This plant has thorns along the stems that help protect it from browsing animals that might eat the foliage. It produces striking flowers in colors of orange, yellow, or red form on branched candelabra-like stalks in early spring. They are somewhat slanted or flat, giving this plant its common name. The flowers are very rich in nectar and attract hummingbirds. After the flowers bloom, dry, papery-thin seeds appear and are dispersed by winds. Use it as a specimen in low-water-use gardens or plant it next to large boulders and tall walls as a silhouette or accent plant. It is native to mountainous areas, rocky terrains, and warm slopes of the Northwest Province, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique and in KwaZulu-Natal, north of Durban in South Africa.
The plant grows best in full sun and well-draining soil. It is able to withstand long periods of drought because of its ability to store moisture in its leaves and stems. Well-established plants can survive without water for a few months before showing signs of drought stress. It is hardy to twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit, but will need protection during prolonged periods of frost. The flat-flowered aloe requires minimum maintenance to look good.