Aloe arborescens

Aloe arborescens – Krantz Aloe

Sprawling succulent with red flower spikes rising above rosettes of toothed leaves.


This Aloe can grow up to 3M tall, but more typically to 2M in Karin’s Garden.¬†Its leaves are armed with small spikes along its edges and are arranged in rosettes situated at the end of branches.¬†Usually one flower raceme sprouts from each rosette, in mid-winter.


A. aborescens comes from southern Africa, where it can grow from sea level up to mountain tops. The English name “Krantz” is an Africans word meaning rocky cliff, as in the wild it is commonly found on rocky outcrops and exposed ridges.

Aloe arborescens is also the key ingredient in a widely reported stage 4 cancer remedy. There are strict rules about the actual harvesting of the leaves that, to my ear, give this a strong “alternative medicine” sound. However, by the time your cancer has reached stage 4 this may be a reasonable thing to try. I hope I never have to make that call.

Soil / Aspect:

Though not fully hardy, A. arborescens thrives in Karin’s Garden, provided it does not become water-logged in winter. In South Africa it used to be planted around kraals (domestic stock enclosures) as a living fence or security hedge. And, the position of old kraals can still be seen many years after they have been abandoned because the aloes persist.


This is about as low maintenance as a plant gets. You can either wait until the flower stalk has withered over a few months and can be pulled away by hand; or, if you find the dry stalk unsightly it can be pruned after flowering.