Aloe plicatilis – FanAloe
Bright orange tubular flowers on impressive flower spikes, usually in early spring.
This is a succulent Aloe that can grow in to a small tree, as much as 5M tall. It has an unusual “dichomatous” branching structure, where the branches fork into pairs without a central leader. in 2013 the systematic botanists proposed to have this plant renamed Kumara disticha. Plicatilis may be understood to mean “pleated”, and though the fan-like arrangement of the leaves may give this casual impression, there is absolutely nothing “pleated” about this plant.
A. plicatilis comes from a very small area in the Western Cape of South Africa, near Franschhoek, where it grows in well-drained, sandy, slightly acidic soil on steep, rocky, south-facing slopes. Its endemic range is entirely within the “fynbos” where it is the only tree Aloe. It has a very clumped distribution pattern, with seventeen different populations that are separated from each other by many kilometres.
Soil / Aspect:
A. plicatilis receives plenty of winter rainfall in its native environment, and the autumn rainfall in Karin’s Garden can induce this plant to flower in the late autumn rather than early spring. It prefers acid soil and is very tolerant of the dry summer periods. Whilst it should be planted to get plenty of sun, it should not be exposed to the hottest midday sun.
Somewhat surprisingly this plant may appreciate some water during any very hot and dry spells in summer. To propagate, take a clean cut of a stem and, unusually, allow it to dry out for a week or two before planting in well drained, acidic soil in a reasonably sunny position away from any competition from other plants.