Aloe aloe! All year colour from super new succulents

Dramatic foliage and flowers from drought-loving treasures

Many gardeners have an Aloe vera plant on their windowsills – dabbing the sap to soothe our kitchen burns. But now we have the Safari Series, three unexpectedly hardy, colourful flowering aloes to grow outside in summer and in the conservatory in winter.
Aloe Safari Sunrise ('X5')Each of the three varieties in the series develops a bold rosette of succulent foliage, with soft spines along each edge. Upright stems emerge from the crown, carrying pointed heads of slender tubular flowers.
  Aloe Safari Sunrise ('X5') was the first to appear and is the most widely available. This is the neatest of the three varieties, with slender foliage and upright coral buds opening to pendulous creamy flowers. Growing 30-40-cm (12-15in) in height, the crown multiplies quickly and eventually reaches (60-90cm (2-3ft) across.

A mature plant is an impressive sight, flowering strongly in summer and autumn and less prolifically through the rest of the year.
Aloe Safari Orange (‘Andora’) is significantly larger, making a spectacular plant 90cm-1.2m (3-4ft) wide with an inferno of 60-90cm (2-3ft) tall flower spikes, the deep orange buds opening to fiery orange flowers.
The third in the series is Aloe ‘Safari Rose’, with dusky, rosy-red buds opening to white-tipped rosy carmine flowers.
All three were developed by Andy De Wet and Quinton Bean at their South African nursery, The Aloe Farm, where they’ve been developing aloes since 1973.

Are they hardy?

Safari Sunrise is described as “hardy” by Thompson & Morgan, and needing a minimum winter temperature of 2°C (35°F), and is rated as “hardy to -6°C (21°F)” by another grower. So I checked in with aloe enthusiast Al Laius, editor of The British Cactus and Succulent Society journal, to get his opinion.
“These are nice looking plants,” he told me, “and look like they have been bred for their spreading growth habit and length of flowering time.
“It is misleading for them to call them hardy, as even the slightest frost (together with wet soil) would see them off. But they look ideal as a patio plant, kept in a pot outside in the summer and brought in somewhere frost-free over winter.”
Plants should also flower in a warm winter conservatory – and be very careful not to overwater.
Aloe Safari Sunrise ('X5') is available from Thompson & Morgan.
Aloe Safari Orange (‘Andora’) is available from The Palm Tree Company.

Aloe ‘Safari Rose’ is available from The Palm Tree Company.
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an official endorsement by the RHS.

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