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PlantFiles: Torch Aloe, Tree Aloe, Mountain Bush Aloe, Krantz Aloe, Candelabra Aloe
Aloe arborescens

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: arborescens (ar-bo-RES-senz) (Info)

Synonym:Aloe perfoliata var. arborescens
Synonym:Aloe candelabra
Synonym:Aloe milleri
Synonym:Aloe natalensis
Synonym:Aloe viridifolia

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

35 members have or want this plant for trade.

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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Mid Winter


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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7 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Baja_Costero On Apr 25, 2014, Baja_Costero from Baja California
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

Deceptively large, tough, multistemmed aloe with outstanding torch-like flowers in late fall to early winter. Very easy to propagate: stick a cutting in the ground, water every 2 weeks, and voila, flowers next season. Will turn funky colors when stressed, often a striking purple while rooting. Requires lots of space or lots of pruning to do well, though it does tolerate confined spaces. Very common locally and often a host for the aloe mite during flowering season (cut affected inflorescences immediately).

Positive Campocalle On Feb 17, 2014, Campocalle from Redding, CA wrote:

I have grown a cutting of this species since I was about 11 years old, and it has traveled with me across California over the past 30 years. Today I am developing a native and succulent landscaping palette for a slope that lies in the path of fire, should it even move through our blue oak woodland. The large spreading habit of this plant, along with its water storing nature, should make it ideal for fire-wise landscape. I do not want to repeat the barren, scorched earth and annual grass model so common locally.

This large aloe seems perfect for my intended use, and it appears to do well in the heat and rocky/heavy soil here. I left a few spindly rooted cuttings out over the freeze and snow of December 2013. There was significant damage at 24 F but all made it. I think that this spreading plant is more able to come back strong from underground as opposed to single stemmed aloes.

Positive BUFFY690 On Oct 6, 2013, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A friend sent me quite a small pup off of a random patch of aloe she found on her daily walks in Cali. I was terribly excited when I received this in our trade. After researching this and getting info from her about how they grow, I settled that this was a torch aloe plant. I planted in a small sized container to get it's root system going good and strong. It has now about outgrown this cute pot. It has just this year showed marked growth and taken a good deal of abuse and extra water. It may be one of my entries into the state fair as a small aloe plant as I have a few different ones to choose from. But this one seems the meatiest to me of all I have :) I can't wait to get it back home and into a larger pot for the winter living in my greenhouse window. I'd surely love to see it bloom, I love happy aloes :)

Neutral nomosno On Jan 1, 2010, nomosno from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a beautiful plant but not suitable for a small home garden in my opinion. Maybe in a pot or in a large backyard where you have lots of space. It is a prolific grower, especially sideways, and overruns its environment very quickly. I have struggled with a patch of these beauties for years but eventually I had to give up and get rid of them. Which was not easy because these plants weigh a ton given that they have thick and large succulent leaves which are are full of water.

BTW "arborescens" does not mean "tree", it means "branching" i.e. "acting like a tree" (like in "idirescent" - behaving like a rainbow, or iris in Latin, also luminescent etc) so the term "tree aloe" is a wrong translation, not to mention that is simply a wrong description of this plant that looks not at all like a tree.

Positive lhstiles On Jul 21, 2009, lhstiles from Greenbrae, CA wrote:

Fast grower in Ross Valley area in Marin County. Appreciates a bit of light shade in the hottest areas, and some supplemental irrigation (once a week). Grows plantlets at the base of the stem when planted with roots. They are easy to propagate by cutting off plants from the main stem. Cuttings take a few months to root, and these like to have a bit of supplemental water if put in the ground in full sun. Some of my cuttings turned a bright orange when i just stuck them in the ground and didn't irrigate, but gradually seem to be turning greener after some irrigation was provided.
When grown in full sun without irrigation, they tend to take on a yellow color, but are a darker, greener color when irrigated. Beautiful orange/red flowers in the winter and early spring, hummingbirds love them.

Positive thistlesifter On Jan 11, 2009, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Our gardens grow four different clones of variegated arborescens. These all grow in full bright sun for at least all the hours between 9AM and 3PM year-round. I've never seen these stressed even in hot Santana 98degree F heat, which we see at least 5 days each year.

There are many landscape arborescens in the neighborhoods all around San Diego county and these grow 25 miles inland without difficulty. The only issue besides need to prune, is the proliferation of Aloe mite especially in the last 20 years.

Many non-succulent -lovers have the plant in their landscape and don't notice the Aloe Mite cancer that forms large galls on the plant and usually gets into the flower buds on some flower stems. These are difficult to control. At a miniumum the galls should be removed if you have many aloes.

We control Aloe Mite and patrol our gardens for aloe infected with aloe mite at least weekly.

Positive baiissatva On Sep 7, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Down here in the southern hemisphere (coastal Otago, NZ), we have the orange-flowered form that flowers toward the end of winter. It suffers in the worst frosts but will take most of them without damage, and grows so vigorously anyway that it doesnt really matter. Its easy to take this cheerful aloe for granted because its so common, but imagine life without it! Can be pruned to your requirements, kept low as a rambler or trained higher as good protection for more wimpy aloes. Our natives birds enjoy the flowers. Great for that crappy clay bank where nothing else wants to grow. Whip off a woody cutting, stick it in the ground and youve got another one.

Positive RWhiz On Feb 5, 2006, RWhiz from Spring Valley, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant grows well in full sun in Southern California. It is easily rooted in potting soil with warmth.

Neutral palmbob On Dec 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A prolific suckerer and brancher- you have to make lots of room for this plant, or like pruning Aloes.. can occasionally bloom in summer in California, but primarily a mid winter bloomer. Very common plant both in private gardens and public landscaping around Los Angeles. Often called the Octopus plant. From South Africa.

Though most plants have red flowers, there is a yellow-flowered form that isn't all that rare. It seems to flower just a bit earlier, and flowers don't last as long as red form. Yellow flowers only seen in winter.

Not a particularly cold hardy Aloe... I have over 400 species of aloe in my garden in inlands southern California and after a freak freeze when temps got down below 25F for several hours a LOT of plants got badly damaged. To my surprise most of the aloes were undamaged with the exception of about 15 species... this one as pretty badly damaged so I would rate it among the least cold hardy of all the aloe species (at least the common ones).

This is also a very commonly used plant for making lots of aloe hybrids, since its such an aggressive grower.

There are also variegated forms of this plant but they seem much more slow growing and a bit less tolerant of sunlight.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Peoria, Arizona
Amesti, California
Bonsall, California
Brea, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Fremont, California
Greenbrae, California
Los Angeles, California
Martinez, California
Redding, California
Reseda, California
Riverside, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Temecula, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vista, California (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Kihei, Hawaii
Lewiston, Maine
Socorro, New Mexico
West Linn, Oregon
Frisco, Texas
Vienna, Wisconsin

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