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PlantFiles: Tilt-head Aloe
Aloe speciosa

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: speciosa (spee-see-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Aloe hexapetala

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6 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
This plant is fire-retardant

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:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

Like most of the hardier tree aloes, this plant is an absolute star in the garden, given just a little of the attention it deserves. With its fat leaves and gorgeous glaucous/pink red toning, not to mention the spectacular flowers, its one of my faves.
Relatively fast growing given regular watering, it takes wind, salt spray, quite a decent frost, so uncomplainingly! Water well to avoid the worst of the brown leaf tipping, which is its only drawback. Here in coastal Otago, NZ, it flourishes in a soggy winter which is apparently the opposite of its native conditions, so give it a go. No bad habits, always looks exotic, deserves to be much more widely planted. I find it is a little more frost hardy than A Barberae; I have had leaves frozen quite solid that have recovered without apparent damage.
Just an update- Im finding these guys intriguingly hardy, especially when kept in pots. This crappy winter of 09, despite its lack of startling frosts, has resulted in some surprising aloe failures (striata a large maculata hybrid) due to long periods of lower than usual ground temps. That said, the speciosas aren't turning a hair.

See some of our plants and gardenalia at The Blackthorn

Positive palmbob On Jul 14, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the more beautiful tree aloes commonly grown in the Southwest. It has brilliant , long, tubular non-branching
simple flowers and very soft, flat, succulent blue-green-silvery leaves. The flowers are very attractive to humingbirds. Older plants tend to branch and can become quite top-heavy. Seems to be more prone to insect infestations than most other tree aloes, at least in southern California

Temps into the mid 20s do not appear to be much of a problem for this species in southern California, but temps in that range will kill the flowers.

Called the tilt-head aloe for a good reason... often the heads tilt laterally, and sometimes even point down toward the ground a bit. Either a solitary or branching aloe. Many hybrids with this one have been created, and nearly all spectacular.

This aloe is prone to mealy bug (even without ants around). Check frequently deep in meristem area for white flaky material, particularly in plants not in full sun.

For some reason, I have never seen this aloe produce seed in southern California. I do not necessarily doubt that it happens, but it certainly would be a relatively rare event considering how prolifically this one flowers.

2011 KEw Gardens now considers Aloe speciosa to be a synonym for Aloe hexapetala... I am leaving it the other way around for now... but my change it before the end of the year.


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

Phoenix, Arizona
Fresno, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oakland, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vista, California (2 reports)

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