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Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe, Cape Aloe, Alligator Jaw Aloe

Aloe ferox

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: ferox (FER-oks) (Info)
Synonym:Aloe candelabrum
View this plant in a garden


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 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)

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:


Scarlet (Dark Red)



Gold (Yellow-Orange)

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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 seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Apache Junction, Arizona

Carefree, Arizona

Fountain Hills, Arizona

Hereford, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Bonsall, California

Canoga Park, California

Chowchilla, California

Fresno, California

Los Angeles, California

Martinez, California (2 reports)

Mission Viejo, California

Pleasant Hill, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Simi Valley, California

Spring Valley, California

Temecula, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Visalia, California

Vista, California

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Metairie, Louisiana

Houston, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 7, 2015, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Jan Emming owner of the Destination:Forever Ranch and Gardens, a 40 acre desert botanical garden and sustainable living homestead in the Arizona desert with a nursery:

Aloe ferox is a widespread and common aloe in South Africa, and can be found in a variety of habitats including this Succulent Karoo scrub in the Huisrivier Canyon west of Calitzdorp. They had finished blooming a few weeks before and are setting seed pods. It would have been wonderful to see this scene with blazing orange or red flowers, but it was mid-spring and just a bit too late at the time we were there.


On Jan 3, 2013, Joy2Foragers from Holden Heights, FL wrote:

I had one in the ground once, but it rotted away in my region's humid summer. I purchased another plant online, kept it in a pot, and it's doing fine. I move it in when we are getting a lot of rain. Requires extra care if you live near or in Zone 10, such as very well drained soil, but otherwise idiot-proof!


On Dec 29, 2009, ogrejelly from Gilbert, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I purchased and planted an Aloe Ferox last year and already see that it is growing fast. I posted this just now because I live in the Phoenix area and we just had a pretty cold night bottoming out at 29 degrees. I was away for Christmas and I returned with the dark thought I may have lost some of my plants. Uncovered and exposed, the Ferox did just fine. Just thought others might like to know, if they are considering one, that they can hold up to a pretty good freeze.


On Jan 26, 2009, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Zone 9b Coastal Otago NZ

This aloe and it's confusingly numerous hybrids (I think I have about three different forms though theyre still quite young and it's hard to tell) are great for the novice aloe enthusiast because they look impressive from an early age and Ive found them to be very forgiving. You can forget about them for a half a year and they'll sit in the corner gasping for water but not dying on you and will revive and replump with a gratifying generosity of spirit.
We get only light frosts usually, with the odd hard one every couple of years and these guys have never sustained damage in my maritime 9-ish zone; I grow both in pots and in the ground and both situations have proven hardy. That said, I wouldn't like to freeze the poor thing solid so if you... read more


On Jan 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the more commonly sold tree aloes and makes an impressive landscape specimen. Like Aloe marlothii, this is a monster of an aloe- gets huge, fat-leaved, top-heavy heads with profuse, huge red orange flower stalks. It is a beautiful plant. The leaves are a bluish-green and tend to be a bit spikey (not as bad as Aloe marlothii which looks very similar otherwise). These two aloe seems to hybridize easily and there are a lot of mixes on the market. A seedling has intensely spiny leaves, but most of these spines eventually disappear as the plant matures. It is a fast grower and a seedling will produce fertile seed in only 4-5 years here in So Cal.

This is a highly variable species with a variety of flower and plant shapes. It also hybridizes freely and easiy... read more