Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 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)
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:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

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

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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Kell 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.

Positive Joy2Foragers 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!

Positive ogrejelly 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.

Positive baiissatva 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 get snow that stays on the ground and goes icy, keep yours in a pot for winter sheltering.
Despite it's undemanding nature I dont find A Ferox to be particularly fast growing down here for some peculiar reason; my numerous other aloes all seem to be romping away but these guys are slow and steady. Perhaps it's because their leaves are quite massive from an early age and bulk is attained before height, if that makes sense. Mine are still a trio of spiny no-neck monsters, dammit.
Like most aloes the ferox is a shallow rooted beast and that combined with immense top-heaviness can cause it to topple in a windy spot so placement needs to be considered. I weight the bases of my larger aloes with big rocks, especially after transplanting, and it seems to help. You dont want one of these falling on you, your dog or your other plants.
If youre a bit of a cactus-killer but love a dramatic plant, this is the aloe for you because of its stoopid-proofness. Just remember it gets pretty hefty. For some reason A Ferox reminds me of the giant gingerbreadman Mungo in Shrek Two. I just thought Id put that out there :-)

Positive palmbob 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 with whatever is blooming around it. Tall, mature plants can be a bit difficult to tell from Aloe excelsa, though the latter's flowers are supposed to be a bit less straight up and down than A ferox flowers.

The largest form of this aloe, from KwaZulu land, has been listed separately for a long time and called Aloe candelabrum... however, it has been recently included in this species. This plant has enormous red- orange flowers and is often a solitary grower (but not always).
THis is one of the most popular medicinal aloes, and in S Africa they cut off a lot of the leaves (max supposedly 8, so plant can recover) for a product called Cape Aloes, used as a purgative or 'stomach purifier'.

Someone told me the 'candellabra' form of Aloe ferox has white lips at the ends of the individual flowers


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

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