Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bottlebrush Aloe
Aloe rupestris

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: rupestris (rue-PES-tris) (Info)

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 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

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Bright Yellow

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)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive thistlesifter On Nov 30, 2006, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

I got this as a specimen from a well-documented collection of rare and unusual aloes. I am currently treating the plant for aloe mites (aloe cancer) and it seems to be responding.

The plant is robust and vigorous. It uptakes as much water as I get to it. It is closest to the sprinkler head and so it gets the most of any Aloe in the gardens.

I was told by an authoritative Aloe expert that until a few years ago there was one clone of A. rupestris in the USA, and it was widely propagated by offsets. 2 other trees in our gardens seem to be this "clustering Aloe". They are not nearly as vigorous as the single-stemmed A. rupestris.

I recently got 2 small seedlings of the A. rupestris from IAS. I look forward to their maturity and observation of their growth form.


Positive palmbob On Jan 7, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is reportedly one of the fastest tree aloes, so if you want a spectacular flowering tree aloe and can only get seed, this is the one you want they say. However, I certainly have not had that experience. In fact, of the tree aloes, this is a slow grower. I am not sure if the Aloe rupestris grown in this country is the same A rupestris growing in S Africa. That A rupestris is nearly always a solitary stemmed aloe, yet plants here in the US are nealy always suckering. I suspect there is someone else in the US A rupestris gene pool. The US A rupestris spends too much time and energy making pups to be a fast grower. Ends up being a huge mess of plants, which, if you want a nice landscape specimen, will need some trimming up at some point. It's a S African species where it is reknown for its rate of growth. The flowers are very showy with yellows, oranges, and light reds. At least the flowers on the US plant look the same, so our plants are 'mostly' A rupestris.

This is one of the hardier large zone 9b Aloes... could even be a zone 9a? Temps in the mid 20s did no damage to these plants in southern California (even seedlings were undamaged).


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

Bonsall, California
Encinitas, California
Hayward, California
Mission Viejo, California
Reseda, California
Spring Valley, California
Vista, California

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