Aloe Species, Giant Tree Aloe

Aloe barberae

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: barberae (BAR-ber-ay) (Info)
Synonym:Aloe bainesii
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


over 40 ft. (12 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:


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 herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

By air layering

By tip layering

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Peoria, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Fallbrook, California

Garden Grove, California

Glen Avon, California

Hayward, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Norwalk, California

Reseda, California

San Francisco, California

San Leandro, California

San Marino, California

Santa Barbara, California

Spring Valley, California

Tarzana, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 21, 2016, summerscapes from Long Beach, CA wrote:

@sunseekerarizona and any others out there who are experiencing black/dark spots on their aloes, cactus, or succulents... This indicates over watering. The cells are literally exploding in the leaf and appear to our eyes as dark spots.

There is a slight possibility that it is a fungus/pest, but it is more likely you have given your plant too much tlc. Cut back on watering!!!

Remember, these plants thrive on neglect.


On Nov 10, 2014, SunSeekerAZ from Scottsdale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:


My Aloe Barberae seems to have black spots on it, more at the base where it meets the trunk. How can I treat it? I have not had very good luck hearing from anyone that is familiar with this plant in Arizona AND it is indoors. One person suggested a mixture of Dawn soap & water then hose off. I cannot hose it off as it is in my living room.

I live north of Phoenix, in the foothills (Tonto Forest Area). We tend to run about 5-8 degrees cooler than Phoenix along with more wind.

I purchased an African Neanderthal Aloe Tree aka Aloe Barberae aka Giant Aloe Tree... from a local nursery. That being said, they didn't even tell me the type of "tree" it was. They called it an "Aloe Tree" that would be "Great for my South facing Living Room with f... read more


On Apr 1, 2011, Gmanm from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

I live in Garden Grove CA. (near Disneyland) and we have a fairly large Aloe barberae which is around 20 years old, and it stands at around 30 feet tall. It doesn't get very cold here, but we do get occasional frost which has not affected the tree adversely.

While we usually do see flower stalks appear around November, last year (2010) they were more abundant than ever, growing from nearly every rosette. Yet, I can only remember seeing 1 seed pod grow from the tree a couple years ago, and despite the massive amount of flower stalks this past year, and tons of busy bees and hummingbirds, no seed pods grew from them at all.
However, we have a 3 foot tall cutting which is growing in a pot, and with only 1 flower stalk, there were 2 seedpods which formed.
Questio... read more


On Sep 2, 2010, boomboer from Cape Town,
South Africa wrote:

Aloe barberae is from the subtropical East coast of South Africa - an area that does not get frost. The plants also grow from within dense bush and only break the 'surface' of the surrounding foliage once they are a few years old. A. barberae is however, extensively planted throughout South Africa in gardens and does survive frosts in the drier inland areas - I suspect two aspects are important. The aloes are only planted in the open once they are larger or are protected while younger and the areas that do get frost in winter are summer rainfall areas with almost no rainfall in winter. These aloes would therefore not be turgid with water in the midst of a cold spell.


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

I suggest heeding palmbob's caution about the ability of this aloe to tolerate a decent freeze- we are roughly zone 9 with very occasional minimums of -5C, with an average of about 5-10 light powder frosts a year, in a coastal Otago, NZ setting. At about 1M tall my barberae was seriously leaf-bitten by the worst frost we'd had in 12 years, but please note, the amputation of the damaged leaves followed by a year of regular watering has resulted in another metre or so of growth and replacement of most leaves. So dont lose hope if yours sustains damage! With a bit of TLC it will come back for you. While smallish, throw a frost cloth over it on those super-cripsy feeling nights and it will be fine. I find this aloe responds very well to regular summer watering, putting on a lot more growt... read more


On Aug 24, 2007, ehofacket from Lake Elsinore, CA wrote:

I attempted to grow one of these in Lake Elsinore California, but lost it to a freeze a few months after planting. The freeze was one of the most severe we have had in my area in decades. I may try again, but I should not count on this Aloe surviving in the long run where I am at. Mature trees of this plant can be found just south of me in the warmer local climate around Fallbrook and Vista.


On Jan 17, 2007, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I seriously doubt the correctness of the zone listed above for this plant. We just experienced a freeze here in Southern California where it got down to around 27F (the lower end of zone 10a, higher of 9b) and all plants were pretty badlyl damaged- lots of melted leaves and broken limbs. This plant is NO WAY a zone 9a plant, and zone 9b is pushing it. As far as aloes go, this is one of the least cold tolerant of them all.

Also, this is one of the more commonly infected species with aloe mite... though sometimes it's hard to see the canker on these huge specimens... Unfortunately if the cankers are not treated/removed, this can act as a nidus and spread aloe mite through your collection... bummer


On Feb 9, 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.


On Feb 9, 2006, gagou from Rosedale,
Canada wrote:


It has taken me a long time to figure out what I have as an aloe plant. I used to work in a greenhouse and when I left I took home a very interesting looking aloe plant. I planted this aloe when it was only inches tall and for the last 4 years I have had it indoors infront of a window. The aloe now is about 6.5 feet tall and 6.5 feet wide. This aloe is a very strong plant, it has been through many moves and many repottings to keep up with its growth. My plant does not have a bark looking trunk with the aloe growing at the top. It is all aloe, it has a very thick trunk with many large arms. I find if I ignore it, the better it does. I live in Vancouver, Canada so the climate is not at all hot but this aloe is amazing. A real show stopper when people come over.... read more


On Dec 16, 2005, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

a tree that perfectly characterizes what desert plants are all about.

This is being written in the last days of fall and 3 of these trees in our garden have been in full bloom for 2 weeks. These tree aloes are still on the south african calendar.


On Sep 22, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

A small cutting i stuck in the ground has in five years become a four foot triple trunk "tree". Big boxed ones were planted at the Oakland Zoo. They were planted about the same time as mine so it's anybody's guess as to the eventual size in the Bay Area.
EDIT: Further experience has shown it to live through the freeze of 07 with plenty of stress but no damage at 30f. Also,growth strongly depends on summer water. I would not keep a young one again too dry but instead give much summer water for fast growth.Otherwise, it can crawl. VERY sensitive to fertilizer.Either don't, or plant away from those plants that do need it. I dont know why this plant has a reputation as has more rules than the vast majority of Aloes.


On May 29, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

This tree aloe is the one of the largest tree aloes there are. Western Garden refers to this as a slow growing tree, but compared to the growth of all other Aloes, this one is fast. A 1' tall plant can grow to 15' feet in 4-5 years in warmer climates. The base of this tree can become quite massive, especially in full sun. 50 year old plants can have bulbous trunk bases 20' in diameter.

Though not a great plant for colder areas, this plant can take some degree of frost with minor leaf burn. In Southern California it does well in areas that routinely get down to 26F, as long as the summers are warm (80s -90s). The leaves are a deep green and the trunks start to divide about 5-10' tall, usually dividing again and again, making a large mass of twisted, exotic looking and ... read more