Today’s blog is about all the different types of fiery and exciting Aloes and Succulents

Today’s blog is a topic which is close to our heart at Contours Landscapes. Reason being is Aloes and succulents are definitely in the top 5 of all plants which we love and always add to our landscapes where ever we physically possible can. Water wise, and plants which just tend to look after themselves, they are also stunning adding colour, shape, physical texture etc to the garden. Below is a list of a couple of Aloes and succulents which are truly beautiful, accessible but at the same time a little more unusual so you may not already have them in the garden. If not, why not! Find them and get a cracking at planting. They will not disappoint.

Aloe chabaudii

Commonly known as Dwala Aloe, this is a clustering perennial succulent that forms large colonies of turquoise green neat rosettes. Flowers appear in mass in winter and are extremely showy orange-red flowers held in branched racemes. Flowers are full of nectar attracting birds and insects. This Aloe does not need to be grown in full sun but also shouldn’t be planted in full shade. It makes a great pot plant, and looks fantastic planted in mass and groups. Also looks good planted in between groundcovers and grasses for a pop of colour and texture.

Aloe cooperii

The Cooper’s Aloe or grassland Aloe is a little unusual in its look to other Aloes in the way that it has long, narrow, yellowish green leaves arranged in a fan shape which droop. This Aloe is at home planted in between grasses. It has spikes of apricot/yellow tubular flowers from December through to March. Flowers are full of nectar and attract birds like sunbirds. This Aloe will grow in many different soil types in either sun or half sun and again unusual to other Aloes can grow in marshy, damp places. If in a cold area, may become deciduous.

Aloe marlothii

The Mountain Aloe is a striking, large single stemmed Aloe which creates a fantastic form plant and does well in rockeries. It will grow between 2-4m high and has large, broad, spiky blue-green leaves. Old dried leaves remain on the plant below fresh leaves. Flowers are held on a branched candelabra-shaped inflorescence. Colours vary from the orange-red (most common), to sometimes yellow as well as a bright red and flowering occurs from May to September. This Aloe needs a very well-drained soil and no watering in winter.

Aloe mitriformis

This Aloe, commonly known as the Mitre Aloe has an unusual growth pattern. The plants have long creeping stems that have secondary side shoots. It does not have upright stems but rather a sprawling habit. The leaf bearing portions are erect and branched stalks eventually form with dense arrangements of dull to bright-red flowers. If grown in full sun leaves will be a bluish-grey colour but in the shade leaves are dark green. This Aloe is commonly found in the Western Cape and is a winter rainfall species.

Aloe suprafoliata

The Book Aloe is what would be described as the ‘strange fellow’ of the Aloe world. When young, the narrow leaves grow sideways one on top of the other like an open book, but when older develop a rosette form. This Aloe has beautiful, large flowers on thick stalks that emerge in winter and are a deep pink to scarlet red colour. This is a clump forming Aloe growing to about a 1m high. This Aloe does not like harsh sun so rather plant it in morning sun.

Aloe vanbalenii

Aptly named the ‘Crawling Octopus’ this is one of the most distinctive aloes with long, twisted and recurved leaves which resemble an octopus and when grown in full sun leaves have a copper red colour and when grown in shade have a bright green colour. This Aloe is almost stem less but has robust creeping stems, which develop into a dense group of rosettes. The flower stalks can reach a 1m height and are produced in winter. The flowers are usually a red colour but are also sometimes yellow or orange. This plant is very drought tolerant and can be grown in sun or semi-shade.

Crassula capitella ‘Campsfire’

Commonly named ‘Red flames’, this succulent groundcover will have red tinged foliage in sunny spots and lime green foliage if grown in semi-shade. This plant will grow between 150mm to 350mm tall and can grow to a width of 800mm sometimes. In summer tall stems are produced with white, star-like flowers. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. These plants are extremely drought tolerant because they open their stomata at night time therefore limiting evaporation. This plant needs watering once every two weeks. The plant goes a little downhill after flowering, so cutting back the plant at this time is recommended.

Echevaria nodulosa

This succulent groundcover is commonly called the Painted Echevaria and this name is highly appropriate. Truly a stunner and one of my favourites, this evergreen succulent has olive green leaves with vivid red marking on margins and mid leafs. The flowers are pale yellow with pinkish markings and appear in summer on tall flowering spikes (60cm high). This plant will do best in half day sun if you live in an area with hot summers (Western Cape). This plant can also be grown as an indoor pot plant in bright light.

Echevaria pulvinata red

This succulent is commonly called the Red velvet Echeveria because of its rosy pink to red tinted leaves and eye catching fiery red to orange blooms. This succulent has cushion-like hairy leaves. It has a shrublet like form and grows to a height of about 30cm. The red of the leaves often intensifies in cold weather. This plant flowers profusely and attractively. It can be grown indoors as well in bright light. Make sure if planted outdoors that it does not get afternoon sun but rather the less harsh morning sun. Soil must dry out in between watering.

Kalanchoe ‘Tessa’

This is a perennial succulent with fleshy oval, red-edged, green leaves. This is an extremely floral (literally full of flowers when in bloom) plant with orange-red tubular flowers and a prostrate form. It likes to be planted in full sun (best) or semi-shade in a well-drained soil and although a succulent does require some watering. This a fantastic plant for hanging baskets and retaining walls where it can cascade down.

Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Panda’

This succulent has the common name of ‘Panda plant’ or sometimes ‘Donkeys ears’ and is a velvety, fuzzy grey green succulent with unusual brown spots on the tips of the leaves. It is quite commonly used as an indoor plant in bright light but is also grown outdoors. It forms rosettes and grows 60cm high and 60cm wide. Outdoors it will grow in full sun or partial shade. Flowers are small, green, yellow-brown to purple, and appear in summer upon long stalks.

In conclusion we hope that these plants have inspired you to add some aloes and succulents to your garden. This list is but just a few that are available on the market. Do some homework hear, a garden can be transformed into a beautiful water wise escape by adding a variety of aloes and succulents to them.

Blog written by Jessica Ruger

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