Aloe reitzii Reynolds var. reitzii

Family: Aloaceae
Common Name:
Reitz' Aloe

Aloe reitzii var. reitzii

Aloe reitzii var. reitzii is a robust and spectacular aloe species which comes from the grassland areas of Mpumalanga but is restricted to a very small area in the vicinity of Belfast. This aloe is endemic to this area and occurs nowhere else in the world.

Although it is a rather rare species of aloe, it is easily distinguished by the handsome erect red flower spikes that are produced in summer (unlike most aloes that produce their flowers in winter.) This summer flowering habit makes it a useful subject for cold gardens where the flowers of other aloes often get frosted off in the cold winter months.

The added advantage of growing aloes in the garden is the attraction of sunbirds to the flowers for nectar. These colourful little birds are a joy to watch as they flit from flower to flower collecting the nectar and pollinating the flowers.

Growing Aloe reitzii var. reitzii

Reitz' Aloe is not difficult to cultivate and makes a handsome addition to any garden. It tolerates both frost and fire in its natural habitat, and is easily propagated from seed although the seed is often in short supply. Fresh seed should be sown in spring on a well-drained seedling medium, lightly covered and treated with a fungicide. Seedlings will emerge after two to four weeks and can be transplanted at the age of six months into individual containers ensuring good drainage and full sun conditions. Seed grown plants may take five to seven years from sowing to flower.

Andrew Hankey
Walter Sisulu NBG
March 2001

To find out if SANBI has seed of this or other SA species, please email our seedroom.

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