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Plant Profile: Fan aloe

Fan aloe - Aloe plicatilis Botanical Name: Aloe plicatilis

Family: Asphodelaceae

Type: Succulent (shrub or small tree)

Size: Reaches 3-5m in height

This South African aloe is often referred to as the 'fan aloe' because of the way its leaves divide to create a large fan-like display. In botanical terms it is classed as a dichotomous aloe as the leaves are organised as outward branches rather than a clumped rosette.

While its dull grey-green leaves are attractive year-round, in spring the plant produces bright red-orange tubular flowers. This striking display of colour comes in an eye-catching contrast to the sword-shaped leaves.

Its large leaves are relatively smooth except for some small teeth in the upper parts.

Ideal Conditions:  

The fan aloe does best in partial shade where it can get a bit of protection from the harsh afternoon sun. It requires 'normal' watering during the summer months, and during winter the watering needs to be kept up. This is because it grows naturally in an area with high winter rainfall. Plant in well-drained soil.

The fan aloe is not frost hardy.


This aloe can be easily propagated by branch cuttings, or from seed. However it is a fairly slow-growing plant, so it may be some time before you see results from your seeds. The fan aloe can take decades to reach its mature height.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 2, 2004