Aloe Barberae

Tree Aloe (Aloidendron barberae)

Tree Aloe

Image of a Tree Aloe (Aloidendron barberae)

Scientific name: Aloidendron barberae
Common names: Tree Aloe, South African Tree Aloe
Synonyms:
  • Aloe barberae
  • Aloe bainesii
  • Aloe bainesii var. barberae
  • Aloe zeyheri
Propagation: The Tree Aloe is easily cultivated from seed, truncheons or stem cuttings.
Uses: The Tree Aloe is considered beneficial when applied to the skin, accelerating the healing process in wounds or burns and it may also have anti-ageing effects. It can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria making it a good mouthwash and for treating mouth ulcers.
Overview: The Tree Aloe is the largest of all Aloes, growing up to 20 meters in height and developing magnificent stem bases that can reach as much as 3 meters in diameter!

If you are wanting to add the ‘wow factor’ to your garden, the Tree Aloe is one of the most striking succulent plants that you can add to your landscape.

They are the largest of all Aloes, growing up to 20 meters in height and developing magnificent stem bases that can reach as much as 3 meters in diameter. The branching crown is considered neat and tidy and is made up of rosettes of long, arching, evergreen leaves. It is a truly architectural plant that makes an impressive feature tree in any dry garden, Mediterranean or tropical landscape design.

Easy to grow, the Tree Aloe will be happy in any well drained soil, as long as it is in a sunny position. They require very little when it comes to maintenance and are generally pest and disease free, but they are not hardy so will require frost protection in cooler areas.

We have a wide range of Tree Aloes on site, including mature specimens with wonderfully branched canopies and of course, the magnificent stem bases. We are always happy to help you choose the perfect tree for your landscape and our experienced staff can offer advice on the best place to site your tree for maximum impact.

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Tree Aloe: Frequently Asked Questions

How tall can a Tree Aloe grow?

The Tree Aloe can grow up to 20 meters in height and mature plants develop massive stem bases and spreading root systems, therefore it should not be planted close to any buildings. Planting Tree Aloe into a container will restrict its size so this would be the best option for planting near to the house.

Continue reading about Tree Aloe care.

Do Aloe Trees need much water?

Aloe Trees require very little ongoing care or maintenance. Watering is only necessary during establishment then, after the first year or two, only during prolonged dry spells.

Continue reading about Aloe Tree care.

Where can I buy a Tree Aloe?

We are one of the leading suppliers of Tree Aloes in Australia. We are fully licensed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to sustainably harvest several species and we are proud to say that we have one of the largest ranges of Tree Aloes.

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Where can I grow a Tree Aloe?

The Tree Aloe can be grown in almost any soil and climate. The only important requirements to consider when choosing a planting position are drainage, protection from frost and eventual size.

Continue reading about Tree Aloe care.

Tree Aloe: Planting

The Tree Aloe can be grown in almost any soil and climate. The only important requirements to consider when choosing a planting position are drainage, protection from frost and eventual size.

The Tree Aloe can grow up to 20 meters in height and mature plants develop massive stem bases and spreading root systems, therefore it should not be planted close to any buildings. Planting it into a container will restrict its size so this would be the best option for planting near to the house.

Container planting is also advised if the tree is to be grown in a frost prone area, as the pots can be moved inside during the winter. The Tree Aloe is usually hardy throughout most of Australia but in cold prone areas towards the south east of the country winter protection should be considered.

A sunny site with a loamy, humus rich well-drained soil is perfect for the Tree Aloe. If your soil is a little on the heavy side, it would be wise to add sand or grit to the planting hole to aid drainage.

Container grown trees should be raised slightly off the ground so that the water can drain freely from the base of the pot.

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Tree Aloe: Ongoing Care & Maintenance

Aloe Trees require very little ongoing care or maintenance. Watering is only necessary during establishment then, after the first year or two, only during prolonged dry spells. Pot grown specimens should be watered regularly to prevent the soil from drying out completely, but the soil should never be waterlogged as this will lead to root rot. It is worth noting that well-watered trees tend to develop larger trunks.

Aloe Trees are not particularly susceptible to pests or diseases, but it is always good practice to keep an eye out for any potential problems. The most common problems are aphids and scale insect infestations, but these are easily controlled.

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Tree Aloe: Propagation

The Tree Aloe is easily cultivated from seed, truncheons or stem cuttings.

Sow the seed into a free draining compost with added grit or sharp sand and place the pot in a bright position away from direct sunlight. Keep moderately moist and maintain an even temperature of around 15-18C until the seed has germinated.

Almost any stem length can be used for propagation; from 10 – 15cm stem cuttings to truncheons of up to a meter or two in length. Remove any leaves from the bottom section of the stem cutting and place it into a free draining potting mix, firming the soil gently around the stem. Some growers recommend leaving the freshly cut truncheons to dry out for a week or two before potting up, presumably to reduce the risk of rotting.

Grow the cuttings on in a warm, bright position, out of direct sunlight keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged (the stem will rot if kept too damp) until a good root system has been established.

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Tree Aloe: Taxonomy and naming

Family: Asphodelaceae

Genus: Aloidendron

Species: barberae (After its discoverer, Mary Barber)

Synonyms: Aloe barberae, Aloe bainesii, Aloe bainesii var. barberae, Aloe zeyheri

Common names: Tree Aloe, South African Tree Aloe

Tree Aloe: History

There seems to be much confusion with the naming of Aloidendron barberae.

This plant was first discovered in the former Transkei area of South Africa by Mary Elizabeth Barber – a naturalist, writer, painter and plant collector. It was also found, just a little later, in the Tugela River Valley area by explorer and painter Thomas Baines. Both sent specimens back to Kew and in 1874 both were named in their honour by botanist William Turner Thiselton-Dyer.

However, in 1875, Dyer realised that they were actually the same species and, because Mary Barber’s Aloe barberae was named first, it became the accepted name. Aloe bainesii is a synonym of Aloe barberae.

To complicate things further, in 2013 the original genus Aloe was re-assessed and separated out into a number of different genera. The genus Aloidendron incorporates all the Tree Aloes which are more closely related to each other than to other Aloes.

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Tree Aloe: Distribution and Habitat

The Tree Aloe is native to coastal forests, ravines and warm well-drained valleys in the eastern regions of southern Africa. Its habitat is subtropical with an average annual rainfall of 1000 – 1500mm and a loamy, humus rich soil.

Tree Aloe: Appearance

The Tree Aloe is a large, many branched tree with a neat, rounded crown that in its native habitat can reach heights of around 18-20 meters. It has a huge trunk that can grow up to 3 meters in diameter and has rough, greyish-brown bark.

Each branch is topped with rosettes of long, dark green, fleshy, recurved leaves, 60 – 90 cm long and 7 – 9 cm wide. The leaf margins are edged with small, white, brown-tipped teeth, that on mature plants are 2 – 3 mm long and approximately 1 – 2.5 cm apart.

In winter, each branch produces an inflorescence, 40-60 cm long, with racemes of tubular, green tipped, rose-pink/apricot-orange flowers that measure 3 – 4cm long. The flower colour depends on the conditions in which it is grown. In its natural habitat, flowers are rose-pink in the south and apricot-orange in the north of its range.

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Tree Aloe: Ecology & Conservation

Aloidendron barberae is not considered to be ‘at risk’ in the wild.

Tree Aloe seedlings often outgrow their companion plants to create a dense dark canopy under which little can grow. The flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. In their natural habitat, Tree Aloes are pollinated by sunbirds.

Tree Aloe: Uses

There are many species of Aloe that are used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. A popular medicinal plant, its leaves are full of a gel-like substance that purportedly contains numerous beneficial compounds. It is considered especially beneficial when applied to the skin, accelerating the healing process in wounds or burns and it may also have anti-ageing effects. It can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria making it a good mouthwash and for treating mouth ulcers.

Enquiries

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Email – hello@bluegrasstree.com.au

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