Many gardens in Queensland will have one of the Aloes lurking around somewhere. However, the potential of this genus as ornamental plants has been rather neglected until recently. With the need for low-water use plants greater than ever in Australia, and a renewed appreciation of plants with striking architectural forms, we might expect aloes to join yuccas and agaves in the horticultural spotlight.
One advantage of the aloes is that many species also have quite spectacular flowers. Visit the Brisbane Botanic gardens at Mt Coot-tha during winter and take a stroll around their extensive succulent collection - you'll be impressed!
You should be able to buy some of the modern hybrid cultivars in most retail garden centres in sub/tropical parts of Qld. However, you may have to seek out the more obscure species/varieties at specialist succulent nurseries and collector fairs. If you're in the Brisbane region, keep an eye out for the Cactus and Succulent Society Of Queenland's annual show (keep checking the Queensland Gardening Events Diary).
Ornamental aloes were discussed in greater detail in the 18-03-2022 edition of Get Results Gardening. If you garden in Australia, especially the warmer regions that allow you to grow tropical and subtropical plants, you will find plenty of other useful information in this weekly email publication. Find out how to get a free trial at calyx.com.au/getresultsgardening.html
Ornamental flowering aloes in the landscape
These photographs are provided to give an indication of how aloes look in real-life situations and illustrate some of the different plant sizes and flower colours out there. Click for larger images.
Left: New planting of hybrid aloes. Right: Three years later, plants have grown substantially and are putting on a good show.
Mixed planting illustrates some of the range of flower colours and plant forms available.
Larger growers can smother smaller-growing varieties if not well-spaced.