Have you ever seen exploding pink bananas before? Crazy lookin' things aren't they? Well, in reality these 'bananas' are the captivatingly cool flower buds that make up the crazier cool flower spikes of Aloe barberae commonly referred to as the Tree Aloe. Aloe barberae comes to us from South Africa. Now, I know I've posted about aloes before but this one is a bit different. This aloe grows up to become a large tree with branches outfitted with individual aloes on their ends. The look is very medusa. Definitely amazing to witness in person!
In the right conditions, Aloe barberae is not a short lived plant. They can live up to 80 years or longer. In that time they can grow over 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide. They can form some serious trunk and roots. In a garden setting, I see them used as specimen plants/trees. They look amazing grown in large containers and in the ground away from large structures. Aloe barberae makes quite a majestic sculpture. It will create a rounded canopy similar to most trees but it's their unique foliage and flowers that make them a standout. Aloe barberae likes to grow in full sun and well-draining cactus soil mix. It likes low water and is hardy to about 30 degrees fahrenheit/-1 degree celsius. Young plants are more susceptible to frost than older, so if you live in areas expecting frost cover them to keep them safe.
In L.A., these aloe appear to be popular among the chic restaurant or hipster office space crowd. I've started seeing them pop up in their landscape plantings where I'm sure they'll get replaced next season. My thinking is why not plant one of my own so I can enjoy its sculptural grooviness for years to come? They're low maintenance, drought tolerant, cool looking, and those flowers...nothing more unique than an exploding pink banana. Am I right?