There are succulents and then there are sexy succulents. By sexy I mean uniquely beautiful. If I had to choose a sexy succulent, hands down, it would be Aloe speciosa also known as the Tilt-Head Aloe. Come on, I mean check out that color palette! I have grown this Aloe for several years and it never lets me down with the show it puts on in early spring and summer. The torches of flowers it produces at are simply one of the most spectacular and coolest I've ever seen. If you dig really cool color contrast this is a must have for your dry garden.
Aloe speciosa forms large bluish-green rosettes of succulent leaves that sit on top of a trunk that can eventually lift rosettes up to 10 feet high. The look is somewhat similar to that of a small palm-like tree. The edges and tips of the leaves are tinged pinkish green. The rosette heads, which can grow up to 2-3 feet across, tend to tilt on the trunks creating a pinwheel-like effect. In late winter, at least here in California, a spike or spikes of creamy buds striped with green emerge to form the arresting torch of tri-color blossoms that open in early spring. The palette ranges from ivory, willow green, rose pink, to deep rich browns and ruby reds. When the blossoms are in full effect no hummingbird can resist the nectar rich bounty they hold.
As Aloe speciosa matures the torches begin to multiply producing one of the coolest candelabras of color you will ever see. Now to successfully grow this tree aloe give it full sun, well-drained soil, low water, and protection from temps if they dip below 30 degrees. It looks smashing in a container and even better in the ground. Group three of them together in a staggered formation to create a stunning visual statement. Come early spring watch these torches blaze with an unquestionable beauty. Look for them at nurseries that specialize in really cool succulents.