Aloes Light Up Winter

Aloes are a sure bet for winter color in San Diego gardens. These succulents, ranging from ground-huggers to fantastical trees, send up spikes of blazing red, orange or gold flowers January through April. Some favorites are:

  • Aloe barberae (formerly A. bainesii) – Sculptural “Dr. Seuss” 20-30-foot tree aloe with rosy, striped flowers in some years. Frost tender.
  • Aloe plicatilis – Fan aloe to 3 feet tall prized for tongue-depressor-shaped leaves atop gray sculptural branching and scarlet flower spikes.
  • Aloe cameronii – Star fish aloe with chocolate-burgundy serrated leaves that form 3-foot wide rosettes. Fiery orange-red flower spikes.
  • Aloe ‘Cynthia Giddy’ – Two-foot tall and wide rosettes with speckled leaves and tall coral-red flower spikes. Reblooms.
  • Aloe somaliensis - Reptilian-patterned green and silver leaves and small stature are perfect for containers. Glowing red tubular flowers.
  • Aloe ‘Donnie’ – One of several 2-4-inch tall hybrids from Proven Winners, ‘Donnie’ has spotted leaves edged in pink. Ideal for containers.


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