Up Close: Hello, Aloe!

Take a closer look at the beauty of nature. Can you guess what plant this is?

Though candelabra aloe (Aloe arborescens, Zone 11) isn’t as well known as its famous succulent cousin, Aloe vera, it’s no less impressive. Prized for its dramatic red flowers as well as medicinal properties, this African native looks like an air plant crossed with a torch lily (Kniphofia uvaria). Its rosettes can sprawl to create clumps up to 6 feet wide and 12 feet tall. Its flower spires start out slender with tiny scales hiding the show to come.