Aloe Barberae [AL-oh, BAR-ber-ay], is an aloe-like plant native to South Africa where it can reach up to 60′ feet tall.
While it’s often called the Tree Aloe, it no longer belongs to the Aloe plant genus.
It’s part of the Aloidendron genus of succulents.
Botanists created the Aloidendron genus to include various plants featuring distinct traits separating them from other Aloe plants.
The Tree Aloe is still part of the Asphodelaceae family.
It’s a large tree but is sometimes kept as an ornamental plant with the right cultivation methods.
You might like these “smaller” Aloes:
Aloe Barberae Care
Size and Growth
This slow-growing tree can reach up to 60′ feet, producing a thick stem eventually reaching 3′ feet in diameter.
The top of the woody stem produces a rosette of leaves, forming a dense crown.
The leaves are succulent with dark and light green stripes and a toothed margin.
As the leaves grow, they start to curve down and may reach several feet in length.
Flowering and Fragrance
Mature Tree Aloe plants may flower in the winter. The inflorescences appear from curved branches at the top of the stem.
The flowers are tubular and covered in rose-pink petals.
The tips are often green.
Light and Temperature
Aloe Barberae grows best in temperatures between 70° and 80° degrees Fahrenheit (21° – 27° C).
The Tree Aloe needs bright sunlight.
During the summer, it tolerates full direct sunlight.
While the plant can survive outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, it can reach unmanageable sizes when left to grow without grooming.
Growing in a container or large pot helps keep the size more manageable and allows for overwintering indoors in cooler regions.
Bring indoors before temperatures start dropping to below freezing.
Watering and Feeding
Allow the soil to dry between watering.
As it grows best in soil with fast drainage, it may require frequent watering throughout the warmer months.
Limit watering during the winter.
After the plant goes dormant due to cold weather, it may not need water until the weather starts to warm.
Use a succulent fertilizer during the summer and early fall.
Stop using fertilizer when winter arrives.
Soil and Transplanting
Plant in soil with fast drainage. Combine two parts standard potting mix with one part sand or pebbles to achieve faster drainage.
Transplanting is useful for refreshing the soil every few years. Use the same soil recommendation.
Remove dead leaves to allow for new growth.
Trim back the stems to limit the height of the plant.
How to Propagate Tree Aloe
Propagate by division, stem cuttings, or offsets.
The best time to propagate is when transplanting the plant.
- During transplanting, it’s easier to discover offsets and divide the plant.
- Remove offsets using gardening shears.
- Plant the young plants in cactus or succulent soil.
- Water deeply and allow the plant to sit in a bright spot near a window.
- Keep indoors for the winter and transplant outdoors or to larger containers in the spring.
To divide the plant, carefully loosen the soil around the root ball before separating it into two sections, each with its own stem.
Replant using the same conditions used for the base plant.
To propagate with stem cuttings, select one or more healthy stems.
- Cut just above a branching segment.
- Allow the stem to dry overnight.
- The next day, dip the tip of the cutting in rooting powder hormone.
- Stick the stem cutting in soil with fast drainage.
- Instead of a standard cactus mix, add peat moss or standard soil to increase water retention.
- Keep the stem cuttings in bright sunlight and water moderately while allowing the soil to dry between watering.
- After the stem cuttings take root, transplant to permanent homes indoors or outdoors.
Tree Aloe Pest or Disease Problems
Tree Aloe may attract occasional pests such as aphids or scale insects.
Using a horticultural spray should help prevent infestations.
If the insects appear, wash them away with cold water from a sprayer attached to a garden hose.
For severe infestations, the plant may require an insecticidal soap.
The plant rarely suffers from diseases.
If the leaves start to drop, the plant may lack sunlight, water, or nutrients.
Dropping leaves or yellowing leaves indicate a nutrient deficiency or overwatering.
Add fertilizer to the soil to improve its nutrient balance and limit watering.
If the leaves start to brown before dropping, it may need more sunlight.
Move to a brighter spot.
Along with pests and diseases, watch out for the toxicity of the plant.
As with most Aloe plants, the juices from the leaves and parts of the plant may cause vomiting or diarrhea when ingested by cats, dogs, and other small animals.
Suggested Aloe Barberae Uses
Aloe Barberae is commonly used to add a focal point to a landscape.
When grown in a container, it should be placed in a room with plenty of space for its tall stem.