Aloe marlothii

mountain aloe
Single-stem tree aloe with branched flowerstalk splayed like a candelabra. Grey-green thorny leaves & orange flowers in winter. Hardy.
Aloe marlothii
height 4–10ft
width 3–6ft
tolerates Drought, Deer , Gophers, Heat, Pots, Rooftops, Neglect, Wind
Aloes thrive on neglect, making them one of the easiest garden plants for California. They are drought-tolerant, and this one will not need additional water once established in the coastal garden. Most aloes will be plump with many bright vibrant blue or green leaves during their growth season. It’s natural for these same plants to show stress during their dry season, often turning shades of red, orange or brown, giving added seasonal interest to the succulent garden. During this time the leaves will curl in on themselves, and often shrivel up and shed from the base. If you prefer a lush look, watering once dry will keep them plump.

Avoid overhead watering in the crown; when water collects there, it may lead to crown rot.
exposure Part Sun – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose 1/2 Strength, Low Needs
origin SC Africa
8, 9, 12–23

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Aloe marlothii, will retain the dried lower leaves to create an armed ‘beard’ or ‘skirt’ that helps defend the plant from predation. If you prefer, this beard may be removed by briskly snapping off the old leaves, starting with the lowest ones. This is an aesthetic consideration that won’t affect the plant either way. Leaving the dead lower leaves from the beginning can create a picturesque natural look. In high fire areas removing the beard reduces your fire load.
Once the flower stalks are completely bloomed out and dry, they will come out with a light tug, or can be pruned off low in the crown.
This aloe is from mountainous areas of Eastern South Africa. As such it is quite hardy through dry winters. This aloe is not hardy to the low twenties (as described here) if you live in an area with high winter rainfall, where its hardiness should be considered around 30F.

Special Interest

The meandering, branched, candelabra flower spike of this aloe is one of the most magnificent.

The leaves are some of the thorniest of all aloes, even having thorns on their flat faces, giving them wonderful character.

More Info

The fantastic photo of a blooming Aloe marlothii, shown here, was taken by Big Sur photographer Kodiak Greenwood. Talk about gold at the end of the rainbow!