The most popular known succulent genus, Aloe, is recognized for its medicinal and health benefits, that provide millions relief from all sorts of maladies all over the world.
In fact aloe has helped so many for so long that it’s legendary in many countries and even revered as sacred in a few.
The Aloe ferox is one of the subsets of the genus that is equal in medicinal value to any of the other known sub-genus’s, though with this plant it is hard to find any information about it anywhere, whether it be the benefits of it or how to tend to it.
So, we have compiled the answers to the most common questions on this aloe, so that you will know how to start, grow and tend to your precious plant allowing it to thrive and render it’s protective benefits for both you and your loved ones.
What Is The Aloe Ferox?
Aloe Ferox, or commonly known as Cape Aloe or bitter Aloe, is a species of plant of the Asphodelaceae family that is native to southern Africa. This succulent is one of the Aloe species that is used for hundreds of medicinal and health benefits, along with quite a few cosmetic uses as well.
The Aloe Ferox is a tall aloe that can grow to 10 feet high or more. It has a single stemmed rosette with long leaves that are covered in spines and turn reddish brown as the end of the stem and green the rest of the way up. This succulent bloom orange and red inflorescence flowers in the spring.
The succulent is often commonly mistaken for the Aloe excelsa species. They do look similar when they are fully grown and mature, but the difference between these two is that the Aloe excelsa is slightly shorter with curvier leaves.
The Aloe Ferox, like most, if not all succulents, prefer dry climates with direct full sunlight and moderate watering periods with a good drainage system in gravely, sandy and loamy soil.
What Is The Common Name Of The Aloe Ferox?
The common names of the Aloe Ferox are “bitter aloe”, “Cape Aloe”, “red aloe” and “tap aloe”.
The species name “Ferox” of the succulent translates to “fierce” in Latin.
“Bitter Aloe” comes from the plant’s raw, very bitter tasting gel that is used for medicine and health benefits.
“Cape Aloe” can refer to its most common location on the Capes of Southern Africa.
“Red Aloe” refers to the plant’s reddish brown bottom leaves. This is also a common name for another Aloe species called the Aloe cameronii, which is an entirely red colored aloe.
What Are The Benefits of Aloe Ferox?
Although this succulent is most commonly used for its medicinal benefits, Aloe Ferox has many other uses such as health products and a multitude of uses in cosmetics.
Many Aloe species are used to treat skin cancer, arthritis, eczema, burns, blood pressure, diabetes, and psoriasis.
Not only does it help in medicine, but it also provides health benefits, such as promoting hair growth, treating dry scalp, dry skin, digestive track, nutritional boost, hydration, clear skin, improve liver functions, and many more!
It’s use in cosmetics dates back from the times of ancient Kings. No one knows the exact timeline for sure, but most scholars agree that it’s been used for at least 1,500 years or more.
History Of The Aloe Ferox
There is no recorded information or any further facts other than the man who discovered the Aloe genus, Carl Linnaeus, in 1753.
Sure, it had been used by native peoples for hundreds of years prior to that. However, it’s recognized discovery was in 1753.
How To Grow An Aloe Ferox?
Although the Aloe ferox is part of the Aloe genus, some variations of the species will have different requirements for being taken care of.
The Aloe ferox grows best in a well-draining soil in a pot that allows easy drainage as well. Aloes are known to keep water stored in their leaves, and that’s exactly why you don’t want a soil that doesn’t drain easily.
All the excess water that it doesn’t get taken up for storage will give the plant root rot and possibly kill it.
Along with having the right soil and pot that allows the right drainage, it is important to follow the ‘dry and soak’ method when watering.
Water deeply around the plant in the soil and not directly on the leaves to prevent risk of rot and let the succulent soak it all up before watering again.
Before you water again you should check to see that the soil feels bone dry, this is when you soak it again. Then wait until bone dry again and repeat the process.
To tie into watering and the right soil, the best fertilizer to use is a liquid fertilizer, or mixes that are specifically made for aloe. Avoid using a granular fertilizer that is crumbly and can’t be properly absorbed by the succulent.
The granules take quite a long time to break down and they are too concentrated in their dry form to come into direct contact with the plant as they can easily burn it.
Let your Aloe ferox stay out in direct full sunlight for six hours a day, this doesn’t change whether you choose to grow the succulent indoors or out and you don’t have to keep it on a timer.
Just put in an area that gets about 6 or so hours of direct sun as the sun passes over it.
The Aloe ferox prefers to be in temperatures between 55 and 80°F (13 and 27°C). This plant is not cold hardy, so if temperatures tend to go below 40°F where you live, bring you succulent inside to prevent it from freezing or having cold snap or frost damage.
What Is The Best Soil For My Aloe Ferox?
The best soil to use for an Aloe ferox is one that allows great drainage. The pot you choose should drain well and not allow standing water as standing water can cause root rot with these plants.
With the right soil and pot combo, you won’t have to worry about overwatering your succulent too much.
Just one little tip.
As you may have deduced, these plants being desert plants and being susceptible to root rot don’t do very well being grown hydroponically.
How Often Should I Water My Aloe Ferox?
First make sure that you have a pot and soil that allow great drainage and will not let water stand on the root systems of the plant.
Then, use the ‘dry and soak’ method to help you stay in check with your succulent’s watering schedule.
Once the soil feels dry, then you can water it deeply around the soil and avoid watering directly on the leaves. Let the succulent absorb the water and dry up the soil before watering again.
How Much Sunlight Should I Give My Aloe Ferox?
Your Aloe ferox prefers direct full sunlight. Leaving the plant out for 6 hours per day, no matter if you leave it indoors or out, will help the succulent to bloom and thrive.
This is not something where you have to worry so much that you time it. Just place your plant in an area that gets about 6 hours of direct sun per day and you’re good. No need to over worry or over water.
What Fertilizer Is Best For The Aloe Ferox?
The best fertilizer to use for your Aloe ferox is a liquid fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer first after watering to help wash away lingering salts or residue that might be lingering on the top of the soil.
Avoid using granular and crumbly fertilizer because it is hard for the succulent to absorb and use.
Not only that, but if the touch the plant in their solid concentrated form they can easily burn it.
Is The Aloe Ferox A Indoor Or Outdoor Plant?
The Aloe ferox is both an indoor and outdoor plant. The succulent doesn’t have specific enough requirements to make it an indoor plant, just watch the temperature guide we have for you below.
If you prefer to plant your succulent outside and live in an area where temperatures tend to fluctuate below 40°F, it is suggested to plant it in a portable container so that you can bring it in until temperatures outside rise to the succulent’s ideal temperatures of between 55 and 80°F (13 and 27°C).
Are Aloe Ferox Poisonous To Pets?
The Aloe ferox’s toxicity level is much higher for cats and dogs. Symptoms can be vomiting, diarrhea, depression skin irritation, and decreased appetite. If your cat has consumed the succulent, immediately send them to a local vet to treat them.
With a dog, monitor them and if they look overly uncomfortable you can take them to the vet as well.
Are Aloe Ferox Edible?
Yes, Aloe ferox is edible for humans. Its raw gel form is pretty bitter but will generally have sugar added when using it for aloe drinks, which is one of the ways aloe gained its immense popularity.
Dry leaves are harvested and crushed to be used as spices and tea leaves for herbal teas.
How To Propagate An Aloe Ferox
Aloe ferox can be propagated from cuttings.
Removing the leaves with a sterilized cutting knife and allow the cutting to callous over the next day or two before placing it in a pot of well-drained but wet soil with its cut facing directly down into the soil.
Over the next month or so you’ll start to see the plant developing roots going down into the soil.
Once it’s well established you can change pots or leave it in this one until it outgrows it.
Are Aloe Ferox Seasonal?
The Aloe ferox is seasonal. Between May and August, the succulent will bloom orange and red inflorescence in a candelabrum form, though blooming may be delayed until September in colder countries.
How Long Does It Take For A Aloe Ferox to Grow?
Growth varies between plant, but in general, an Aloe grows between 1.7cm per plant per year. From seed, it takes about 4 to 5 years to reach maturity.
How Do You Use Aloe Ferox?
Aloe ferox can be used in many ways. For medicinal purposes, the yellow bitter sap is used as a laxative while the white aloe gel is used in healthy drinks and skin care products. Compared to the general genus of Aloe vera, this succulent is much healthier for humans with more amino acids and polysaccharides per ounce of gel.
What Is The Difference Between Aloe Ferox And Aloe Vera?
Aloe ferox and Aloe vera are in the same genus and they have many of the same benefits, with the ferox being more potent in delivering those benefits. Aloe ferox has 28% higher levels of aloin and 36% more amino acids than in Aloe vera, and Aloe ferox is native to southern Africa while Aloe vera is native to the Americas.
What Are The Common Aloe Ferox Pests And Diseases?
The most common diseases and pests that the Aloe ferox suffers from is root rot, aloe snout beetles, scale insects, mealy bugs and mites.
Rot is a common disease that all succulents can suffer from. Caused by bad watering habits, leaving too much water for your succulent to absorb will make the plant rot at the base and result in possible death unless treated for or the plant is propagated.
There is a chance to save it, you can propagate, offset and start anew, while using the ‘dry and soak’ method to help you keep on track with your succulent’s watering schedule. If you plant looks too rotten, then generally there is no way you can save it.
Aloe snout beetles can be found on the leaves of the aloe plant and near the stem, sucking out the sap. Its larvae bore into the stem and can also cause rot. To get rid of them, physically remove them from the plant or sprinkle insecticide power to kill them.
Scale insects appear as green bumps on the leaves of the succulent. To get rid of them, you can scrape them off or spray them with horticultural oil spray.
Mealy bugs can be detected by seeing fluffy white wax on top of the leaves. To get rid of these pets, you can spray the plant regularly with rubbing alcohol repeating this process for a few weeks until they are gone.
Mites can be detected from webbing and small brown spots on young succulents. They are seen as dust by the naked eye. To get rid of them, use insecticidal soaps designed specifically for them.