Our Plants

December 2005 Plant Highlight: Aloe rubroviolacea
Image of Aloe rubroviolacea   Image of A. rubroviolacea

Aloe rubroviolacea is a beautiful species from the mountains of northern Yemen and adjacent Saudi Arabia. Its name refers to the violet-red hues taken on by the leaves at dry times of the year. The dense spires of red flowers emerge in winter, and our large clump of this species makes a great show each year. If a cold spell is severe enough, the flowers may show some damage, but more stalks usually follow to keep the display going. The plants themselves are unfazed by temperatures down to even the low twenties (below -4 on the Celsius scale). Not infrequently, stray flowers come along at other seasons, but the real fireworks are always in winter.

In its native haunts, A. rubroviolacea grows in steep rocky places, and the plants are often semi-pendant. However, it does just fine on level spots, where it simply grows along the ground. It usually makes offshoots, though not prolifically, and in time develops a clump. The thick leaves arch gracefully outward, forming a rosette up to about 4 feet across. In partial shade they are blue-green in color, with reddish teeth and margins. In full sun the coloration is enhanced with purple tinges, which increase under drier conditions.  

While this attractive plant is seen here and there in gardens from San Diego to Santa Barbara, it is not well-known in the Bay Area. We have often featured it in our plant sales here at The Ruth Bancroft Garden, hoping to see it gain wider recognition.

Text and Photos by Brian Kemble

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Centennial Celebration
We are celebrating Garden Founder Ruth Bancroft's 100th year throughout 2009. If you would like to get involved in this historic milestone, you can help by contributing to the Centennial Fund or by attending on of our many special events this year.
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy