Meet the PLANT JUNKIES

Andy De Wet and Quinton Bean are widely regarded as the best ornamental plant breeders in South Africa.

Andy is the founder and owner of the De Wet group. He is a qualified botanist and the driving force in all three divisions. Always passionate, Andy started breeding aloes in 1973. Starting De Wet Water Features in 1984 he steadily evolved

the business into becoming the internationally recognized horticultural force it is today.

Quinton Bean is a respected and highly knowledgeable plant expert with over 20 years’ experience in

plant breeding and selection.

If anyone knows anything about plants, it's these PLANT JUNKIES.

 

Visit the PLANT JUNKIES channel where these experts talk all things plants.

ALOE

PERI PERI

Aloe PERI PERI was bred to be a small garden and pot plant, specifically for colder gardens as well.

 

It flowers in early autumn/fall in a profusion of pinky-red before the heavy frosts arrive. Planted as a border plant in mass in dryer, sunny gardens, it can create a tremendous splash of color. Aloe PERI PERI will also do well as a pot plant or in a smaller garden or rockery. It grows easily and is immune to aloe cancer and most other slow diseases, except it can get black spot in high alkaline gardens. Like most aloes it feeds sunbirds/hummingbirds and many species of insects.

This slow is ideal for commercial gardens where mass planting is the norm.

 

The University of Pretoria is awash with red in autumn as it is one of the base plants in Jason Sampsons layout.

POLLINATION

ON ALOES

Birds are the main pollinators of aloes, aloes with longer pedicels (and flowers) like Aloe arborescens and most maculate are pollinated by sunbirds. Aloes with shorter pedicels (and flowers) like Aloe marlothii and Aloe ferox, are pollinated by birds with shorter beaks like weavers, starlings and bulbuls.


Top picture White-bellied Sunbird sipping nectar and pollinating on an Aloe arborescens-type hybrid (note how the aloe racemes below the open flowers are kept clear for the sunbirds to easily perch).


Second picture- a Cape Weaver, on a Aloe ferox flower, it has a shorter beak and pollinates this kind of tightly packed raceme. Pictures taken at The ALOE FARM by Koos van Niekerk in 2019.

ALOE HYBRIDS

Aloe hybrids are generally better garden plants.

 

Aloe Cultivars, the more flowers, the more bees and birds.

 

That is why hybrids are better in gardens, they are also more showy and better adapted to garden conditions.

ALOE CULTIVAR NAMES

One often see aloes with names like Aloe arborescens ANDY’S YELLOW or Aloe arborescens ANDY’S RED, both are species and two different clones of Aloe arborescens, not bred, so they cannot be protected with plant breeders rights(PBR). What we did was protect the name with a trademark, that means no one can use the name only.

 

These were the best clones of each colors I found over all the years of evaluating Aloe arborescens, and ensures that if you plant either they will truly perform very well in terms of easy growth and most importantly, the amount of flowers they can possibly produce.

MIXING & MATCHING

When designing an aloe garden, it is important to select a suitable sunny spot, preferably north facing(in the Southern Hemisphere). Prepare the soil very well, as you cannot “fix” it later. Plant in groupings of the same variety as the splashes of color is much more dramatic and visually pleasing than a mishmash. Start with taller at the back, stepping dawn to smaller in the front and contrast colors next to each other as much as possible.

 

Different cultivars have different flowering times, so one can also have an aloe garden with a very long flowering season. There are many very successful new aloe hybrids on the market these days so you can carefully plan an exciting display of spectacular colors for your winter garden. When selecting other plants to add to your aloe garden, ensure they have the same sun and water requirements.

ALOE CHARLES

One of my absolute favorite aloes is the cultivar, Aloe CHARLES that was named after my father, Charles Andrew de Wet Snr. This is the aloe one would use as a specimen of the focal plant in a succulent or aloe garden bed. It is hardy, grows to about 2 meter plus, and has a single stem which divides dichotomously to become multi headed. It is highly resistant to most aloe diseases, grows moderately fast and easily. The multitude of bicolor flowers in mid winter makes it arguably the most spectacular aloe in cultivation. For the gardener it is important to know that aloes need mainly three things:

1. Full sun, aloes grow and flower much better and are much more disease resistant in full sun, very few aloes can grow well in a shady spot.

2. Drainage, one need not give them super drainage, but if they are planted in clay soil or any place where they will sometimes stand with their feet in the water, they will not do well at all.

3. Contrary to the belief of many, aloes love rich soil, especially the commercial hybrids as they produce such an abundance of flowers that food helps them to keep up the performance. Prepare your aloe and succulent garden with copious amounts of organic material, such as compost or well rotted manure and bonemeal for root health. A plant with a strong root system will always grow and flower better and be more resistant pests and diseases.

Aloe CHARLES

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The DE WET group are at the cutting edge of horticulture, developing globally sought after new plant varieties, and providing excellent quality products and service to you, our valued customers

 

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