reitzii var. reitzii is a robust and spectacular aloe
species which comes from the grassland areas of Mpumalanga but is
restricted to a very small area in the vicinity of Belfast. This
aloe is endemic to this area and occurs nowhere else in the world.
Although it is a rather rare species of aloe, it is easily distinguished
by the handsome erect red flower spikes that are produced in summer
(unlike most aloes that produce their flowers in winter.) This summer
flowering habit makes it a useful subject for cold gardens where
the flowers of other aloes often get frosted off in the cold winter
The added advantage of growing aloes in the garden is the attraction
of sunbirds to the flowers for nectar. These colourful little birds
are a joy to watch as they flit from flower to flower collecting
the nectar and pollinating the flowers.
Growing Aloe reitzii var. reitzii
Reitz' Aloe is not difficult to cultivate and makes a handsome
addition to any garden. It tolerates both frost and fire in its
natural habitat, and is easily propagated from seed although the
seed is often in short supply. Fresh seed should be sown in spring
on a well-drained seedling medium, lightly covered and treated with
a fungicide. Seedlings will emerge after two to four weeks and can
be transplanted at the age of six months into individual containers
ensuring good drainage and full sun conditions. Seed grown plants
may take five to seven years from sowing to flower.
Walter Sisulu NBG