With their vivid torch-like blooms and sculptural forms, aloes are jewels of the winter garden in Southern California. Though most of the 300-400 species are indigenous to Africa and Madagascar, and if protected from frost, they thrive in our climate with minimal water or care.
In their form, aloes range from clustering — with rosettes multiplying along the ground — to single stem or tree-like varieties. For design purposes, I gravitate toward the clustering forms for their ability to mix well with other low water plants. I love to use the single stem forms, such as Aloe marlothii, for drama in a container planting.