Far Out Flora

Fiery Aloe Spikes


Aloe arborescens - Krantz Aloe

Aloe arborescens - Krantz Aloe

The Aloe arborescens are going crazy down in Pacific Grove, CA.  One of the best spots to see these blooming succulents is along Ocean View Blvd.  Take a stroll along the coastal path from the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Park over to Hays Perkins Park…you won’t regret it.  (Update:  Sounds like the  parks are mislabeled and should both be considered Shoreline Park.  Thanks Katie.)

Aloe arborescens - Krantz Aloe

Aloe arborescens - Torch Aloe

Aloe arborescens goes by a lot of common names such as Torch Aloe, Candelabra Aloe, and Krantz Aloe to name a few. Common names are often descriptive such as Torch for its red flower spikes or Candelabra for their large leave rosettes. But the common name Krantz Aloe puzzled me. Turns out, it comes from the Afrikaner word, Kransaalwyn, which loosely translates to rocky cliff. In habitat, these succulent Aloes thrive in rocky ridges from sea level…all the way up to high mountain elevations. Seems the largest concentrations of them are found in southeastern continental Africa.

Aloe arborescens along Sunset Dr in Monterey Bay

Aloe arborescens along Sunset Dr in Monterey Bay

Having some fun with the iPhone, we stitched up a Hipstamatic of that same Aloe clump.  One thing we did notice was how stressed out the Aloes where still looking. The lack of rain this winter has kept the foliage looking redder than limey green.

Aeoniums in Bloom

Aeoniums in Bloom

The hiking trail meanders on for over a mile right next to the water.  Frolicking down the footpath, we found a number of Aeoniums blooming too.  Man, love those yellow conical clusters.

Matti and Max

Matti and Max

Max the Border Collie got to stretch his legs too; the place is pretty dog friendly as long as you keep them on leash.  Oh, check it out. Besides the Aloes…the Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira) were popping their purple spiky inflorescence. Aren’t those a fab combo?

Echium candicans & Aloe arborescens

Echium candicans & Aloe arborescens

Echium candicans - Pride of Madeira

Echium candicans - Pride of Madeira (syn. Echium fastuosum)

Echium candicans (syn. Echium fastuosum) produces oodles of little flowers on their bloom spikes.  Great plants for attracting pollinators.  If you’re ever down in the Monterey Bay area, we highly recommend taking a detour to this garden path.

– Far Out Flora


  1. Love that last Echium shot. It seems so early for them to be blooming like that. The ones down here aren’t doing anything yet. I have been trying to decide if I want any Aloe arborescens in my new garden. Their eventual size is intimidating but on the other hand they would be a nice economical choice to fill in large areas.

    • Yeah, there’s not a ton of Echium action up here yet either, but there always seem to be a few early bloomers here and there. I have to admit I’m a wee bit jealous of your huge new gardening space :) Hmmm, to plant an A. arborescens or not? I love the winter color, but they can look a little scrappy in the summer…

  2. The aloes were blooming like mad in Santa Barbara too by Jan. 1st. Interesting trace back to the Afrikaner roots for Krantz aloe. Unlike Matti, Max looks a little reluctant to have his photo taken!

  3. Very pretty, I look forward to the day my plants will finally start blooming!

  4. does anything pollinate them, like hummingbirds?

  5. If I haven’t told you before, thank you. I’m enjoying your posts. You see what I want to…

  6. Kaveh I have 3 aloe aborescens sitting in my office with a west facing window… just trying to survive so they can be planted in containers come spring. I hate that they can’t become the glorious plants that they are meant to be in the soil, but in Denver, that’s not going to happen.

  7. Aw. That good old zonal denial. I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore. Unless I somehow went crazy and decided I wanted to grow Hosta. In Denver at least you can grow really cool Alpines and neat things.

  8. What beautiful images! I used to live in Monterey and I miss walking along the ocean in Pacific Grove. Your photos truly captured the spirit of the place.

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  9. Alpines, oh yeah… love them. Relocated from Chicago 7 yrs. ago (hosta heaven) and now my rock gardens are my passion. No more sweeps of perennials, onesies are so much fun.

    • We’re originally from Wisconsin, another hosta hotbed… Matti hated their flowers so much he’d clip them off the few hostas we had :) Can’t say I miss them.

  10. Just found your blog! Totally and utterly fabulous! I am becoming your newest follower like NOW!

  11. Absolutely incredible! Everything is pretty drab up here this time of year, but spring bulbs have started to pop. Oh to live in the warm climate of california, where the aeoniums blooms and echiums are in color in mid January. AWESOME, INCREDIBLE!!?!?!!

  12. Lovely spiky things. Great photos!

  13. What a wonderful site! Love that huge bunch of aloes all blooming! My mother in law has one like it in her back yard. Way down this hill. And the aeonium blooming is so pretty. I have one bloom pushing out again this year. And yes the red and purple color combination is really pretty!

  14. Fabulous pics, living on the east coast we don’t see these wonderful succulents.

  15. Those crazy, wacky Aloe arborescens – you can always count on them to put on a big show. My Aloe striata is just showing its bud now. Succulents are great for winter color!

    • Hey Nell, yeah…they are good for some color right now. This is our awkward time of the year for showy plants. Feb should turn around especially since it rained. Matti

  16. Wow those aloe plants are amazingly beautiful!

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