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Sunbird Aloe Comet (PBR)

This medium-sized aloe will eventually grow a tall stem. When it does it looks like a scaled-down version of the large stemmed aloes. It could be called the Aloe Marlothii for the small garden. When its showy flowers are added to the equation it becomes clear why ‘Comet’ is so popular.

From midwinter to spring the plant is adorned with multiple inflorescences that carry the slanted, red-to-cream coloured racemes – and there are many of them to delight any observer. The flower buds have pale tips.

The plant itself has a well-structured, green rosette and the leaves are lined with brown-tipped spines. The black or brown fungal spots on the leaves come from one of the parent plants. I call them benign spots because they do not affect the growth or flowering of the aloe. Occasional stem shoots are produced, but these should best be removed in the interest of retaining a good plant shape. The rosette may also divide upon maturity. This is the start of the formation of twin rosettes which will add to the flowering prowess of the plant.

‘Comet’ should be planted towards the front of the rockery as a young plant. When the stem starts growing after a few year it may need to be moved further to the back. This is not difficult to do as the plant does not grow to an unmanageable size. It will also flower well in a pot or container – start out with something twice the volume of the plant.