Aloiampelos ciliaris [AL-oh-AM-pel-ohs] [sil-ee-AIR-iss] formerly classified as Aloe ciliaris, is a fast-growing succulent from the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Aloiampelos ciliaris is commonly called the common climbing aloe.
It’s named “ciliaris” due to the white, hair-like teeth appearing around the edges of the leaves and stems.
Aloiampelos ciliaris belongs to the aloiampelos genus, which includes six other species of climbing aloe plants.
Aloe ciliaris plants are part of the Asphodelaceae family.
Aloiampelos Ciliaris Care
Size and Growth
- Climbing aloe produces thin stems and leaves.
- The thin stems shoot upward and are anchored by fleshy leaves.
- The leaves and stems are green and covered in soft hairs.
- Hair-like teeth appear along the margins of the leaves and on the stems near the base of the leaves.
- The leaves are recurved, creating a hook shape allowing the plant to anchor itself on other vegetation.
- Without pruning, the plant may eventually reach 8′ to 12′ feet in length.
The tall stems of Aloe ciliaris produce large orange-red flowers at the end of the fall season.
The flowers typically appear from November to April, depending on the climate.
In cooler regions, the blooms may not last as long.
Light and Temperature
Climbing aloe grows best in full sun.
Without plenty of sunlight, the plant may not produce a full bloom.
It’s native to South Africa, where temperatures rarely drop below freezing during the winter.
In North America, Aloe ciliaris is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9b or higher.
In cooler climates, it grows well as a potted houseplant.
Set it near a window receiving direct sunlight for several hours per day.
Watering and Feeding
- Climbing aloe only needs infrequent watering.
- Water the soil deeply and allow the top 2″ inches to dry completely between watering.
- Indoor plants may need watering about once per week during the spring and summer.
- In the fall, it can likely go about two weeks without water.
- During the winter, water the plant once every three weeks.
- Feed once per month with a 1/2 strength water soluble plant food.
Soil and Transplanting
Climbing aloe grows best in sandy or gravelly soil with good drainage.
Poor drainage increases the risk of root rot and other disease problems.
Using a standard potting mix with extra sand or perlite should create an ideal environment for the plant.
If grown in a container instead of in the ground, the soil needs very good drainage.
Ensure the container has drainage holes and add more sand or perlite to the potting mixture.
Transplant plants as needed in the spring.
Use fresh soil and ensure the Aloe ciliaris plants are spaced at least 1′ to 2′ feet apart.
As a fast-growing plant, climbing aloe requires occasional pruning.
While it’s not invasive, it’s climbing growth may cover other plants.
Use sharp, sterile gardening shears to trim back the leaves to up to one-third their original size.
Trimming the plant in the spring gives the leaves time to regrow during the active growing season.
How to Propagate Climbing Aloe
Propagate using seeds, stem cuttings, or offsets.
- Sow climbing aloe seeds in sandy soil.
- The seeds should germinate for several weeks in a room kept at temperatures ranging between 68° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit (20° – 24° C).
- The soil should be moist and well-draining.
- After the seedlings appear, wait several weeks for the stems to harden before transplanting.
To propagate with Aloe ciliaris stem cuttings
- Cut stems below a node root.
- The cuttings should dry out for at least one day to form a seal on the cut end.
- Dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder.
- This increases the chance of successful propagation.
- Place the cuttings in moist soil.
- Keep the soil moist until roots appear and then cut back on watering.
- Wait until the top 1″ inch of soil is dry before watering.
- Several weeks after planting the cuttings, roots should develop.
- Wait several more weeks for the plant to become hardier before transplanting.
- Offsets may appear around mature plants, especially when planted in a large container or garden with room for the seeds to set.
To propagate Aloe ciliaris from offsets
- Dig up the soil around the smaller plants.
- Remove the offsets
- Replant them in succulent soil
- Either in the same container or garden or in a new home
Climbing Aloe Pest or Disease Problems
Climbing aloe is vulnerable to scale.
Scale insects cover the exterior of the plant.
Try removing the hard-shelled insects by hand or using cotton swabs soaked in alcohol.
Pesticides may not kill the scale insects due to their protective shells.
For severe infestations, consider propagating an unaffected part of the plant.
Along with scale insects, the plant may occasionally appear to droop.
If the leaves start to droop before falling off, the plant likely needs more sunlight.
Move it to a sunnier location and wait one or two weeks before watering.
Suggested Aloiampelos Ciliaris Uses
Grow along fences or boundaries where the climbing aloe plant can climb over the surrounding foliage.