Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) (Climbing Aloe)

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) after I brought it home on 8-25-12, #116-2.

Climbing Aloe

Aloiampelos ciliaris


Aloe ciliaris

al-OH sil-ee-AIR-sis

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Haw.) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm. is now the correct and accepted scientific name for the Climbing Aloe. The genus and species were named and described by Ronell Renett Klopper and Gideon Francois Smith in Phytotaxa in 2013. It was first named and described as Aloe ciliaris by Adrian Hardy Haworth in The Philosophical Magazine in 1825. It is still commonly sold in the trade as Aloe ciliaris.

Accepted infraspecific names of Aloe ciliaris (4) (Updated on 10-15-21): Aloiampelos ciliaris var. ciliaris (autonym)Aloiampelos ciliaris nothovar. gigas (Resende) Gideon F.Sm. & Figueiredo, Aloiampelos ciliaris var. redacta (S.Carter) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm., Aloiampelos ciliaris var. tidmarshii (Schönland) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.

Plants of the World Online lists seven species in the Aloiampelos genus (as of 10-15-21 when I am updating this page). It is a member of the plant family Asphodelaceae with 40 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

This species was discovered by William John Burchell, an authority on South African Aloes, in 1813. He was the son of Matthew Burchell, owner of the Fulham Nursery near London, England. 


Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) at 8″ tall x 7 1/2″ wide on 11-23-12, #131-5.

I brought this Aloiampelos ciliaris home from Lowe’s on August 25, 2012, while I was living in Leland, Mississippi. Of course, at the time it was Aloe ciliaris and the common name is Climbing Aloe. It grew very quickly and by the time I took the above photo in November of 2012 it has already grown to 8″tall x 7 1/2″ wide.

This species was discovered by William John Burchell, an authority on South African Aloes, in 1813. He was the son of Matthew Burchell, owner of the Fulham Nursery near London, England.


Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 2-17-13, #139-7. This is the last photo of it taken at the mansion in Mississippi.

Apparently, taxonomists have decided that it was time to have a closer look at the Aloe genus. Tree and scrambling Aloes have been reclassified and now tree Aloes are in the newly created Aloidendron and scrambling Aloes are in the new Aloiampelos genus. The document I read was full or taxonomic language that I can’t even understand. A few Aloe species were also renamed and put in the resurrected Kumara genus.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 4-9-13, #142-2.

After I sold the mansion and moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013 and brought most of my succulents with me. I didn’t know the name had changed until I was writing this page on December 3, 2017. Actually, when a name is changed it can take quite a while before it is fully accepted and the change appears on databases. Not only did the genus of this plant change, but the entire Aloaceae family name was also changed… It depends on what website you are on. Some have changed the genus name but not the family name and visa versa. The family name has changed three times since I started blogging in 2009!

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 6-1-13, #151-8.

There are several species of climbing Aloe’s, but this one is native to the Eastern and Western Cape in South Africa.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 7-14-14, #162-14.

Family: Asphodelaceae
Origin: South Africa
Zones: 9a-11b (20-50° F)…
Size: 8-20’.
*Light: Sun to light shade. I kept mine in light shade because full sun will burn the leaves.
**Soil: Very fast-draining soil. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or amended with additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
***Water: Regular watering during the growing periods and only as necessary during the winter months. If the leaves start curling inward, then give it a little water.
Flowers: Red flowers may occur at any time of the year.

(Growing recommendations at the bottom of the page…)

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 7-30-13, #165-10.

The Climbing Aloe is a pretty neat plant that will grow and keep growing. In the wild, it grows in trees and on fences or samples along the ground. if you grow this plant in pots like I did, you need to provide support. It does not have tendrils like a pea to cling so you will need to tie it to a stake or somehow provide something for it to climb through.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 8-23-13, #178-14.

Although the growing zones state 9a-11b and they are cold hardy down to 20 degrees F, I always move my plants inside if the temps get much cooler than 40 especially if there is a chance of frost. I am a bit paranoid when it comes to the “F” word.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) with its baby on 8-30-13, #181-15.

I grow all my Aloe and their cousins in light shade or where they get morning sun and light shade the rest of the day. That, too, depends on the temperature. If it is early summer, a bit more sun is OK after they have adjusted to being outside. Then as it starts heating up, I give them more shade so their leaves won’t burn.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) at 13″ tall x 11″ wide on 9-8-13, #185-2.

I water potted plants outside as they need it. Potted plants dry out faster so they need water more often. Succulents can survive on less water than “other” plants, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like the same amount during their growing periods in the spring and during the summer. Aloe are considered summer dormant but that all depends on whether the species are in a summer or winter rainfall area. Anyway, that’s what the experts say. From my experience, I can’t tell if they are dormant because they look basically the same all year. Their growth does slow somewhat during the winter.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 10-7-13, #193-15.

By October I knew I would soon have to bring the potted plants inside for the winter. I had no idea where I was going to put them all since I had been away from the farm since 1987… I wasn’t used to an “F” coming in October…

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 12-7-13, #208-7.

I overwintered some of my succulents upstairs in my bedroom, on the kitchen windowsill, or in the basement. Some of the Aloes seemed to do much better in the basement over winter where it was cooler than upstairs. Their leaves stretched more upstairs in inadequate light and where it was warm than they did in the basement where it was 65° F.


Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 6-1-14, #228-12.

All the plants are very happy to see spring come when they can get back outside.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 6-29-14, #230-16.

My Climbing Aloe was 20″ tall when the above photo was taken. It grew 15 inches since I bought it in 2012!

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 7-12-14, #231-13. This was the last photo of this plant.

I gave up most of my plants shortly after the above photo was taken then I had to start over again. I will definitely bring another one home someday. I never had any issues with this plant…


Aloe and their cousins are some of my favorite plants. They are very easy to keep as companions as long as you follow a few basic rules. Even so, there have been a few I have had ups and downs with but eventually, we get it figured out, or at least we agree to disagree. Normally, it has something to do with water. You can’t lump all succulents in the same category when it comes to care because many are very unique in their preferences…

Aloe and their cousins are considered a summer dormant/winter growing species but for me, they seem to grow pretty much year-round. I read where Aloe hybrids don’t go dormant and whether they are summer or winter dormant depends on where the species are native. Personally, I think most Aloe will grow year-round if given the opportunity but I am no expert. For me, I think they do most of their growing while outside from May through mid-October, but most show no sign of being dormant while inside for the winter. Their growth does slow down while inside over the winter and I pretty much withhold their watering to a little once a month if necessary. 

*LIGHT: Most information online says Aloe “prefer” full sun but I keep mine on a west-facing front porch during the summer. There is a roof and two maple trees in the front yard that provide shade part of the day, but they still receive a few hours of direct sun. I guess you would call this “light shade”. The reason I keep them on the front porch instead of the back deck where the cactus are is because I don’t like their leaves to burn. Some species need bright light so their leaves won’t stretch, but not so much that their leaves burn. Of course, it all depends on your climate and you will just have to experiment. If you are keeping your Aloe inside for the winter and want them in the sun during the summer, you will have to allow them to get accustomed to brighter light gradually… From mid-October through April, sometimes into May, most of the succulents are sitting on shelves in a cool bedroom in front of a south-facing window.

**SOIL: As with any cactus and succulent, they need fast-draining soil. Some Aloe grow a massive root system and aren’t that particular about their potting soil. There are MANY recipes online for cactus and succulent potting soil and some can get pretty elaborate. Since 2018, I have been using 50% Miracle Grow Potting soil and 50% pumice that I ordered from General Pumice online. For many years I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting Soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit. If you are going to use sand in your mix, use a very coarse builders sand as the fine stuff fills in the air space between coarser ingredients. The idea is to have a lightweight potting mix that drains quickly and will dry out within a few days. As far as re-potting goes… If your plants are outgrowing their pots, you can re-pot any time. I usually re-pot my cactus in the fall and winter because peat-based mixes get hard when you stop watering. That way, their potting soil is nice and airy over the winter. Depending on their root system, increasing the diameter of the pot by 1/2-1” is enough once you remove the old soil from their roots. But, that depends on your plant… Not adding too much depth is more important because you don’t want damp soil below their roots which can lead to rotting… 

***WATER: I water my succulents on a regular basis during the summer but there are many times I get busy and they get neglected. Being on the front porch with a roof, they don’t get that much rain unless it blows on them. I usually give them a good soaking a few days before an “F” is in the forecast when I have to bring them inside for the winter. From mid-October through April I water my cactus and succulents very sparingly if at all. Normally, I “may” give the Aloe a little water once a month, but for most of them I don’t give water until December or January. Aloe store water in their leaves, so they can go for a long time without additional moisture. Better to be safe than sorry over the winter months… You can tell by their leaves if they need water. If they start to curl inwards along their margins then they are needing a little water. 

When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents. Always check for critters that may come home with the plants and keep an eye out during the winter months… 

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cactus and succulents.

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2 comments on “Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) (Climbing Aloe)

  1. Marty Thomas says:

    Do you have a suggestion about where to buy succulents online? Out-of-the-ordinary plants cannot be found in my city in Oregon. Glasshouse Works is where I have purchased plants in the past, but they are starter plants (but very vigorous and some unusual varieties). I appreciated your growing info and photos. (I tend to over-water.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Marty! I buy cactus and succulents from Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Ebay, and a couple of Facebook groups (Succulent Marketplace). There are also three local greenhouses I pick up plants from, one especially where I trade plants. There were some nice online sources but several have gone out of business. A fellow sent me a message and wanted me to help him promote his new online store… His grandfather and father are commercial growers and he started an online store. He sent me five plants and they were GREAT. Big and healthy plants. I have had no issues with mealybugs EVER until with a few of his plants this past winter. His online store name is Succulent Market. If you buy from him, you’ll want to keep an eye out for parasites over the winter. Maybe keep them isolated from other plants. The URL is: His name is Nicco Britsch. Tell him Lonnie sent you but don’t mention the parasite issue. I already told him. 🙂 I think right now they are having a 20% discount if you give them your email address. Of course, that is so you will be on their mailing list. 🙂

      The secret to cactus and succulents is NOT to water them over the winter. It depends somewhat on the species, but as a rule of thumb, keep them in a fairly well-lit location, coolish if possible, and barely EVER give them water during the winter. Take care and thanks for the comment!


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