Aloe africana Mill.
African Aloe, Spiny Aloe, Uitenhage Aloe
Aloe angustifolia, Aloe bolusii, Aloe perfoliata var. africana, Aloe pseudoafricana, Pachidendron africanum, Pachidendron angustifolium
Aloe africana is a solitary, often unbranched, tree-like Aloe, usually up to 6 feet (1.8 m), but sometimes taller, with rosettes densely crowded with gracefully arching up to 2 feet (60 cm) long, thick, lance-shaped, grayish-blue-green leaves that have prominent red, sharp teeth along the margins and in a row running along the middle of the lower surface with older leaves skirting the trunk. Flowering can happen at other times but most often in mid-winter to early spring, with an unbranched to few-branched, up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall inflorescence of erect, long-tapering, terminal spikes of flowers. They are are orange in bud and turn yellow just prior to opening from the bottom of the spike upwards. The individual flowers are held in a downward inclination but uniquely turn upwards towards the tips, making identification of this species quite easy.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aloe is a very forgiving plant, and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it is essential that Aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering.
These succulents are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot Aloes in the spring that are tipping over their pots or have ceased growing. Use a fast-draining potting mix with one-third sand or pebbles. During repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to carefully divide the root ball. Some varieties of Aloe will send off offsets that can be potted independently.
Aloe plants need strong, bright light. They can withstand full summer sun, once acclimated. In the winter, provide bright light. It prefers warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C), but will survive down to 40 °F (4.5 °C). Feed with a succulent fertilizer in the summer only. Suspend feeding in the winter as the plant goes dormant.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.
Aloe africana is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape).
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