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 succulent plant with an erect stem and fleshy, lance-shaped leaves densely crowded in an apical rosette. It usually grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, with older leaves skirting the trunk. Leaves are up to 2 feet (60 cm) long, grayish-blue-green with prominent red, sharp teeth along the margins and in a row running along the middle of the lower surface. 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. The flowers are orange in the bud and turn yellow just before opening from the bottom of the spike upwards. They are held in a downward inclination but uniquely turn upwards towards the tips, making identifying 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, Aloe must never be 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. In the spring, repot Aloes that are tipping over their pots or have ceased growing. Use a fast-draining potting mix with one-third sand or pebbles. During the repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to divide the root ball carefully. 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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