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Aloe ballyi (Rat Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Aloe ballyi Reynolds

Common Names

Rat Aloe

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Aloe

Origin

Native to Kenya and Tanzania.

Description

Aloe ballyi is a rare succulent that forms a slender, unbranched stem topped with a crown of long leaves. The stem can grow up to 20 feet (6 m) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Leaves are grey-green with white marginal teeth, up to 3 feet (90 cm) long and up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide. They are mostly straight on young plants, becoming recurved towards the tips with ages. Brocken leaves give off a smell reminiscent of rats when broken. Flowers are tubular, carmine to reddish-orange, and appear on an up to 2 feet (60 cm) long, branched inflorescences.

The specific epithet "ballyi" honors Peter René Oscar Bally (1895-1980), a Swiss botanical illustrator, taxonomist, and plant collector.

Photo by Mike Musgrave

How to Grow and Care for Aloe ballyi

Light: When growing Aloes indoors, place your plants near a southern or southwest-facing window that gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Soil: Plant Aloes in a well-drained soil specially formulated for cacti and other succulents or make your soil mix. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.

Hardiness: Aloe ballyi can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.

Watering: These succulents do need regular watering but are very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry. Cut back on watering during the winter months.

Fertilizing: Aloes generally do not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients.

Repotting: These plants are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot them in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.

Propagation: Propagating Aloe can be done by using the offsets, cuttings, or seeds from a mature plant.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Toxicity of Aloe ballyi

Aloe ballyi is one of the few poisonous Aloes.

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