Aloe bellatula Reynolds
Aloe bellatula is a small succulent that forms a dense clump of stemless rosettes of narrow leaves with the upper side slightly grooved. Although both surfaces of the leaves are covered with rough papillae, they are very flexible. The leaves take on a bronze hue in intense sunlight and can grow up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide. The tiny pale teeth along the leaf margins make them feel rough rather than sharp.
The bell-shaped flowers are bright coral red with paler tips and appear in usually unbranched inflorescences with racemes that bear up to 30 flowers. The inflorescences can reach a height of 24 inches (60 cm).
Aloe bellatula is native to Madagascar. It grows on granite outcrops of mountain slopes near Fianarantsoa in the Itremo Mountains at an elevation of about 4,920 feet (1,500 m).
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aloes are very forgiving plants. However, 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.
Aloes are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot plants 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. When repotting a larger plant, dividing the root ball carefully is possible. Some kinds of Aloe will send off off-sets that can be potted independently.
It needs an intense, 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 cactus fertilizer in the summer only. Suspend feeding in the winter as the plant goes dormant.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.
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