Aloe capitata Baker
Aloe capitata var. capitata, Aloe cernua
This species is native to Madagascar. It occurs only in the mountains of former provinces Antsiranana, Antananarivo, and Fianarantsoa.
Aloe capitata is an attractive succulent that forms a stemless or short-stemmed, usually solitary rosette of gray-green to blue-green leaves with sharp teeth along the margins. The thick fleshy leaves are lanceolate, up to 28 inches (70 cm) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide. They take on pink to deep maroon hues when exposed to bright light. The inflorescence is up to 32 inches (80 cm) tall and has 2 to 4 branches with 30 or more yellow to orange-yellow flowers densely arranged in terminal clusters. Flowers are bell-shaped, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, up to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) in diameter, and appear in late fall and winter. Fruits are cylindrical, about 0.3 inches (0.7 cm) long capsules with black seeds.
How to Grow and Care for Aloe capitata
Light: When growing A. capitata indoors, place your plant near a window that gets plenty of bright indirect light. Rotate the pot once or twice a week so that all sides of the plant receive equal lighting. Outdoors provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
Soil: Plant A. capitata in a well-drained soil mix formulated for succulents or make your own. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.
Temperature: This succulent grows at its best at temperatures between 50 to 85 °F (10 to 30 °C). When temperatures shift below 50 °F (10 °C), it is time to bring your plant back inside. A. capitata can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: This succulent does need regular watering but is 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. Do not let water stand in the rosettes.
Fertilizing: A. capitata generally does not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients. Feed with a fertilizer for succulents in spring and summer only. Be sure to follow the label directions.
Repotting: This plant is not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot it in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.
Propagation: Since it rarely produces offsets, A. capitata is usually propagated by seed. For best results, sow seeds during the warm months.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.
Toxicity of Aloe capitata
A. capitata is not listed as toxic for people and pets.
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