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Aloe maculata (Soap Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Aloe maculata All.

Common Names

Soap Aloe, Zebra Aloe

Synonyms

Aloe saponaria, Aloe saponaria var. saponaria, Aloe commutata var. bicolor, Aloe picta subsp. major

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Aloe maculata is a succulent that forms rosettes of broad, triangular leaves. The rosettes grow up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall and up to 24 inches (60 cm) in diameter. It is a very variable species, but its flat-topped inflorescences and usually uniformly colored flowers distinguish it from most other spotted Aloes. Leaves are variable in length and shape and mostly recurved towards the dried twisted tips. The inflorescence can have up to 6 branches. The stalks of the open flowers are longer than those of the buds. Flower color ranges from yellow and red to orange. Flowering time is variable, and various forms may flower in summer, winter, or spring.

This species is a part of the Saponariae series, together with Aloe davyana, Aloe greatheadii, Aloe petrophila, and Aloe umfoloziensis.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °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 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 sunlight 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.

Origin

Aloe maculata is native to southern Africa, from Zimbabwe in the north to the Cape Peninsula in the south. Specifically, it is native to southern and eastern South Africa, south-eastern Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

Cultivars and Hybrids

Links

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