Aloe speciosa Baker
Aloe speciosa is a generally single-stemmed, tall succulent growing up to 10 feet (3 m) that carries its massive rosettes of leaves at a tilt off to one side. The slender, up to 36 inch (90 cm) long, bluish-green leaves have a pinkish tinge at their tips and leaf margins, which also have tiny soft teeth and the older leaves form a dry skirt lying downwards along the stem. In mid-winter appear the stout, tight, 1 foot (30 cm) long, cone-like inflorescenes that rise and branch close to the crown of the rosette. The flower buds are red and open a greenish-white with dark reddish brown to orange protruding stamens, giving a definite tricolor look to the inflorescence.
How to Grow and Care
Aloe is a very forgiving plant, and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it's essential that Aloe is never allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering. Prefers warmer temperatures of 70ºF/21ºC to 80ºF/27ºC, but will survive down to 40ºF/4.5ºC. A well-drained potting mix is essential; use a cacti or succulent mix. Feed with a cactus fertilizer in the summer only. Suspend feeding in the winter as the plant goes dormant.
Aloe 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.
During repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to carefully divide the root ball. Some kinds of aloe will send off off-sets that can be potted independently… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Aloe.
Native to South Africa (Cape Provinces).
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