Aloe speciosa Baker
Aloe speciosa is a tall, generally single-stemmed succulent that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) and carries its massive rosette of leaves at a tilt off to one side. Leaves are bluish-green with a pinkish tinge at their tips and margins. They are up to 36 inches (90 cm) long and have tiny soft teeth along the margins. The older leaves form a dry skirt lying downwards along the stem. Inflorescences are stout, tight, cone-like, 1 foot (30 cm) long, and rise and branch close to the crown of the rosette in In mid-winter. Flower buds are red and open a greenish-white with dark reddish-brown to orange protruding stamens, giving a tricolor look to the inflorescences.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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. Prefers warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 ºF/ (21 to 27 ºC) but will survive down to 40 ºF (4.5 ºC). A well-drained potting mix is essential; use a cactus or succulent mix. Feed with a cactus fertilizer in the summer only. Suspend feeding in the winter as the plant goes dormant.
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.
During the repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to divide the root ball carefully. 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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