Aloe speciosa Baker
Beautiful Aloe, Tilt-head Aloe
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs on Steep slopes in succulent thickets from Montagu and Swellendam in Western Cape to near the Kei River in the Eastern Cape province.
Aloe speciosa is a succulent tree with a simple or branched stem with dense rosettes at the ends and covered below with persistent dry leaves. It grows up to 13.1 feet (4 m) tall. Rosettes are usually tilted sideways. Leaves are glaucous green with a bluish to reddish tinge, with narrow, deep to pale pink margins with small, pale red teeth. They are thick, fleshy, erect to spreading, up to 32 inches (80 cm) long and 3.6 inches (9 cm) wide, slightly channeled, and gradually narrowing to the apex.
Flowers are 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long, red in bud, greenish-white at maturity, and appear in erect, very densely flowered, broadly cylindric racemes on up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall peduncles in early spring. The racemes are up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and 4.8 inches (12 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Aloes are very forgiving plants, and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. However, as with all succulents, they must never be allowed to sit in stagnant water, and the plants should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering. These succulents prefer 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.
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