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Kumara plicatilis (Fan Aloe)

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Scientific Name

Kumara plicatilis (L.) G.D.Rowley

Common Names

Fan Aloe

Synonyms

Aloe disticha var. plicatilis, Aloe flabelliformis, Aloe lingua, Aloe linguiformis, Aloe plicatilis, Aloe tripetala, Kumara disticha, Rhipidodendrum plicatile, Rhipidodendrum distichum

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Kumara plicatilis, formerly known as Aloe plicatilis, is a much-branched succulent shrub or small tree with grey stems forked with clusters of leaves arranged in 2 opposite rows. It grows up to 16 feet (4.9 m) tall. Leaves are fleshy, grey-green to blue-gray, tongue-shaped, round-tipped, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. The leaf tips often display orange shades. In winter to spring, out of each leaf cluster rises unbranched inflorescence and bears an open terminal cluster of orange-red, tubular flowers. Individual flowers are up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Kumara plicatilis (Fan Aloe) aka Aloe plicatilis

Photo via sandiegohomegarden.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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. A well-drained potting mix is essential. Use a cactus or succulent mix. During the repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to divide the root ball carefully. Some varieties of Aloe will send off offsets that can be potted independently.

Aloe plants need strong, bright light. They can withstand full summer sun once acclimated. In the winter, provide bright light. These plants prefer warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C) but will survive down to 40 °F (4.5 °C). Feed with a fertilizer for cacti and other succulents in spring and summer only.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Origin

Kumara plicatilis is endemic to a few mountains in the Fynbos ecoregion of the Western Cape in South Africa.

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