Aloe

 In Category Cactus

Family: Aloeaceae
Habitat: Africa and neighboring areas (Madagascar and Arabian Peninsula)
Cultivation: They require a full sunny and well-ventilated environment with a minimum temperature of 5-8 ° C. Watering must be abundant but sporadic: between the first and the second, the soil must remain completely dry for a few days.
Curiosity: Aloe-based products (and in particular Aloe Vera varieties) have been experiencing a period of intense commercial exploitation for some years, which is only partially justified by the actual plant properties.

ALOE KEY FEATURES

Aloe is a perennial and shrubby plant . As we have already said talking about the  characteristics of the Agavi  it is different from them especially for the shape of the  younger leaves: in the aloe, from the beginning they open like a beam. In addition, while in the agave the blooming indicates the last stage of plant life, in the aloe it is part of the normal annual cycle of the plant (and once the flower grows, the plant continues to live and grow). It comes from Africa, especially from the central and southern areas. There are many varieties of all sizes (from 15 to 150 cm in height) and with different shapes and colors. It is a highly appreciated plant for very different reasons:

  • With its many shades of color and variety, it is extremely decorative.
  • Unlike what happens with the Agave, it blooms from May to June (according to the species) often with remarkable flowering and with bright colors such as red, orange, and yellow.
  • It is also well known for the emollient and purifying properties associated with Aloe gel (especially Aloe Vera variety) and its derivatives. The so-called “gel” is a very bitter aromatic juice and hardens in contact with air, insoluble with alcohol, naturally present in the parenchyma of the plant (the innermost part of the leaf).

Aloe is an autosterile plant: each individual possesses both male and female flowers, but in order to obtain fertile seeds it is necessary cross-fertilization between two different individuals.

VARIETIES AND TYPES

The Aloe genus has a very large variety of sizes (from 15 to 150 cm in height), colors (with many shades of green, uniform leaves or streaked or puffed with red, white, etc.), blooms, shapes. Many species are acacia (that is, without bark) and the leaves are born directly from the ground placed in rosette. Others, like Aloe Plicata, have a woody stem that can be simple or branched. The following are some of the existing varieties. Many, not even easy to find in stores, you can find them in our online succulent plant shop.

  • Aloe angelica
  • A. arborescens
  • A. aristata
  • A. aculeata
  • A. america
  • A. barberae
  • A. brevifolia
  • A. bracteosa
  • A. castanea
  • A. ciliaris
  • A. comosa
  • A. dinteri
  • A. distans
  • A. excelsa
  • A. ferox
  • A. glauca
  • A. humilis
  • A. khamiensis
  • A. longistyla
  • A. mitriformis
  • A. nobilis
  • A. perryi
  • A. pictifolia
  • A. pillansii
  • A. plicatilis
  • A. polyphylla
  • A. pratensis
  • A. ramosissima
  • A. saponaria
  • A. speciosa

TIPS FOR CULTIVATION

The Aloe flourishes in a warm climate and needs to be protected from harsh temperatures. These are our advices to cultivate it either outside and inside:

  • A position in full sun.
  • Ideal temperatures are around 20-24 ° C. The minimum tolerated temperature, however, is around 5-8 ° C above zero: with the end of the summer it is therefore advisable to move the plant and shelter it or repair it in small greenhouses or cover with suitable fabrics if it is in the ground. If the winter is stiff, protection may not be enough.
  • It is advisable to water the soil abundantly, thus allowing the plant to replenish its water supplies. Before the next watering, however, it is better to wait for a few days to dry the soil completely. In any case, it is important not to wet the leaves: the water stagnation inside them may cause the rotting of the plant. In winter, watering can be completely suspended.
  • Sandy and slightly acidic soils are ideal for aloe. Fertilization can be done once a month in the period from May to October.
  • The plants grow rapidly and will need to be repotted each year early in the spring. Wide and not deep vessels are recommended, having a poorly developed radical apparatus.

The various species of Aloe reproduce in two ways: by seed or by pollen. The suckers should be picked up late in the spring, leave a couple of days in the air to wipe the wound and get rid of excess fluid, then place in a soil to keep very moist until the plant roots.

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www.giromagi.com
Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com
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