Aloe humilis variegata
No Synonyms are recorded for this species name
Aloe humilis variegata is an Aloe hybrid obtained from the species Aloe humilis. Aloe humilis is an endemism of Cape province of South Africa, specifically in Northern, Eastern and Western Cape province. It grows on clay soils, in the flat ecoregion called “veld”, which is present in Cape province.
Aloe humilis is a low-growing, stemless plant, 15 centimeters tall. As in Aloe humilis, leaves are sharp, with many prickles on both sides and toothed margins, grouped in a rosette. The main difference between Aloe humilis and Aloe humilis variegata is in the colour of the leaves: the leaves of this hybrid pale reddish-pinkish, forming beautiful tinges of red: that feature and its small size makes Aloe humilis variegata really interesting for an ornamental purpose, especially indoors, in tiny pots. In their natural environment, this plants form clumps. The inflorescence is similar to the one of Aloe humilis: it is bigger than the whole plant: it can reach an height of 45 centimeters. It’s a raceme, the botanical term to say “cluster”, of pale orange-pinkish tubular flowers, 4-5 centimeters long.
The cultivation of Aloe humilis variegata works more or less like for the other Aloes. You should put it in a well-drained soil, composed of at least one third of sand or pebbles, to prevent root rotting. Water it not so often: in summer and spring (growth season), more or less once or twice every two weeks. Before each watering, wait until the soil it’s completely dry. In winter, watering can be almost completely suspended or applied once a month. Repotting is not so frequent because Aloes grow slowly. Aloes can tolerate temperatures close to 0ºC during short periods, but it’s better to keep them indoors in winters, especially if you have particularly cold winters, to prevent damages. They need bright light.
The easiest way to propagate Aloes is to take off one of its many offset produced in spring and to put it to root in a river sand substrate.
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. Morover, Aloe species are frequently cultivated as ornamental plants both in gardens and in pots because they are highly decorative and are valued by collectors of succulents.