Aloe marlothii

 In Aloe


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Aloe marlothii is native from South Africa, and it’s widespread from the North-West Province, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumulanga, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal north of Durban, from sea level to 1 600 m. It is found in bushveld ecoregion. It grows on slopes, mountains, in rocky, sandy-soiled areas. It is not theatened of extinction.


Aloe marlothii is a perennial plant, reaching 2-4 meter of height. It has one stem, on the top of which it develops a rosette of green-grey-blue leaves, 1,5 meter long and 30 centimeters wide. While the plant grows, the basal leaves dry up but don’t detach from the stem and remain on the plant. Leaves are covered of spines on both surfaces, and their margins are provided with reddish teeth. The inflorescence looks like a candelabra, being composed of many stems (up to 30!) bearing a raceme each. The raceme is very dense, resembling an ear. Flowers are tubular, orange red but also, sometimes, yellowish. Blossoming time occurs between May and September.


Aloe marlothii requires a well-drained soil, composed of one third of sand or pebbles, to prevent roots rotting. Also leaf rotting can occur, if you wet too much the leaves while watering and you water too much frequently. Watering can be almost completely suspended in winter (once a month it’s sufficient) and, in spring and summer, watering once or twice every two weeks is sufficient. Before each watering, it’s better to wait until the soil is completely dry. Aloe “Viper” needs bright light, especially in winter. It can survive temperatures close to 0ºC: Aloe marlothii has a remarkable frost tolerance, but, in winter, to prevent damages, it’ better to protect it. Aloe marlothii is a big plant and, in its natural environment it’s better to cultivate it outdoors, but if you live in the Northern hemisphere, you can also grow it in a pot, indoors.


Aloe marlothii can be grown from seeds relatively easily: you can sow them in river sand, cover them lightly, and then keep them moist until they germinate.


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