Aloe melanachanta

Synonyms:

No synonyms are recorded for this name.

Habitat:

Aloe melanachanta is native from South Africa, specifically it’s widespread in Northern and Western Cape province, in rocky slopes of hills with little soil, in succulent Karoo with winter rainfall.

Description:

Aloe melanachanta is a small plant, reaching generally a maximum height of 20-30 centimeters. It forms rosettes of yellowish-green leaves, 10-20 centimeters long and 2-4 centimeters wide. Both leaves surfaces have black or white prickles, and their margins are provided with white or black teeth. The inflorescence, generally solitary, develops upon an elongated stem. It’s a raceme of yellowish tubular flowers, 3-4 centimeters long.

Cultivation:

Aloe melanachanta 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 melanachanta needs bright light, especially in winter. It can survive temperatures close to 0ºC, but, being a small plant, keeping it in a pot indoors will prevent it from damages. If you want to cultivate it outdoors, put it under full exposure to sunlight and provide it with protections from cold in winters.

Propagation:

The easiest way to propagate Aloes is to take off one of its many offsets, produced in spring, and put it to root in a river sand substrate.

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. 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.

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