Aloe petricola


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Aloe petricola is native from South Africa, and it’s not really widespread. It can be found only around Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, from Sabie to Barberton, westwards to Schoemanskloof and eastwards to Krokodilpoort and Pretoriuskop, although, in its natural habitat, there is a large number of individuals. This species is not threatened and its population is stable. Its natural habitat are sandstone slopes and granite outcrops (that’s the reason of the name Aloe petricola, which means “rocky aloe”. This species lives in altitudes between 500 to 1000 meters upon sea level, but also between 1500 to 3000 meters.


Aloe petricola is a stemless aloe, or a really short-stemmed aloe, which can grow until 40-90 centimeters. Its leaves are arranged in a single rosette. The leaves are long, narrow-tipped, curved inwards, greyish green, with spines on both surfaces, and their margin is also provided with teeth. The top of the leaves can assume a reddish colour. In winter the inflorescence appears: it is a long stem bearing a ear-like raceme, or cluster, with numerous bicoloured flowers. Indeed, during the moment of budding, flowers are yellow, while after, during flowering, they become red-orange. Flowers open from the bottom to the top. In young plant there is just one inflorescence, while in older ones the inflorescence are 4-6. In Northern hemisphere, the blossoming season goes from December to February, while in its natural environment this plant blossoms between July and August.


Aloe petricola requires a well-drained acid soil, composed of one third of sand or pebbles, to prevent roots rotting. Actually, Aloe petricola is more tolerant to different types of soils than other Aloes. It can grow also in clay soils, slightly basic. Pay attention not to wet the leaves while watering, because they are also sensitive to rotting. Watering can be almost completely suspended in winter and, in spring and summer, you can water once or twice every two weeks, abundantly. Before each watering, it’s better to wait until the soil is completely dry. Aloe petricola needs to be exposed to bright light. Aloe petricola can survive to temperatures around 0ºC, but, to avoid damages, it’s better to protect it or putting it indoors in winter.


Aloe petricola can be propagated by seeds, sowing them as more fresh as possible in a river sand substrate. They will germinate, if maintained moist, after two weeks.


Aloe petricola, in addition to the usual Aloes’ sap use to heal wounds and burns, is also used to treat stomach problems.

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