A. malherbei is native to South Africa, where it grows on shaly slopes, often in rocks fissures, at altitudes between 800 and 1200 meters above the sea level.
A. malherbei is dwarf, perennial succulent, very appreciated among succulent lovers for its small size, that makes it very decorative and perfect for a little pot in a bedroom or an office, and the odd shape of its leaves, looking like fans with the apical edges irregular. This kind of leaves, in botany, are called serrated: their edges look like the blade of a handsaw. A. malherbei, in general, forms a thick rootstock that forms a few branching rosettes which reach 5 centimeters in height. Leaves are pale green, not very big (24 millimeters long), and equipped with many little, slightly prominent bumps on their lower part. These peculiar warts can remind the ones of some Titannopsis species. Flowers grow on a 27 millimeters long stalk; they are solitary and very wide, if compared with the size of the rosettes: 20 millimeters in diameter! The flower stalk sprouts in the central part of the rosettes and it is brownish green and succulent. Their blooming season goes from mid-Winter to early Spring and the flowers look like daisies, with numerous, lanceolated, long petals and a prominent, pale yellow central part. From the flowers, some fruits called capsules are formed: they host numerous, 2 millimeters, dark brown seeds.
Aloinopsis malherbei is not difficult to grow and, if you live in warm climate areas with dry winters, you might consider to place it in a rocky garden. Here below are our cultivation tips:
Aloinopsis malherbei needs plenty of light. However, avoid a direct exposure to sunlight during the hottest hours of the day. The ideal spot should have light during the morning or late afternoon.
Aloinopsis are resistant plants: it can survive to temperatures until -4ºC, if their substrate is maintained completely dry. We advice anyway to put it indoors when the temperature falls below 0ºC.
This plant, in theory, should be a Winter grower, but its native climate is so dry that it will behave in an opportunistic grower; that is to say that it will show vegetative growth anytime it is watered. Water every week during the Summer and every two-three weeks during the other seasons. In Winter, grow only when you see that the soil is completely dry. If you are growing your Aloinopsis malherbei outdoors, pay attention to prolonged rains during the winter, that can damage the tubers of the plant.
Use a well-drained substrate: a cactus mix is the better option. Add some manure to the substrate once a month during Spring and Summer.
Aloinopsis malherbei is a dwarf plant and will stay cool in the same pot for years without repotting. You could repot, for example, once every two years, or either anytime you see that the plant is outgrowing its pot.
Propagation can be carried out using seeds or cuttings. The sowing period is in the end of Winter and in Spring. Cuttings can be taken off from the new rosettes came out from the bulbs.
The word Aloinopsis means “similar to Aloe”: that’s because of its similarity to some dwarf Aloe species, although the two genera don’t even belong to the same species.
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