Aloe arachnoides var. pumila
H. pumila is native to Cape Provinces where the plant grows in winter rainfall areas.
H. pumila is one of the largest succulents of its kind and belongs to the Asphodelaceae botanical family. The plant can reach up to 15 cm in diameter and 25 cm in height. The succulent is stemless and forms a rosette of leaves. The leaves are long, triangular-ovate, dark green in color, covered with white round tubercles. Blooming occurs from late spring to early summer. The inflorescence is 40 cm tall. The flowers are tubular, greenish to brownish-white in colour and waxy in texture. The seeds ripen in autumn. The plants live for about 30 to 40 years if they are cultivated properly.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 5°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The name of this genus is a tribute to the botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth. The specific epithet “pumila” derives from the Latin word “pumilus”, meaning “dwarf” and refers to the original description as Aloe pumila. It is one of the largest of the genus Haworthia, but it is small for an Aloe.
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