Aloe is a perennial succulent plant with thick, wide and succulent leaves, the edges of which are framed with small spines. The root system is not particularly developed. Under natural growing conditions, its height reaches more than three meters, the lengthsheet more than fifty centimeters. Widely distributed in South and East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar. Due to its drought resistance, it grows even in the African and Indian semi-deserts. Although some sources consider the Canary Islands to be his homeland. In European countries, the cultivation of aloe occurs everywhere. It is bred as a medicinal houseplant. Today, aloe has more than four hundred species.
Breeding aloe is not difficult, since it can be propagated by almost all known methods. The soil for planting should not contain peat, which adversely affects the state of its root system. For the summer, you can plant the plant outdoors in a sunny place with protection from precipitation, which can cause root rot.
Since aloe blooms very rarely at room conditions, seed propagation is more often used in areas where it is bred in open ground. The most suitable time for planting is the beginning of March. Sowing is done in a mixture of soil and sand, to which a little charcoal is added in seedling boxes. Slightly grown shoots are planted in small individual pots. Already, one-year-old plants are planted at a permanent place of growth.
Propagation by cuttings is best suited for indoor conditions, and it can also be done throughout the year. But, the spring period is a more suitable time. The shoots are cut and divided into segments up to twelve centimeters. The sections are covered with charcoal, and the planting material is dried for several days. For further rooting use wet sand. After the formation of the root system, the seedlings are planted in pots with prepared soil from earth, sand and charcoal.
Shoots are formed at the base of the plant. They are cut, dried and planted in the same way as in the case of cuttings.
Aloe care at home
This is a very hardy and unpretentious plant, so caring for aloe is not difficult. It easily tolerates dry periods, but at room conditions is sensitive to water quality and, especially, to its temperature. It should be at least five degrees higher than the air temperature, and with active growth, about thirty-five degrees. Watering is usually moderate, without transfusions. In winter, it should be reduced to a minimum.
In the first six months of growth, seedlings do not need to be fertilized. Further top dressing is carried out with fertilizers, which feed cacti and succulents. The solution, made in accordance with the instructions, should not fall on the leaves of the plant.
Under natural conditions, aloe blooms profusely several times a year. Indoor plants bloom very rarely. The inflorescence looks like a beautiful spike or large panicle. The flowers are very showy and have a wide range of shades from white to bright red. Aloe, growing in modern homes, produces a small arrow with nondescript flowers.
Diseases and pests of aloe
Aloe is practically not affected by diseases and pests. Over watering can cause root rot or dry rot.
When root rot appears, plant growth stops, the stem dries out. The plant is removed from the soil, the damaged part of the root system is removed, and the rest is treated with fungicides and transplanted into the ground, to which a large amount of sand is added.
Signs of dry rot do not appear outwardly, the plant dries out from the inside. Since the disease is usually diagnosed late and has a very rapid course, the plants usually die. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly treat aloe with a fungicide solution for preventive purposes.
Types of aloe with photos and names
Aloe white-flowered (Aloe albiflora)
A bush of this type has no stem at all. The width of narrow leaf plates is about 5 centimeters, and their length is up to 25 centimeters, along the edge there are small white spikes. The color of the foliage is greenish-gray, and on its surface there are a large number of white dots. During flowering, a peduncle grows about 50 cm long, brushes are formed on it, consisting of white flowers. Such aloe can be easily propagated by basal rosettes.
Aloe fan (Aloe plicatilis)
This aloe is a bushy plant, the stem of which becomes woody over time. The height of a strongly branching bush can reach about 5 meters. The trunk is divided into small branches, while a leaf rosette is formed on each of them. Oppositely located leaf plates grow in 14-16 pieces, their shape is linear, and the top is rounded. The length of the grayish-green leaf plates is not more than 30 centimeters, and their width is up to 4 centimeters, as a rule, the edge is smooth. On the tops of long peduncles, brushes are formed, consisting of 25-30 red flowers. The length of the peduncle can reach up to half a meter. This species differs from the rest in that it needs more frequent watering. This plant is also called aloe umbrella (Aloe tripetala), or aloe tongue (Aloe lingua), or aloe tongue-shaped (Aloe linguaeformis).
The shoots of the bush are short. The green foliage collected in small rosettes has a lanceolate shape, most often there are white spots on its surface, and pale pink thorns are located on the edge. The length of the leaf plates can reach about half a meter. On a high peduncle, several brushes are formed, which consist of pale yellow flowers, reaching a length of about 30 mm. There are varieties whose flowers are painted red. This species is also called Aloe Lanza (Floe lanzae), or Barbados Aloe (Aloe barbadensis), or Indian Aloe (Aloe indica).
This herbaceous plant has a very short stem. The foliage growing from the root is collected in a rosette, its length is only about 40 mm, and its shape is elongated triangular. On the surface of slightly corrugated pale or dark green leaf plates there are many dots of white. The tubular orange flowers are about 10 mm long. They are collected in a brush, which is formed in the upper part of a thirty-centimeter peduncle growing from a flower outlet. The species can be quickly propagated by basal young rosettes.
Aloe Jackson (Aloe jacksonii)
This bushy perennial plant has a rather short stem (about 30 centimeters high). The length of narrow leaf plates is up to 10 centimeters, they have small spikes along the edge, and 1 longer spike grows in the upper part. Both surfaces of the greenish foliage have a waxy coating and whitish spots. During flowering, a peduncle 20 centimeters long is formed, on which a brush grows, consisting of reddish tubular flowers.
In nature, this species is a tree-like evergreen perennial plant, whose height is about 8 meters. On both surfaces of the bluish-green leaf plates there is a wax coating, their length is about 40 centimeters, and their width is up to 6 centimeters, small spikes are located along the edge. The brushes formed during flowering consist of tubular yellow flowers. On one peduncle, from 1 to 3 inflorescences can grow.
Aloe tree (Aloe arborescens)
This species, widely cultivated indoors, is also called “agave”. The height of a tree or bush can reach three meters. Gradually, the shoots from below are exposed, and in the upper part they are strongly branched. The apical rosette dense fleshy leaf plates are xiphoid in length, and concave in width. Their color is grayish-green, about half a meter long, and about 60 mm wide. Spikes are located along the edge of the plate, reaching a length of 0.3 cm. The species blooms in May–June, however, when grown at home, flowers on a bush can rarely be seen. On a high peduncle, brushes are formed, consisting of pink, red or yellow flowers.
The species is a low perennial herbaceous plant. Curved narrow glossy leaf plates have a green color and a lanceolate shape, their width is up to 50 mm, and their length is about 50 cm, the edge is finely serrated. During flowering, a high peduncle is formed, on which brushes grow, consisting of orange, red and yellow tubular flowers, the length of which is not more than 50 mm.
Aloe cap-shaped (Aloe mitriformis)
The stem of this herbaceous perennial plant is short. The leaf plates growing from the roots are assembled into a rosette and have a rounded-triangular shape, their length is about 20 centimeters, and their width is not more than 15 centimeters. The color of the foliage can be anything from bluish-gray to green; many small spikes grow on its wrong side, as well as on the edge. A tall peduncle grows from a leaf rosette, in the upper part of which a racemose inflorescence is formed, consisting of tubular flowers of deep red or just red color. At home, it blooms very rarely.
Aloe short-leaved (Aloe brevifolia)
This herbaceous perennial plant has foliage collected in rosettes. Their shape can vary from triangular to lanceolate, they reach about 11 centimeters in length, and up to 4 centimeters in width. White teeth are located on the outer surface of the plate and on its edge. The color of the foliage is bluish-green. Tubular red flowers are collected in a brush, which is formed at the top of a tall peduncle.
Aloe pretty (Aloe bellatula)
The birthplace of such a stemless herbaceous plant is Madagascar. The rosette foliage growing from the root reaches only about 15 centimeters in length, and about 1 centimeter in width. There are many white spots and bumps on the surface of the dark green plate, and small spikes on the edge. Bell-shaped flowers are painted in coral color.
Aloe Marlota (Aloe marlothii)
The height of this shrub is about three meters. Fleshy lanceolate leaf plates are collected in a basal rosette, there is a wax coating on both surfaces. They are painted in a grayish-green color, their length is up to one and a half meters, and their width is up to 30 centimeters. Both surfaces of the plate, as well as its edge, are covered with a large number of small pale red spikes. The tubular flowers are collected in brushes, most often they are painted in an orange-red hue.
Aloe soap (Aloe saponaria)
Or soapy aloe, or spotted aloe (Aloe maculata). The bush has a branching stem and, as a rule, several leaf rosettes are formed in it. The length of the flat-curved green leaf plates is about 0.6 meters, and their width is up to 6 centimeters, there are many white spots on both surfaces, and five-millimeter spikes are located along the edge. Small racemes consist of yellow flowers, which sometimes have a reddish tinge.
Aloe spinous (Aloe aristata)
Such a bushy plant has short stems. Triangular green foliage is part of the rosette, it is decorated with whitish tubercles, and small spikes are located along the edge. A long thread grows at the top of a slightly curved plate. On a high peduncle, several brushes are formed, consisting of 20–30 orange-red flowers, the shape of which is tubular.
In such a shrub, creeping stems reach a length of about 3 meters. The length of the pointed-ovoid grayish-green leaf plates is about 10 centimeters, at the base they reach a width of up to 6 centimeters. There are small white spikes along the edge and in the middle of the leaf plate. When the bush blooms, it is decorated with brushes consisting of tubular yellow flowers.
Aloe striped (Aloe striata), or aloe gray
The birthplace of such a stemless perennial plant is South Africa. Fleshy dense leaf plates collected in a basal rosette have a grayish-green color, their width is up to 15 centimeters, and their length is about half a meter. The smooth edge of the plate is painted red. As a rule, several brushes are formed on a high peduncle, consisting of small reddish flowers. The species blooms in the second half of spring.
Aloe tiger (Aloe variegata)
Or variegated aloe, or ausana aloe (Aloe ausana), or punctate aloe (Aloe punctata). The height of such a stemless shrub is about 30 centimeters. The elongated foliage is collected in basal rosettes, its width is up to 6 centimeters, and its length is about 15 centimeters. Dark green leaf plates are decorated with a white pattern consisting of dots and stripes. On the tops of tall peduncles, raceme-shaped inflorescences grow, which consist of flowers of red, pink or yellow hue.
Aloe terrible (Aloe ferox)
Under natural conditions, the height of a bush with a straight stem reaches about three meters. In the upper part of the aloe, a leaf rosette is formed, consisting of leaf plates about half a meter long and up to 15 centimeters wide. Greenish foliage under certain conditions acquires a pale red hue. Teeth growing along the edge are sometimes also formed on the surface of the leaf plate. From the middle of the leaf rosette grows a raceme-shaped inflorescence, the height of which is about half a meter, it consists of flowers of a rich orange-red hue.