Aloe alooides

Aloe alooides is a large succulent native to South Africa with a solitary arborescent rosette. It can reach up to 13 feet tall and has a stout stem covered with old dried persistent leaf remains, topped with a dense rosette of olive-green to sometimes slightly reddish leaves. The leaves are lanceolate, deeply channeled, and up to 4 feet long. They are armed with brownish-tipped red teeth and have a distinct reddish edge. In winter, the plant produces lemon-yellow flowers on 3-5 inflorescences, which can be up to 5 feet tall.

Aloe alooides grows in shallow soil on dolomite outcrops in a limited area of the Mpumalanga escarpment. Like most Aloes, this plant should be planted in a well-drained soil mix formulated for succulents, as drainage is essential to avoid root rot. It grows best at temperatures between 50 to 85 °F (10 to 30 °C) and can withstand temperatures as low as 25 °F (-3.9 °C).

Aloe alooides does need regular watering but is very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry, and cut back on watering during the winter months. Aloe alooides generally does not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients. Repotting is rarely necessary, but when it is, do so in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.

Propagation of Aloe alooides is possible only from seeds. For best results, sow seeds during the warm months. Aloe alooides is a great addition to any garden due to its pleasant lime green color and spectacular upright flower spikes, which are loved by birds and bees.

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