Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Aloe variegata


Aloe variegata is a stemless Aloe from Namibia. It is sometimes confused with Gasteria, another succulent genus with similar leathery, speckled leaves. The leaves are canoe shaped and the margins have numerous tiny tooth-like spines that are relatively soft.

This plant, known as Partridge Breast Aloe or Tiger Aloe because of the leaf markings, does well in pots, and makes a good houseplant. It grows to about one foot tall, and in late winter or early spring, it will send up a 12-inch stalk that will carry salmon or coral colored flowers. Easily propagated by offsets, I have about six of these in various stages of growth.

It is drought resistant, and in Phoenix, needs light shade in summer. Its growth period is in spring and fall, and it is winter dormant like most Aloes, so I’m withholding water until mid-February. The word Aloe means “never die” which originated because the plant seems to live without water. As with so many plants that do well in our climate, the quickest way to kill it is to over water.

Many folks believe that all Aloe species have medicinal value. That is not true. All parts of the A. variegata are poisonous.

4 comments:

mr_subjunctive said...

I wish someone would tell mine about this "growth period" business. My variegata's doing fine, but it doesn't seem to be in any big hurry to do anything.

No Rain said...

mr_subjunctive,

Deciding on water is a function of whether the plant is from a summer or winter rainfall area. Since most Aloes originate from the African regions where rainfall periods are different than ours, growing seasons may be reversed. Watering all year doesn't bother some Aloes, others are very sensitive to water at the wrong time. If yours does well, then don't change anything. I personally think the key is to never over water, whether or not growth or dormancy periods are observed.

Julie said...

I have a personal preference for other types of succulents and cactus, over Aloe. I don't know why...I am just not fond of the way they stick out everywhere!!! LOL...I'm strange, I know! I do have 1 Aloe though. Yours looks lovely.

No Rain said...

Julie,
I have other preferences too. I have Aloes because...well, I don't know. I'm trying to get all my Aloes out of the way, so after this week, I won't have to write about them--unless one starts performing tricks or something.