Aloe arborescens. Better even than Aloe vera

At Gardenprue we are addicted to xerojarineries. We love succulents and cacti so today we have to talk about a really interesting ornamental Aloe. The Aloe arborescens . Its care is really simple.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ALOE ARBORESCENS

The Aloe genus is quite broad although we only know one or two species, but currently it has 558 accepted species nothing more and nothing less. The Aloe arborescens is native to southern Africa and from there has adapted to many habitats. Today, its approximate distribution according to GBIF.org data is as follows:

As you can guess, coming from the Aloe genus , it is a plant very similar to the well-known Aloe vera . In this blog we have also talked about Aloe ferox and its ornamental potential. In this case we are talking about a plant with fleshy leaves but thinner and thinner than the other Aloes.

However, it is a plant that can grow quite a lot despite being a good option for indoors. They can reach up to a meter and a half with widths of almost half a meter if we provide adequate space and climate. Usually as indoor plants they are more restrained and that is why they are so appreciated.

Its leaves are somewhat less wide in proportion to their length compared to Aloe vera and are green, yellowish-green and can even reach bluish-green, depending on the conditions of exposure, soil, irrigation as well as its stage (young or old leaves ).

Its flowering, as it happened with Aloe ferox, is very intense, with a large volume flowering and an intense red color.

Flower detail. Photo by Stephen Michael Barnett

CARE OF THE ALOE ARBORESCENS

As usual, we will tell you the particular tips of this beautiful succulent so that you can get the most of the ornamental game.

TEMPERATURE AND EXPOSURE

Like all plants of the genus they need good and direct sun exposure . We must not fear the direct sun. They like it and it is not necessary to sift the light.

They are succulent and as such, they need heat, high temperatures. Any frost, no matter how minimal, will damage the plant without remedy. The minimum temperature from which the plant suffers is 5ºC, although it is not recommended to drop below 10ºC . That is why the interior of a house is conducive.

Knowing this, you will know when you can take it outside and when you should protect it indoors.

IRRIGATION AND AMBIENT HUMIDITY

Just as other plants need high ambient humidity, in the case of Aloe arborescens it does not. A typical dry winter environment with the heaters on is not harmful at all.

Water needs. It is not a cactus although it is not a fern either. Let’s not go to extremes. We will let the substrate dry between waterings . This means a light weekly watering during the summer months, decreasing the frequency as winter approaches until watering between 1 and 2 times a month at most.

It is relatively tolerant to drought, so it will be more conducive to sin by default than by excess in irrigation.

SOIL AND FERTILIZER

The Aloe arborescens requires a draining substrate. The accumulations of water in the substrate cause root asphyxia. Therefore, a typical well- draining cactus substrate will be ideal.

In this case we can mix 1/3 of perlite + 1/3 of sand + 1/3 of nourished substrate. A little gravel at the base of the pot to ensure it doesn’t sink down and drain well will suffice.

Like many cacti and succulents, they do not need large pots to grow, especially at first. When it grows, transplant is useful to expand its root horizons. We will also be able to improve the vigor and it will grow more. Both in height and in size.

conventional liquid fertilizer for indoor plants can be added during the spring and summer with a maximum periodicity of 2 weeks.

Aloe arborescens in its habitat. Photo by Ton Rulkens

PROPAGATION OF ALOE ARBORESCENS

Like all aloes, they end up generating children of the mother plant near the base and it is the best form of propagation. This usually happens in spring. We separate the children from the mother, allowing the cut to dry and heal before transplanting.

As always, it is advisable to cut any cut with the blade of the knife disinfected with alcohol and with the flame to avoid transmission of diseases to the plant.

It is not convenient to “pluck” the mother’s children until they have the particular rosette shape of an Aloe.

Like any Aloe we can also transplant by cutting by cutting a leaf. We must also dry the cutting before planting for at least 2 or 3 days.

For the transplant substrate, the same applies as we have mentioned in the corresponding section.

Do not water too much at the beginning of the transplant. The frequencies should be the same or somewhat lower to avoid incurring root rot.

PLAGUES AND DISEASES

The Aloe arborescens can easily be attacked by cochineal and especially fungal diseases. Mealybug is more or less easy to control if caught early. Simply by removing it sheet by sheet.

The blackish spots on the leaves are usually indicative of fungi. In this case, it is usually due to excessive humidity, either in the substrate or in the environment. Move the plant to a drier, sunnier place and lower the frequency of watering.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF ALOE ARBORESCENS

As with Aloe vera, it has properties very similar to this. So why has the other one become more famous? Simple: the amount of gel generated by the leaf in Aloe vera is much higher and therefore its cosmetic use at an industrial level is better. For the purposes of a home, we do not care one than the other.

USES OF ALOE ARBORESCENS

Many of us know the properties of Aloe vera and those of this Aloe are very similar. We are going to list some unique characteristics and certain uses as a traditional medicinal plant:

  • It is considered one of the main treatments at the moment for burns, scratches or superficial damage to the skin.
The A. arborescens gel contains much higher concentrations of the primary compounds that give Aloes their properties. Less is known because the amount of gel is less but its medicinal potential is greater.
  • The Aloe arborescens thus has a faster action on skin conditions that Aloe vera.
  • It is used as a laxative against constipation by ingesting the leaves as a vegetable.
  • It has very moisturizing properties for the skin . We already know the thousands of Aloes-based products
  • It has an antibiotic effect  too. That is why its use on the skin. In fact, it has been shown to be effective against the athlete’s foot fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • As a natural cosmetic, it is priceless to keep skin hydrated and smooth.
  • It has soothing effects on insect bites and the famous pimples of adolescence.

Aloe arborescens leaf detail. Photo by Ernest McGray, Jr.

THE AGRICULTURAL USE OF ALOE ARBORESCENS

We all know the medicinal uses of this plant since they are very similar to Aloe vera. But its gel has been investigated for post-harvest treatments as a film that delays the. In a research study (referenced below)  the viability of Aloe arborescens gel is compared with that of A. vera and the following conclusion is reached for peach and plum fruits:

“This is the first time that A. arborescens gel has been used as an edible coating on fruit. The results of the quality parameters show that the A. arborescens gel was as effective as that of A. vera in delaying post-harvest maturation, which could be attributed to its effect of delaying the production of climacteric ethylene and the losses of quality. Future research should focus on the application of A. arborescens gel at low temperatures and on the study of its effect on the quality attributes and the possible increase in shelf life, especially in the case of fruits sensitive to injury by cold after prolonged cold storage. “

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

Ryan Heagle

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

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