Aloe aristata for interiors. The torch plant

There are many Aloes, and although Aloe vera is the queen for its already well-known properties, there are other species of the genus that have their appeal at least as an ornamental and it does not hurt to know what they are and how they are grown. This is the case of Aloe aristata or known as a torch plant for its curious flowering.

THE IMMENSE GENUS ALOE

The Aloe genus is very extensive. It is not one of the largest by any means, but considering that you probably know no more than two or three different aloes and there are 558 species of Aloe accepted … At Gardenprue we have talked to you about some of them but not many in reality. You can currently see articles about these Aloes. We will go higher. Today we propose Aloe aristata to expand the list.

Its natural habitat is exclusively focused on a small region of South Africa from which it originates. Just as other plants have colonized other places, either by natural expansion or because humans have moved it (the most common), Aloe aristata is not found in many more places in the world naturally. As a plant grown indoors we can find it in many nurseries or garden stores.

SIMILARITIES OF ALOE ARISTATA TO HAWORTHIA FASCIATA

We recently talked about the Haworthia fasciata and it is that this species of Aloe is more similar to this than other species of its genus. These similarities between species of different genera often occur in botanical taxonomy, and the identification keys and genetic characteristics of each end up resulting in different genera, although at first glance they may look very similar. Anyway, they do belong to the same family . Let’s put the two plants together.

They are similar, we are not going to deny it, but that “hair” or cilium on the tip of the Aloe aristata leaves gives it away. It also has small spines on the edge that are very aligned that the Haworthia does not have. We are not going to go into color because with the photos, the filters and the different exposures it is not something to trust.

Haworthia fasciata (left) and Aloe aristata (right)

The leaves of Aloe aristata are triangular with small white spines and a characteristic cilium or hair on the tip that will also help us in irrigation operations . Its flowering is very intense, with orange and reddish tubular flowers and a large amount of nectar that attracts hummingbirds and pollinating insects. Hence the common name Torch. Its flowering is like a flare.

PERFECT FOR ROCKERY AND XERO-GARDENING GARDENS

It is a perfect plant for sunny interiors, for rockery gardens and in general for all types of xero – gardening in which succulents and cacti are used. Their water requirements are very light and they withstand high temperatures. The interesting thing about this species is that it is very resistant to many types of climate , even those temperate in which it would be unthinkable to grow an Aloe vera for example.

WHAT CAN WE HIGHLIGHT ABOUT ALOE ARISTATA ?

  • Its beauty is indisputable.
  • It grows very fast (compared to other Aloes)
  • It tolerates slightly more moisture and excess watering than other aloes ( good for beginners and eager to water).

Detail of the bloom. Photo by Lazaregagnidze

INDOOR AND OUTDOOR CULTIVATION AND CARE OF ALOE ARISTATA

TEMPERATURES AND EXPOSURE

It is adapted to a multitude of climates and supports from very intense heats in summer , to very light and short frosts during winter. It could withstand temperatures down to -2ºC for a short period of time. If frosts or even low temperatures (close to 0ºC) are very persistent, it will suffer cold damage. It grows well with direct exposure and in the open air it supports a slight semi-shade. Some say that it is sensitive to very direct exposure to the sun. Our experience tells us no, keeping it outdoors in a Mediterranean climate with very harsh summers, light and heat. Yes, you have to protect very young specimens a little, until they are established.

As it likes somewhat dry environments, it develops very well inside the house as long as we maintain an adequate orientation, preferably south, where it has a good bath of light throughout the day. Home temperatures are exceptional for the growth of this plant.

SUBSTRATE AND SUBSCRIBER

Like all Aloes, it needs light substrates, where the roots feel airy, that do not puddle and have good drainage . A very common formula can be:

  • 1/3 Substrate of good quality and well nourished.
  • 1/3 river sand (never beach sand as it has salts that Aloe can not support ).
  • 1/3 of perlite.

We can always play with the proportions a bit but roughly this would be fine. You can also buy specific substrates for succulents.

  • Product 1: Good solid ratio
  • Product 1: High doses of magnesium
  • Product 1: Avoid root rot
  • Product 2: It is a fertilizer in the form of soluble microgranules, formulated with high amounts of magnesium and a fair proportion of iron, which improves natural defenses
  • Product 2: plants more resistant to fungal diseases as well as avoiding undesirable neck rot. Composition: CE fertilizer. NPK (Mg) 13-13-13 (4) fertilizer solution with micronutrients

IRRIGATION

It does not require much watering like any succulent. However, this species, being adapted to many climates, supports irrigation better than other Aloes. It is convenient to let the substrate dry between waterings , frequencies that we can go to one watering per month . As the substrate must be loose, just putting your finger in a little is enough to know if you have to water or not. We will have to be more vigilant indoors. If the leaves turn yellow then you have completely forgotten about it. You must water.

Each watering should be abundant, let all the water fall to the bottom of the pot and wait for it to dry completely until the next. Never be in a rush to water a succulent.

In winter you have to practically eliminate watering . It is the season in which it can be more affected by an excess.

The small cilium or hair on the tip of each leaf is a perfect sneak for watering since it is the first thing that becomes necrotic (turns black), rots and falls off if there is an excess. If you see that it happens, stop watering immediately and wait longer between waterings.

REPRODUCTION

It reproduces by suckers like any Aloe that grows at the base of the main rosette. They are transplanted to another pot with the same substrate described above, watered and good lighting is encouraged without being too direct at first.

PLAGUES AND DISEASES

It can suffer from cottony mealybug, aphids, whiteflies and fungal rots mainly due to overwatering. Except for fungal attacks, indoors it is difficult for pests to appear.

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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