We all have seen at least one species of Aloe in our life. But what happens when these beauties come with out-of-the-ordinary foliage, pleasing patterns, and even alluring flowers? Well, we cannot resist them! And we are pretty sure that you will fall in love with these succulents in the blink of an eye. Or you already have?
Aloe Brevifolia, otherwise known as the Short-leaved Aloe, Crocodile plant, or Blue Aloe, is a species of flowering plants in the Asphodelaceae family. This gorgeous specimen can be found growing in the Western Cape province from South Africa. In its native habitat, it is pretty vulnerable and even endangered.
The Short-leaved Aloe succulents are highly popular as ornamental houseplants in the desert, succulent, Mediterranean, and rock gardens around the world. They are suitable for indoor growing, but many gardeners prefer them planted in beds or borders outside. These gorgeous succulents make for an excellent small-scale groundcover among other species.
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Read on to learn more about growing Short-leaved Aloe.
About Aloe Brevifolia
- In the wild, they generally grow in the dry clay soil of Runes Shale Renosterveld. A small number of Short-leaved Aloes is also known to grow especially near the coast on rocky slopes and cliffs.
- The curious epithet “brevifolia” is the Latin for “short leaf”. This name refers to the tiny succulent leaves with which these Aloes have stolen many gardeners’ hearts.
- Their lovely flowers produce nectar that will mesmerize many curious beauties, filling your garden with butterflies and several species of birds.
- The active growing seasons of Aloe Brevifolia plants are in spring and autumn. During the summer and winter months, these succulents become dormant.
- They are best planted in a well-draining soil that contains one-third of pebbles, perlite, or sand. For optimal growth, apply a suitable fertilizer occasionally.
- The Short-leaved Aloe is a drought-tolerant succulent that does not require frequent watering. It is susceptible to root rot, especially in its dormant periods.
- Yellow and mushy leaves may be an indicator that these plants receive too much water. If so, repot your Aloe in dry soil and skip watering for a while.
- To grow healthy and happy, Aloe Brevifolia plants demand a bright and slightly warm location. They are generally pest-free, but you should inspect them for mealybugs and scale insects.
Aloe Brevifolia Features: An Overview
- They belong to the Aloe genus that contains over 550 species of flowering succulent plants. These plants share a well-known similarity, growing in beautiful rosettes of large and fleshy leaves.
- The Short-leaved Aloe comes into the world with three varieties: Brevifolia, Depressa, and Postgenita. They vary in size and the number of leaves/rosettes.
- In the wild, Aloe Brevifolia plants are adorable succulents that can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) in height and diameter. When growing in a pot, they will grow only up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall.
- All varieties are composed of large clumps of dense rosettes. The foliage has soft, harmless, white thorns on its edges.
- Their thick, soft, and triangular-shaped leaves appear in various shades of greyish to green colors. When reaching maturity, some specimens can turn the tips of their leaves to reddish, orange, or pink.
- The upper surface of their leaves usually presents no spines or spots, while the lower one may contain several spikes scattered on their ends.
- During the autumn, mostly in November, Aloe brevifolia succulents exhibit a relatively tall inflorescence. They are dormant in summer.
- They bloom in late spring, producing lovely bright reddish to orange flowers that form a pyramidal-shaped cluster.
- Due to their similar environmental requirements, the Short-leaved Aloe is a great growing companion to Crassula Rupestris, other species of succulents that thrive with less water than usual, and several cacti.
Growing Aloe Brevifolia
Whether you grow them indoors or outdoors, Aloe Brevifolia plants will thrive in bright and direct light. They can also withstand filtered light or partial shade, but will not show the same growth.
For optimal results, place them in a location where they can receive plenty of full sunlight for about six to eight hours daily. When these plants are exposed to proper light conditions, the tips of their leaves will turn a warm orange, red, or pink color and create a lovely display. However, if you live in a region with hot climates and harsh sun, it is better to grow them in a spot where they are protected from direct sunlight.
Temperature-wise, the Short-leaved Aloe plants do well in values that range from 70 to 80 °F (21-27 °C). They are somewhat cold hardy only in temperatures that drop to 20 °F (-7 °C), but not for long. If the temperatures are pretty freezy or the winter is coming, bring your plants inside to protect them from extreme conditions.
Planting Aloe Brevifolia
In the wild, these succulents can be found growing in dry clay soil which is well-draining by nature. When planting your Aloe Brevifolia, look for a succulent or cacti potting mix that contains about 1/3 sand, pebbles, or perlite for optimal drainage. You can also prepare your own mixture by combining a loamy potting soil with perlite and add a layer of pebbles above it.
Aloe Brevifolia plants will benefit from regular fertilizing during their active growing seasons. Feed your succulents with a balanced liquid fertilizer two or three times in spring and autumn. Make sure the fertilizers do not touch the leaves, as they can burn them and cause irreversible damage.
They grow at a pretty slow pace, so your Aloe Brevifolia will not need repotting very often. However, when the succulent starts to outgrow its container, you must take some time to repot it as soon as possible. Look for a pot that is one size larger than the current one and transplant your Aloe carefully.
Due to over-watering or over-fertilizing your Short-leaved Aloe, pests like scale insects and mealybugs may bother it occasionally. If you notice any sign of infestation, treat your plant with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or pesticide.
Watering Aloe Brevifolia
When caring for your Aloe Brevifolia plants, the frequency of watering is probably the most important factor at play. If you do not have much experience with succulents, no worries! They have thick and succulent leaves that can store large amounts of water, so these plants are quite tolerant of drought. The worst-case scenario would be to over-water them, but this can be avoided in just a few steps.
The ideal method to water Short-leaved Aloe plants is commonly known as “soak and dry”. If you provide these succulents with a deep soaking and a good draining afterward, they will be more than pleased. Your babies will require regular watering in fall and spring and less often during their dormant seasons in summer and winter.
Make sure you always check the soil in-between waterings to know when it is the perfect time to spoil your plants. If the soil feels dry to the touch or has dried out completely, give your Aloe Brevifolia a nice watering and remove any excess water from their tray.
Propagating Aloe Brevifolia
With their spectacular foliage, it will be a shame to have only one Aloe Brevifolia! They can be used in so many succulent decorations, that even your beloved ones would find a place in their home for one or more specimens. If you want to extend your collection with these beauties or gift them, you can propagate Aloe Brevifolia plants very easily through division or offsets.
Do not get intimidated by their inoffensive thorns, as they will not hurt you in any way! Your Aloe Brevifolia plants love you and cannot wait to grow and to produce tiny offsets.
Propagation through division is the fastest and simplest method to get more tiny succulents. The only thing you must do is to unearth a portion of the plant and cut it free from its mother. Plant the divided part in fresh potting soil and wait a few days before providing it with water to allow the wounds to heal. After this period has ended, your little Aloe Brevifolia will be ready to receive lots of love and proper care.
If the division method is not suited to your taste, you can always choose to propagate these plants using offsets. Isolate the pups and cut them from the mother plant using a sharp and sterilized knife. The cuttings should be allowed to callous in a warm and shaded location for a few days before planting.
Fill a container or bed with fresh potting mix and transplant the offsets once they have hardened enough. If the soil is maintained constantly damp, your baby Aloe Brevifolia will develop a strong root system in a few months.
Their pleasing-looking rosettes and superb flowers are quite a thing! And, as we are already used to other succulents, Aloe Brevifolia species are very easy to grow and care for. What could be more important to you than to wake up one day with surprisingly colorful foliage? You can also gift them to a special friend and brighten up their day. Go on and give these beautiful Aloes a chance, as you will not regret it!
Are you a fan of growing Aloe succulents? Share your experience with us in the comments!