Thinking about enriching your collection of houseplants with a small tree-like succulent? Our recommendation is Kumara Plicatilis.
Kumara Plicatilis, formerly known as Aloe Plicatilis and commonly known as Fan Aloe, is a fantastic and unique-looking houseplant. It’s a beautiful tree Aloe that can grow pretty tall, about 16 feet (4.9 m) tall, and that is really easy to grow.
What’s really interesting about Fan Aloe is that it has actually been proposed that this plant should no longer be classified as an Aloe. As a result, Kumara Plicatilis was classified as a member of the Kumara genus, a genus that contains two species of flowering plants in the subfamily Asphodeloideae. The other plant that is part of the Kumara genus is Kumara Haemanthifolia, formerly known as Haemanthus-leaf Aloe.
Kumara Plicatilis, or Fan Aloe, is the winner of a prestigious award, the Award of Garden Merit offered by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Ready to learn more about growing, planting, watering, and propagating Fan Aloe? Keep reading below!
Here is our recommended online shops for purchasing succulents & supplies
- Succulents Box
Succulents Box currently offers more than 200 varieties of succulents (both popular and rare ones) along with 5 monthly subscription boxes.Visit Store
- Leaf & Clay
Leaf & Clay offer a range of hundreds of types of succulents along with subscription boxes, pots & macrame.Visit Store
- Lula’s Garden
Lula’s Garden offers a selection of succulent garden gift sets from small single succulents in pots to full succulent gardens.Visit Store
- The Succulent Source
The Succulent Source offers a huge selection of succulents, cactii and also gift sets and items for weddings.Visit Store
- Planet Desert
Planet Desert cater to succulent and cactii fans with a large range of plants, soil, kits and other supplies for creating your garden.Visit Store
About Fan Aloe
- Kumara Plicatilis is native to South Africa, growing mostly on rocky mountain slopes in Western Cape Province. It has a long history of cultivation in Britain as a houseplant, but it is also widely cultivated as a garden plant in Mediterranean areas.
- Fan Aloe can be an excellent accent plant in both interior and outdoor environments. It is commonly used as an ornamental plant for drought-tolerant landscape plans and rockeries.
- Yet, when grown outdoors, since it is not in its natural habitat, Kumara plicatilis tends to grow very slowly. For this reason, this lovely plant is often in danger of being toppled or killed by other plants growing next to it.
- In general, Fan Aloe, like most Aloe plants, is very forgiving. It is easy to grow by both novice and experienced growers and it has pretty much the same requirements as most succulents do.
- Kumara Plicatilis needs to sit in a bright spot, where it gets a lot of direct sunlight. Like most succulents, this Aloe prefers full sun to thrive. So, whether you grow your Fan Aloe indoors or outdoors, make sure you keep it in a sunny spot.
- Overwatering is one of the biggest threats for Fan Aloe. Like most succulents, it doesn’t like wet feet, and it is prone to root rot. If there’s one thing that you really need to pay attention to so that you don’t kill your Fan Aloe, it’s not overwatering it.
- Fan Aloe is summer dormant, meaning that during the hot months, it goes through a temporary inactive phase. Since Fan Aloe stops growing during the summer, it means you need to stop feeding and watering it.
- Fan Aloe is known as generally not toxic for humans or pets. So, if grown inside, Kumara plicatilis won’t be a threat to your kids or furry friends.
- Kumara Plicatilis is not cold hardy, meaning that you need to protect it from cold, particularly subzero temperatures, as much as possible. This succulent prefers warm temperatures, like most succulents do, of 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C). The lowest temperature it can survive is 20°F (-6.7°C). Knowing this, if you live in a colder climate, keep your Fan Aloe indoors.
- Some of the threats Fan Aloe is susceptible to is root rot when kept in wet soil, scale insects, and mealybugs. To get rid of scale insects, you can use horticultural oil and prune the infected branches. Rubbing alcohol can also help if the infestation is light. To get rid of mealybugs, use medical alcohol and a moistened cotton to wipe the stems of your Fan Aloe.
Fan Aloe Features: An Overview
- Kumara Plicatilis is a branched succulent shrub or small tree that can grow up to 16 feet (4.9 m) tall and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide.
- Fan Aloe features a fan-like fleshy, blue-green leaf arrangement. It has clusters of leaves that grow on each branch.
- Its leaves are tongue-shaped and round-tipped and generally grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and up to 1,6 inches (4 cm wide)
- In late winter or early spring, Fan Aloe produces an inflorescence that features an open terminal cluster of tubular flowers colored orange-red. The flowers typically grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.
Growing Fan Aloe
As mentioned above, Fan Aloe is a really forgiving succulent, which makes it really easy to grow and care for. This Aloe has pretty much the same needs and requirements most succulents have. So, if you’ve grown succulents before, caring for a Fan Aloe should be really easy. If this is your first succulent, don’t worry! We promise you won’t have a hard time growing and caring for Kumara plicatilis.
First of all, for your Fan Aloe to thrive, you need to consider its lighting requirements. Kumara Plicatilis loves sunny spots and needs full, direct sunlight to grow and mimic its native environment. Whether you keep your Fan Aloe indoors or outdoors, we recommend placing it in a spot where it gets at least 4-6 hours of full sun every day.
If you want to support your Fan Aloe’s growing and blooming processes, we recommend feeding it with some extra nutrients to help it grow healthy and happy. What fertilizer to you? Our recommendation is to use a fertilizer for cacti and other succulents. Feed your Fan Aloe only in spring.
How to Plant Fan Aloe
Planting Fan Aloe is a pretty easy process and should be successful if you pay attention to the plant’s most basic needs and requirements. It needs a lot of bright, direct sunlight, warm temperatures, and well-draining soil to protect it from root rot.
Let’s start with the soil needs for this Aloe. Like most succulents, Fan Aloe is very sensitive to root rot and can die from overwatering. So, you need to protect it from these two threats by providing it with soil that allows good drainage. To prepare well-draining soil, we recommend making your potting mix by adding a fast-draining potting soil mix and sand or pebbles. The coarse substance, like the sand and pebbles, will ensure that the extra water will get through the soil, protecting your Fan Aloe from root rot.
Next, keep in mind that Fan Aloe needs a lot of direct sunlight to thrive. When planting it, choose the sunniest corner in your garden or home to place it. The Aloe will get enough sunlight to grow.
Besides a lot of sunlight and well-draining soil, Fan Aloe also needs warm temperatures to survive. As mentioned before, this Aloe prefers temperatures of about 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C). If you live in an area with a hot climate, your Kumara Plicatilis should thrive, both in indoor and outdoor environments. If, however, you live in an area with a cold climate that also gets subzero temperatures during the winter, it’s best to plant your Fan Aloe in a container that you can bring indoors during the cold season.
Watering Fan Aloe
We can’t stress this enough: overwatering your Fan Aloe is the sure way to kill it.
Like most succulents, Fan Aloe is drought tolerant, meaning that it can survive if you forget to water it for short periods, but it is susceptible to root rot if you overwater it.
So, how do you make sure you don’t overwater your Fan Aloe? The best way to avoid overwatering is to use the “soak and dry” method. In other words, you need to allow the top few inches of the soil to get completely dry between waterings. This way, you’re going to be sure that you don’t provide your Fan Aloe with more water than it needs.
Carefully monitor your Aloe for overwatering signs. For example, if you notice puffy-looking stems or leaves, it means you are giving your Fan Aloe too much water.
Also, a very important thing to keep in mind is not to let this Aloe sit in excess water. If, by mistake, you pour too much water into your plant’s pot, let it sit for just a few minutes until your Fan Aloe gets as much water as it needs, and then pour off the excess water.
Propagating Fan Aloe
Want more Fan Aloe plants in your garden or home? The good news is that propagating a mature Fan Aloe isn’t that difficult.
Kumara Plicatilis can be propagated from stem cuttings or seeds. Yet, the easiest and generally most successful propagation method is from stem cuttings.
To propagate your mature Fan Aloe from stem cuttings:
- Remove a stem using a sterile and sharp knife.
- Allow the cutting a few days to dry and heal and then place it in well-draining soil.
- Water the soil and then only water it again after it has dried out completely.
You can also propagate Fan Aloe from the seeds of its fruits, but this process can take a lot of time as this Aloe is a slow-grower.
This is all you need to know about growing and caring for Fan Aloe. All you have to do is to make sure your succulent gets enough bright sunlight, doesn’t sit in wet soil, and it is not exposed to freezing temperatures.
Fan Aloe can be a spectacular ornamental plant when cared for adequately. Provide your Aloe with all its basic needs, and it will repay you by bringing a fresh touch to your home or garden.
Are you growing Kumara plicatilis? Share your experience in the comments!