Also known as Red Hot Poker Aloe, Ngopanie and Sekope, the Aloe aculeata is a species of the aloe succulent belonging to the Asphodelaceae family. The Aloe aculeata gets its name from the Latin word “aculeatus”, meaning “sharp or cutting.” Here is our in-depth guide with all the information about the Aloe aculeata.
40+ Interesting Types of Aloe Plants with Pictures
About Aloe aculeata
The Aloe aculeata is native to the Mpumalanga and Limpopo valley in South Africa and also central and southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This succulent is drought tolerant and mainly grows on the rocky ridges in the dry bushveld and grasslands.
Aloe aculeata is an evergreen perennial, known for its gorgeous leaves and stunning flowers and is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. The succulent is indeed a unique plant, with its thick leaves dull green to turquoise-colored leaves that grow upward in a rosette-like pattern, arching up like a bowl. The leaves have white, raised spots and large reddish-brown-colored sharp prickly teeth on the margins.
When seen in the sunlight, the tips of the leaves look red. And, in the blooming season, the plant grows fiery reddish-orange and yellow blooms on tall stalks that appear at the center of each rosette and looks like a red-hot fire poker.
How to Care for Aloe aculeata
The Aloe aculeata grows best in bright sunlight and prefers light shade. In the hotter months, it is best to protect the plant from harsh, direct sunlight and reflected heat. The plant does not do too well when the light is not adequate. This can lead to poor growth of the plant and it may not flower.
The leaves of the Aloe aculeata, which makes this plant unique will turn the distinct red and orange color only when they get the ideal light. However, the leaves may also turn red when the temperature is very cold or the plant does not have sufficient water, which are signs of stress.
The Aloe aculeata needs regular watering during the summer months; however, the watering needs to reduce during the colder months, when the plant enters dormancy. During the winter season or when the night temperatures are less than 50°F (10°C), the plant remains dry and does not require watering.
The plant needs a consistent but occasional watering routine and you must ensure that the soil is soaked properly but only when it has completely dried out. The Aloe aculeata requires good ventilation and just sufficient watering. Poor ventilation and overwatering can cause problems, especially when the weather is very humid, cool or dull.
The Aloe aculeata is a plant that grows mostly in drier climates and is adapted to those conditions. It prefers porous, well-draining soil. You can use an organic cactus mix or sandy soil with large particles to grow the succulent. The plant does not do well in wet or soggy soils.
Applying light fertilizer helps to boost the growth of the Aloe aculeata succulent. The plant must be fertilized during its growing season. Use a fertilizer that is specifically meant for succulents and cacti i.e., a fertilizer that is high in potassium but low level of diluted nitrogen, which includes all the trace elements and micronutrients. The fertilizer must be diluted to half the concentration and should be applied a couple of inches away from the plant’s base.
The Aloe aculeata succulent likes warmth and can grow in minimum winter temperatures of up to 41°F (5°C). However, they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. The plant grows best outdoors in USDA Hardiness zones 9b to 11. The plant grows best when it gets 80% to 100% sunlight. During the winter months, the plant should be protected or brought indoors.
Pests and Diseases
Aloe aculeata are generally healthy plants and are not affected by any diseases. However, overwatering the plants can lead to fungal diseases. The plants may be infested by pests like aphids, snails, slugs and white scale but these can be prevented by maintaining optimal growing conditions.
Propagating Aloe aculeata
You can propagate Aloe aculeata using the following methods.
For propagation through pups or offsets, you can go through the following steps.
- Remove the pup from the parent plant by gently tugging it out. Make sure you retain the roots of each pup.
- Keep the pup aside in some shade for a few days so that a callus can form.
- Take a small pot and fill it with some soil mix.
- Plant the offset into the soil and keep the pot in a spot that receives a good amount of sunlight. Water it each time the soil becomes dry.
- Once the pup grows a bit, you can repot it or plant it outdoors.
You can follow these steps for growing the plant from seeds.
- Figure out the requirements of your respective species.
- Sow the seeds in a pot filled with the soil mix.
- Sprinkle some water in the soil and wrap the pot with some plastic.
- Keep the pot in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
- Once you notice the seedlings forming within a month, take the plastic off.