Aloe saponaria, or African Aloe, is a native of South Africa. African aloe is a clump-forming aloe that will reach 12 inches tall in containers. They can be grown outside in Oklahoma, but should be treated as annuals.
Blooming Time: Spring. The orange-red tubular flowers are formed on 3-foot tall, multi-branched stalks. Individual flowers are 2½ inches long.
Culture: Aloe saponaria need full sun to light shade, plants in light shade exhibit a much richer color than those grown in full sun. We use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 parts course sand or perlite. Small gravel is added to this mix for increased drainage. During the growing season plants are watered only after they have completely dried out. Fertilize once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants should be grown cool to initiate flower development (about 50°). Water only enough during this time to keep the foliage from shriveling.
Propagation: Aloe saponaria is propagated by division of offshoots in spring or by seed. Fresh seeds germinate quickly at 65°.
Aloe saponaria was featured as Plant of the Week May 18-24, 2001.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.