Aloe brevifolia, or Short Leaf Aloe, is a stem-less perennial succulent that is native to South Africa. Triangular-lanceolate leaves are in tight rosettes to 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Individual leaves are 3 inches (7.5 cm) long by 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Leaves are flat on top and concave on the underside and are armed with white teeth along the margins and keel. The plant freely produces offsets and can form large clumps. They are very easy to grow in containers and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: Plants bloom in the spring with red flowers in dense 16 inch (40 cm) racemes. Flowers are 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long.
Culture: Aloe brevifolia need full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. The plants respond to average watering, but they should be allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. We fertilize the plants only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months in the greenhouse, water is restricted and plants are allowed to go dormant with a nighttime temperature of 48°F (9°C).
Propagation: Aloe brevifolia is propagated by removal of offsets in the spring and summer.
Aloe brevifolia was featured as Plant of the Week December 19-25, 2008.
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.