This cultivar was hybridized by Cynthia Giddy in 1974 who bred it from Aloe Zubb. It is an attractive clumping aloe and it is heavily clustered. Aloe Rooikappie flowers throughout the year although most of its orange flowers bloom in the fall.
|Little Red, Riding Hood Aloe, Little Gem.
|Spring and summer
|This aloe can’t survive in temperatures below 10oC (55oF). Its ideal growing temperature ranges between 21-35oC (70 – 95oF).
|USDA Zone 9b-11
|Average Mature Height & Width:
|Its height is between 1-2 feet and the width is between 2-3 feet.
|It is dormant in winter or any time temperature is consistently around 10oC.
|It may be toxic when ingested. It causes diarrhea, kidney stones, hypokalemia and pseudomelanosis coli.
Aloe Rooikappie Physical Characteristics
This aloe hybrid is relatively small. It is usually about two feet tall but many of them don’t grow beyond on foot. The plant has thick succulent leaves that have white speckles. The lance-shaped leaves sharp spines on the margins. These leaves are ideally light green but the color changes to green and copper depending on the intensity of the sun it has been exposed to. They turn copper when they are exposed to the extremely hot sun. This aloe produces a conical in florescence. The inflorescence is usually unbranched and each produces coral red flowers. Flowering continuous sporadically throughout the year. Its roots are fibrous and shallow which is typical of aloe. Also, the plant doesn’t have a stem and its leaves form rosettes right from the ground. The leaves are a little curved inward.
Aloe Rooikappie Plant Care
This succulent has the same adaptations as other plants in its genus. It doesn’t require too much water and it is especially averse to waterlogging. You should only water it in the growing seasons while avoiding watering it in winter. Soak and dry watering method is the best because it ensures water from the previous drink is depleted before you give it another drink. Like other aloe plants, it prefers bright light and it can withstand being under intense direct sunlight. However, when the sunlight is too hot, it causes a change in leaf color from green to red and ultimately to copper.
The type of soil in which you grow this plant plays a significant role as it determines if the soil will easily get saturated with water or not. Ensure that is has a sizeable gravel content to enable water to easily seep through. You can add some fertilizer occasionally in the growing season if you feel the need to boost the plant’s growth.
The Little Gem’s Growth
Propagate it using seeds or offsets using the usual knowledge on how to propagate succulents. Pruning is usually not necessary to keep this plant healthy but you can remove dry leaves and the spent flowering stalks to make it look neat. Repot only when necessary and keep it free from all mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites and aloe fungi.
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