Aloe brevifolia

This species , like most members of this large genus (more than 200 species), is native to South Africa. They are popular house plants. Most people are familiar with A. arborescens, which is said to have medicinal properties. A. brevifolia is also widely grown. It forms carpeting clumps, for it readily produces offshoots. The leaves are arranged in ground rosettes 10-12 cm (4-5 in) in diameter. The succulent, narrowly-triangular leaves are 7-18 cm long, 3 cm (1 inch) wide and 1 cm thick. They are slightly rounded inward above, faintly keeled beneath and have ornamental spines, 2-3 cm long, on the margins. The attractive inflorescences are up to 50 cm (20 in) high and composed of numerous small flowers.

Because it is so easy to grow, this is a most rewarding plant. It merely requires a light position and, in summer, may be transferred to the garden or balcony. It requires a lime-free, very sandy compost. Water very moderately and take care to avoid wetting the leaves as they rot readily. In winter, it requires light and rather cool conditions. Propagate by means of the offshoots. Detach the young plantlets and pot up.

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