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Keyword: ‘aloe vera’

Aloe vera

Common name: Barbados Aloe, Aloe Vera, True Aloe, Burn Aloe, Medicine Plant

Family: Asphodelaceae

Synonym: Aloe barbadensis
Aloe vulgaris
Aloe indica
Aloe lanzae
Aloe perfoliata var. barbadensis

Aloe vera

Aloe vera

Description: Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100cm (24–39 inch) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90cm (35 inch) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3cm (0.8–1.2 inch) long. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.

Houseplant care:
Light: Keep the Aloe vera plant in a bright location, with some direct sun in winter. If it is moved outdoors for the summer, make the move a gradual one. Ironically, Aloe vera sunburns easily if it is suddenly exposed to full sun.

Water: During active growing period Aloe vera should be well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. Keep the soil slightly drier in winter, water it only enough to keep the plants from shriveling. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Aloe vera will do well in average room humidity.

Brown leaf tips on Aloe vera plant usually indicate that it is not getting enough water. Water the plant thoroughly and allow the excess water to drain.
Black spots on leaves are often due to overwatering. Do not allow water to collect in the rosettes of leaves, which causes the plant to rot.

Temperature: In the home environment, temperatures should range between a high of 30°C (85°F) to a low of 10°C  (50°F). Average room temperatures 18-24°C (65-75°F) will be perfect for Aloe vera.

Fertilizer: Spring through fall, feed monthly with a balanced house plant fertilizer.

Potting and repotting: Repot young plants in spring when they are outgrowing their pots. These types of succulents freely produces offsets. Keep plants from getting overcrowded by propagating offsets as they begin to form rosettes. Use cactus potting mix or add 1 part coarse sand with 2 parts all-purpose potting mix.

Propagation: Cut off new offsets in spring or early summer. Allow the cut portion to dry for a day or two to prevent the sap from oozing, then pot it in barely moist sandy potting mix.

Problems: Check it once in a while for scale insects and mealybugs that may infest this plant. Treat any infestation for these house plant pests immediately with insecticide.

Uses: Grown in containers, Aloe vera make a remarkable houseplant or installed on porches, patios, decks, etc. In the landscape (warm climates only), its need for good drainage makes it a popular choice for rock gardens. Aloe vera is drought-resistant once established, making an ideal choice for xeriscaping.

Extracts from Aloe vera are widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries, being marketed as variously having rejuvenating, healing or soothing properties. There is, however, little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes, and what positive evidence is available is frequently contradicted by other studies.

Aloe barbadensis is able to absorb between 80 and 90% of the formaldehyde present in water-based paint, roofing felt or insulation material, glues in fitted carpets or even laminated wood floors!


Foliage – green
Shape – rosette

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 10°C (45-50°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – Low

Hardiness zones: 9-12

Indoor Plants, Succulents, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , ,

Aloe aristata

Common name: Lace Aloe, Torch Plant, Bearded Aloe, Hardy Aloe, Torch Aloe

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae

Synonymous: Aloe ellenbergeri
Aloe longiaristata

Aloe aristata

Aloe aristata

Distribution and habitat: Aloe aristata is a species of evergreen flowering perennial plant in the subfamily Asphodelaceae. It is native to mountains grassland of South Africa and is therefore best suited to warm, dry conditions. These plants can be found growing up to 2300m (7500 feet) above sea level in their natural habitat and is one of the hardest species within its genus. They have become increasingly rare in the wild through harvesting.

Description: Aloe aristata is a dwarf version of the Aloe genus. It is stemless with dark grey-green leaves densely packed in a rosette. Each leaf is about 15cm (6 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) wide, spotted with tubercles. The margins of the leaves are lined with white horny materials and both the margins and the surfaces of the leaves are minutely toothed with short, soft white spines.
and has hard white edges and a bristle like growth from the leaf tip. Orange flowers, which appear on a 30cm (12 inch) stalk in early summer, lasting for several days. Mature plants produce many offsets.

Its fleshy leaves retain water allowing the plant to get through periods of drought without trouble. It is a small plant, usually growing to about 15 to 20cm (6-8 inch) in a tight rosette formation. Its nectar-rich, tubular orange flowers attract birds and bees.

Houseplant care: Aloe aristata is a small hardy succulent plant popular as an indoor plant.

Light: Bright light suits Aloe aristata. It will not thrive if permanently placed at a distance from a window.

Temperature: Aloe aristata plants grow well in normal room temperatures and are tolerant of dry air. To encourage flowering, however, it is best to give the plants a short winter rest at a temperature of no more that 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the rest period water only enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out. Do not permit water to collect in the tight rosette.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Most Aloe aristata should be moved into pots one size larger every spring. Keep these plants in shallow pots. When maximum convenient pot size has been reached, plants should be top dressed with fresh potting mixture once a year. To prevent rot, make sure that these plants which have tick basal leaves are never buried deeper than they were before. A sprinkling of coarse sand over the surface of the potting mixture helps to prevent rot points where fleshy leaves of these stemless plants touch the soil.

Gardening: In order to grow Aloe aristata in temperate climates they will need to be taken inside during the coldest weather and keep them in bright sunlight during the summer. This species is hardier than many other species within its genus, but will still appreciate the warmth. It requires very little maintenance, making it an ideal choice for novice gardeners.They flower freely in the summer and the soft-orange flowers are a wonderful addition to the arid garden.

Location: Aloe aristata can be place in full sun or semi-shade in hot climates.

Soil: Dry and well drained gritty soils are suitable for these plants. Sandy free draining soil will keep the Aloe aristata healthy. Use cactus compost or add sand to improve the garden soil drainage.

Irrigation: This genus is well known for its ease of cultivation, but they are sensitive to excessive irrigation. Provide regular watering in spring and summer to make the soil thoroughly moist then allow the soil to dry before watering again. In winter (during the dormant season) water sparingly or not at all, as it is prone to rotting; a thin layer of gravel on top of the soil will help to prevent this.

Fertilising: Feed Aloe aristata very little now and then during the active growth period.

Propagation: Aloe aristata produces offsets that can be taken from the base of a plant early in summer. These small new rosettes are often attached to the parent by a short underground stolon and may already have little roots, which should be retained for propagation propose.
Because very tiny offsets are hard to root, they should not be removed for planting until their leaves have begun to open into the characteristic rosette shape.
Offsets will root in two to three weeks in the standard potting mixture if some coarse sand is sprinkled at the base of the rosette to prevent rotting. Until offsets are well established, they should be provided with bright light without direct sunlight and they should be watered only enough to moisten the potting mixture, allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Also, Aloe aristata can be propagated by seed sown in warm environment as soon as ripe.

Problems: Most likely to be caused by incorrect watering. A properly watered Aloe aristata plant can resist most pests and diseases.

Wilting is the result of inadequate water in summer.

Yellowing leaves accompanied by rotting at the base is the result of overwatering plants kept in cool winter conditions.

Mealy bugs and root mealy bugs ca be troublesome. The former hide deep in the crevices of rosette foliage and the latter generally bury themselves in the roots, just below the surface of the potting mixture.
Treatment: Remove visible bugs with a toothpick or a damp cloth or swab them off foliage with a small, stiff paintbrush dipped in methylated spirit or an insecticide solution. Then spray all top growth with an appropriate pesticide. Alternatively, place granules of a systemic pesticide in the potting mixture. During the next month examine plants weekly for traces of reinfestation.

Scale insects can also infest this plant.
Treatment: Scale can be easily controlled by physical removal, wash off with high pressure jet of water or scrape off with cotton wool buds or by chemical control with appropriate pesticide.

Note: When not in bloom, Aloe aristata is similar to and often confused with Haworthia fasciata.

Uses: Aloe aristata is cultivated as a garden plant, but as it requires winter protection is grown under glass in temperate regions. Left to grow by themselves, they quickly form a large clump and are very effective in a large xeriphytic landscape if planted en masse about 0.5m (2 feet) apart, so that as the clumps grow and spread they form an expansive globular carpet.

Also, Aloe aristata is often grown indoors as a window-ledge succulent plant.


Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – rosette
Height: 15 to 20cm (6-8 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 10°C (45-50°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 7b-11

Aloe aristata - flowersAloe aristata - cluster of rosettesAloe aristataAloe aristata - pottedAloe aristata - indoors





Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , ,

Indoor plants create clean air

Research has shown that indoor air pollution is now becoming one of the major threats to our health. These health issue include: asthma, allergies, chemical hyper-sensitivity and cancer.

NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air. Houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.
Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science further proving the science.

Google Office - plants display

Google Office – plants display

Indoor plants improve air quality

We all know that plants are the lungs of Mother Earth and they are a very simple and effective way of treating and recycling air and water used by NASA to improve astronauts’ life quality when spending months in a small space station, surrounded by synthetic materials that constantly emit chemicals into the cabin. Astonishing, however, was the discovery that plants can remove many of the more than 300 chemicals found in the air of a spacecraft.

Plants and chemical pollution

The NASA study has proven that plants can remove airborne chemicals to some extent. But where do these chemicals go? Scientists of the German National Research Centre for Environment and Health exposed popular indoor plants to formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutant. They reported that enzymes in the plant leaves break down the toxic chemical into non-toxic components that can be used by the plant. This process is similar to the way a human liver rids the body from toxins. Research also shows that chemicals are translocated into the root system and the adjoining soil, where soil micro-organisms can break down the substances even further.

Plants as dust removal

Airborne chemicals aren’t the only health hazards indoors. Scientists of the Washington State University conclude that foliage plants can reduce indoor dust levels by up to 20%. And you don’t have to plant a jungle either. The plants they added to an office room occupied only around 5% of the volume.

Do plants promote biological pollution?

A concern could be the growth of fungi in the soil and on decaying plant matter. As long as the plant is healthy, however, this is not the case. The plant has its own defences against micro-organisms. It releases small amounts of its own disinfectant essential oils to control or destroy bacteria and fungi that invade the space between the leaves. We make use of this ourselves whenever we use disinfectants or room deodorizers that contain natural plant oils from, for example, citrus or pine trees. Experiments have shown that plants significantly reduce the number of microbes in indoor air. For example, when pots of citrus trees were added to a room, the air became almost sterile.

Do plants contribute to high humidity?

Another point of concern is the increase in humidity levels. Yes, plants transpire and increase the amount of water vapour in the air. The good news is that the increase depends very much on the humidity level that is in the room in the first place. On humid days, the rate of evaporation is very low and the humidity increase is only marginal. On dry days the plant ‘sweats’ significantly. This is to our benefit, because the indoor air is very often below the comfortable humidity level, as during the heating period. Cooling a room with an air conditioner also reduces the humidity significantly. Besides dehydration, dry air promotes cracked skin and lips, the drying of the mucus in airways and sinuses, and is a recognized trigger for asthma attacks. Allergens, bacteria and viruses can get easily past the dried-up defense mechanism. There is evidence that cases of the common cold are more frequent when the humidity is low.

The best indoor plants to improve air quality

By adding house plats to your living / work space, you improve the air quality and greatly enhance the health of your and your family. Many houseplants will purify the air in your home, but some more than others. Here is a list of some of the best plants and very popular for your house or office:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)



houseplants for improving indoor air quality

The list can continue on and on again. The rate at which the plants metabolizes the substances depends on the growing conditions, such as the available light, the temperature, the humidity, and the nutrients that are available to the plant. Please be aware, however, that plants don’t remove the chemicals completely and different plants have different capabilities. A particular plant may be very good in removing formaldehyde, while another is better in destroying benzene.

Studies show that Americans spend ninety percent of their lives indoors, which means that good indoor air quality is vital for good health. Indoor plants will help reduce pollutants and purify the air in your home or office. The more plants you have, the better you will feel! By having plants in your home or office, you create your own micro-climate – the indoor weather.

Recommend number of plant: at least 15-18 good-sized plants (203mm (six- to eight-inch ) pot diameter) for a house or apartment of 167 square meters (1800 square feet).
According to the NASA study, the plants listed below proved effective in removing certain indoor air pollutants.

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

General Information ,

Aeonium arboreum

Common name: Tree Aeonium, Tree Houseleek, Irish Rose, Houseleek Tree, Tree Anemone, Desert Pinwheel Rose

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Sempervivum arboreum
Aeonium manriqueorum

Aeonium arboreum

Aeonium arboreum

Distribution and habitat: Aeonium arboreum is a subtropical succulent sub-shrub native to the hillsides of the Canary Islands where their natural range includes arid desert regions.
It bears rosettes of leaves and large pyramidal panicles of bright yellow flowers in the spring. Each rosette that bloom will die.

Description: Aeonium arboreum is a treelike in that its woody stems branch out freely, but it is unlikely to exceed 90cm (3 feet) in height. The 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaves of its rosettes are spoon-shaped and shiny green. The leaf rosettes are arranged at the ends of its branches.
These plants grow quickly and produce abundant small, star-like, bisexual, yellow flowers on racemes from late winter through early spring. Flowers stems emerge from the center of the rosettes. The rosette die after flowering. If the plant has produced side shoots, they will live on. If not, the entire plant will die off. New plants can be started from the seed.

Proper care: In regions where winters are cool, Aeonium arboreum plants appreciate summer sun outdoors and then can grow indoors as houseplants when weather cools.
Aeonium arboreum plants are quick growers. Leggy branches do tend to fall over and snap off from the weight of the rosettes. If this happens, the broken stem can be used for propagation.
The plants tend to go dormant in the summer and look a little tired sometimes, but they perk up again in the fall. Care should be taken with these plants to avoid overwatering.

Light: To keep their form, Aeonium arboreum need full sunlight, even during rest periods when they are not actively growing. Too lithe light will result in elongate, prematurely falling leaves and gap rosettes.

Temperature: Aeonium arboreum grow well in warm rooms about 18 to 24°C (64-75°F), but like most other succulents – they are not tropical plants. If possible they should be encouraged to rest during the winter months by being moved to a cool place – preferable around 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water Aeonium arboreum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top 1cm (0.4 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
During the rest period, allow half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Less than this will result in shriveled leaves. On the other hand, over-watering will encourage soft, untypical leaf growth, which is likely to droop.

Feeding: Use liquid fertiliser about every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part coarse sand or a substance such as perlite added to two parts of a standard soil based mixture. Because Aeonium arboreum can grow quickly, the taller kinds should be moved into pots one size larger every year, preferably just as new growth begins. Newly potted plants should be especially firmly pressed into the potting mixture and taller Aeonium arboreum must be staked.

Gardening: The Aeonium arboreum thrives in temperatures that range from 4 to 38°C  (40-100°F). During the winter, it will grow best with nighttime temperatures of 10°C (50°F). These succulents can be interesting and fun plants to grow, thriving outdoors in areas with dry summers and warm winters. The ideal climates are Mediterranean- relatively dry with seasonal rainfall (preferably in winters, not summers) and no freezes. Growing these plants in the tropics, the hot deserts or where it snows will be very difficult.
These plants are suitable for pots and they can be moved in and out depending on weather situations. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in ground.

Position: Aeonium arboreum grows best in full sun during the cooler months and when grown in coastal areas. When grown inland or during the summer, provide these succulents with afternoon or partial shade. Avoid placing Aeonium arboreum plants in sites with western sun exposures.

Soil: Though Aeonium arboreum tolerate a variety of soil types – as long as the soil is well-drained – it prefers light, porous soil. Is recommended to amend the planting site with sand and limestone chips. For container gardening, plant Aeonium arboreum in a moderately moist medium with excellent drainage such as a planting mix that includes 2 parts sand, 1 part loam and 1 part peat moss with a handful of small gravel pieces thrown in to enhance drainage.
Although it is recommended to place a thin layer of inorganic mulch, such as ornamental rock, around the plants.

Irrigation: Water Aeonium arboreum plants deeply but infrequently. Allow them to dry thoroughly in-between waterings. In the wild, these succulents go dormant in summer, so water sparingly during the hotter months, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Watering during the summer is require only in very dry conditions.
During the winter months restrict water to about once a month or just enough to keep the foliage from shriveling. In extreme heat, their leaves will curl, to prevent excessive water loss.

It growing these succulents along the coast, the humidity and rains or mist will often be enough to satisfy the water needs of these plants.  But in dry climates they will probably need to be watered frequently or put on drip irrigation. They do not need to be thoroughly watered, though as the main water-absorbing roots are near the surface with the deeper roots functioning nearly solely as support.

Fertilisation: The Aeonium arboreum does not require much fertilizer. Two to three applications of a balanced fertilizer during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Aeonium arboreum are easy to propagate from tip cuttings. The best time to do this is early in the growth period. Cleanly detach a complete rosette together with 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) of stem, dip the stem into hormone rooting powder to encourage rooting and plant it is a moistened mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite.
Cuttings will root in two to there weeks in a warm room – 18 to 24°C (64-75°F) if given bright light and watered only enough to make the potting mixture barely moist. They can then be repotted in the potting mixture that is used for mature plants.
Propagate by seed sown at 18-24°C (64-75°F) in spring, but is a slow propagation method.

Problems: Aeonium arboreum plants enter dormancy as summer temperatures climb, dropping their foliage rosettes to direct energy toward their stems or growing tips and roots. Leaf loss from seasonal dormancy is temporary and natural and is not accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as wilting, discoloration or stem dieback. Fall rain revives the plants until colder temperatures set in and prompt a second, less profound dormancy period in winter.

Though Aeonium arboreum is not particularly susceptible to infestations, insect pests include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and thrips.
Treatment: Combat these  insects with horticultural soaps or neem oil. However, care should be taken when using soap spays as too frequent spraying can cause discoloration and lesions on the skin of the plant.

If an Aeonium arboreum succulent is planted in a site with poor drainage, its roots may rot.
Treatment: Root rot is prevented by using clay pots with good drainage or checking soil percolation prior to planting. Keep the roots moist but never soggy.

Temperatures below minus 7°C (20°F) will badly damage the leaf tips and may cause foliage loss. Conversely, direct sun exposure and temperatures above 38°C (100°F) will also cause foliage loss and damage, particularly if the soil is too dry.

Slugs, snails, deer, grasshoppers can do some damage to Aeonium arboreum plants and the occasional bird may take a bite.

Lifespan: Aeonium arboreum is a monocarpic species, meaning that it dies after flowering. It is expected to live about 3 to 10 years as it reach its full maturity. Although their yellow flowers are attractive, each time they bloom, a rosette dies. Flowering can be avoided by clipping off the flowerheads as they begin to emerge. Also, this succulent can be preserved in time by cutting the terminal rosette every year in late winter and propagating it by planting the rosette at the plant’s base, where it will form roots, creating a new Aeonium arboreum plant.

Recommended varieties:
Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum (Dark Purple Houseleek Tree, Black rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) has a slightly smaller deep purple leaves, but the colouring loses intensity if the plant is grown in full sunlight.

Aeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf (Aeonium Blacktop, Black Rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) is a variety with almost black foliage.

Aeonium arboreum var. albovariegatum is a variety with white margined leaves.

Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristata (Crested Black rose, Crested Black Beauty, Crested Black Tree Aeonium) is a crested succulent shrub that produces magnificent, fun shaped purple, leaf rosettes at the ends of its branches and seems to to change in and out of its crested mode during the years.

Companion plants: Consider growing Aeonium arboreum as part of a cactus or succulent display. It can be combined with other plants such as Aloe, Agave, Crassula (jade plants), evergreen Echeverias species  or can be combined with other members of its own genus.

Note: Aeonium species are often confused with Echeverias species or  other several rosette-like succulents such as Dudleyas, Graptopetalums, Pachyverias and Graptoverias species.
One thing that sets these plants apart is the way their leaves attach to the stem – they are wrapped around the stem with a fibrous attachment so that when a leaf is pulled away, the stem is intact with only a transverse line showing where the leaf was attached. The other rosette Crassulaceas have succulent attachments and their being pulled off the stem leaves a divot in the stem.

Uses and display: Aeonium arboreum make excellent bedding plants, since their architectural shape contrasts well with most other bedding plants. When grown in the garden, Aeonium arboreum command the most attention in masses.  Place them along sunny borders or in rockeries or they can be used as part of xeriscaping, being drought tolerant plants. These succulents are often used in architectural city and courtyard gardens in coastal mediterranean sub-tropical climate. In temperate or cooler zones, frost may kill the foliage and the rosette will fall off. If the plant is mulched it will grow a new one in spring.
Aeonium arboreum can also be used effectively planted in containers and grown indoors. Consider growing them as part of a cactus or succulent display. Aeonium arboreum is a tall variety with bonsai like look when they get shrubby. They can be trimmed if they get leggy.


Foliage – green or coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 90cm (3 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Aeonium arboreumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureumAeonium arboreum cv. SchwarzkopfAeonium arboreum var. albovariegatumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristataAeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf

Evergreen, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Haworthia pumila

Common name: Pearl Plant

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae

Synonymous: Aloe arachnoides var. pumila
Aloe granata
Aloe margaritifera
Aloe margaritifera var. maxima
Aloe papillosa
Aloe pumila
Aloe pumila var. margaritifera
Aloe semiglabrata
Aloe semimargaritifera
Aloe semimargaritifera var. multipapillosa
Aloe semimargaritifera var. major
Aloe semimargaritifera var. maxima
Aloe semimargaritifera var. minor
Aloe subalbicans
Aloe subalbicans var. laevior
Aloe subalbicans var. acuminata
Apicra margaritifera
Catevala margaritifera
Catevala semiglabrata
Haworthia corallina
Haworthia margaritifera
Haworthia margaritifera var. laevior
Haworthia margaritifera var. semimargaritifera
Haworthia margaritifera var. subalbicans
Haworthia maxima
Haworthia semiglabrata
Haworthia semimargaritifera
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. multiperla
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. maxima
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. major
Tulista margaritifera

Haworthia pumila

Haworthia pumila

Distribution and habitat: Haworthia is a genus of small succulent plants endemic to Southern Africa. Like the Aloes, they are members of the subfamily Asphodeloideae and they generally resemble miniature aloes, except in their flowers, which are characteristic in appearance. They are popular garden and container plants.
Haworthia pumila occurs in a winter rainfall area, which experiences mild frost, -2°C (28°F). Summers are hot, up to 44°C (111°F). Rainfall varies from 150mm (6 inch) (Worcester area) to 350mm (14 inch) (Montagu area). Haworthia pumila is not an endangered plant.

Description: Haworthia pumila is one of the most impressive and eventually large species of the genus. Haworthia pumila has triangular, rather tough, dark green leaves thickly spotted with pearly white warts. Stems are very short and the many leaved rosettes, which can attain a diameter of 15cm (6 inch) and a height of 7-10cm (3-4 inch), appears to be stemless. A cluster of rosettes form quickly (within about a year). The lower, older leaves of each rosette stand erect, but younger ones toward of the rosette centre curve inward. The 7mm (0.3 inch) thick leaves are about 9cm (3 inch) long and 3cm (1 inch) wide at the base. Leaf upper surfaces are flat, while the undersides are keeled toward the tips.
The flowers are somewhat larger than in other species, greenish to brownish-white in colour and waxy in texture (usually Haworthia flowers are white, but not in this case). The booming season is early summer and seed ripens in autumn.

Houseplant care: Haworthia pumila are classified as succulent – which means that they can cope with relatively harsh waterless hot environments. They are however not frost hardy, which means that for cultivation they need over the winter season either a sunny windowsill or preferably a greenhouse.
They are relatively slow-growing plants that offsets to form small clusters with time.

Light: Never place Haworthia pumila in direct sunlight. If exposed to summer sun, foliage will shrivel. Medium light suits this plant at all times. When the plants are provided with enough light, than the white tubercles from the leaves became more attractive.
It is recommended to move these house plants outdoors for the summer months.  Place them in light shaded area, but out of direct sun which can scorch its leaves.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures 18-24°C (65-75°F) spring through fall. They have a rest period from mid-winter to late spring and can survive temperatures down to 4-5°C (39-41°F). In winter, if possible, keep Haworthia pumila  cooler  – around 15°C (59°F) is the optimum winter temperature for this plant.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimeter (0.4 inch) or so to dry out between waterings. During the rest period water only enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out completely. Never let the potting mixture become completely dry, however. Although Haworthia pumila are succulent plants, they cannot survive total drought.

Feeding: It is neither necessary nor advisable to feed Haworthia pumila .

Longevity: Haworthia pumila plants live for about 30 to 40 years if they are cultivated properly.

Potting and repotting: Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part of coarse sand or perlite to two parts of standard soil-based mixture. Since Haworthia pumila plants are shallow rooted, half-pots are best suited to the clustering habit of the plants. In potting a specimen always leave a 4-5cm (1.5-2 inch) space between the edges of the cluster and the rim of the pot to allow room for new growth.
Repot in spring at the start of the growth period. After pulling or cutting off any dead or shriveled leaves, move each plant into a larger pot only if the rosette cluster covers the entire surface of the potting mixture. The largest pot size needed will be 12-15cm (5-6 inch). A plant that has grown beyond that size should be split up.

Gardening: Although the plant will survive mild frost if kept dry – hardy as low -2°C (28°F) – it should be protected from severe cold and prolonged frost conditions.

Position: Haworthia pumila requires light shade to bright light, protected from strong midday sun. In shade the body colour will remain mostly green, while full sun will darken it and give it red/brown body colour.
The amount of sunlight it can withstand without scorching depends upon the how hot it becomes in the summer in the locale in which it is planted. It will have more colour if it receives more light. During the spring it may be able to take full sun until the heat arrives at the end of spring. In an area that has hot afternoon sun, it may be able to take full morning sun, but requires afternoon shade or afternoon light shade. Can be sunburned if moved from shade/greenhouse into full sun too quickly.

Soil: Haworthia pumila are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A non-acid soil is ideal.

Irrigation: Watering varies depending on the plants position and temperature. Water them frequently when it is warm and dry (but not at the very peak of the heat- they seem to go through a period of summer dormancy at this time) and less to not at all in winter when it is cold. However,  Haworthia pumila plants or pots with succulent plants communities are sitting under the grey skies of winter storms and get a lot of rainwater at a time when they are probably mostly dormant. It seems that it is not be a problem for these plants.

Individual plants in smaller pots demand more attention. Water ideally when soil is getting dry and not if wet. When in doubt, best to skip watering as too much is worse than too little. Some pots dry out faster than others, too (if glazed, unglazed terracotta, metal, glass etc – all dry out at different rates).

Fertilising: Do NOT fertilize newly potted plants for the first year. After that, fertilize once in spring, once in fall with diluted fertiliser at half the recommended strength. Avoid summer fertilizing as plant is in a short rest period.

Propagation: Remove the offsets in summer; they should pull away easily. Pot up immediately any offset with roots already attached and treat it as a mature plant.
Allow an offset without roots to dry for three days, however, then press it into the potting mixture. At this stage it should be possible to treat the new plant as an adult Haworthia pumila.
To propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf and let it lie for about one month, giving the wound time to heal. Then lay the leaf on its side with the basal part buried in the soil. This leaf should root within a month or two, and small plants will form at the leaf base.
Haworthia pumila grow readily from seed. These plants have a tendency to hybridize so easily, however, that the results are likely to be unpredictable. Haworthia pumila grows relatively slowly from seed and it takes about 5 years for a plant to reach flowering maturity.

Problems: Given correct treatment, this plant is generally trouble free.

Stunted growth may indicate mealy bags infestation.
Treatment: Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

Rot is only a minor problem with Haworthia if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. Haworthia species can lose their roots periodically. They can rot with too much moisture, especially when there is a sudden temperature drop.
Treatment: There are two ways to handle this:
1. Simply leave the plant on its side and when ‘bumps’ which are the new roots start to appear (It may take a few weeks), pot the plant in soil and water normally. Mist it occasionally for encouragement.
2. The second method is more like how it happens in nature and is my preferred method. Be sure the plant is in well-draining soil and water normally. In a month or so,  gently tug and feel the roots taking hold–if the roots are not holding, don’t worry. Just put the plant back in the soil and wait a little longer.
If the plant has lost its roots and is severely dehydrated at the same time, it may be too far gone to save. But always it is worth a try.

When watering, avoid getting the leaves wet. Like other succulents, it is prone to rot if its leaves get too wet. If they are not, fungicides won’t help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing and cooler and dry when dormant.

Reddish colour can mean many things besides root loss. Many of Haworthia turn red when the temperature drops or when they get too much sunlight. A plant can loose their reddish colour turning in green later as the environment condition are changed.

Uses and display: Haworthia pumila can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants or in outdoor rockeries.
Haworthias are small, making them beautiful additions to succulent and cactus dish gardens.


Foliage – coloured
Shape – rosette
Height:  15cm (6 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 4°C max 18°C (39-59°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

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