27 July 2017

Aloe Houseplant of the Month August

Aloe Houseplant of the Month August

The story of Aloe
Very tough, strong shapes and easy to live with: Aloe (officially known as: Aloe vera) has thick blue-green leaves which reach a length of 40-50 cm and grow up in spikes from a rosette up to a maximum of 100 cm. The leaves are greyish green and have serrated edges. Aloe is an exceptionally resilient plant which stores moisture and nutrients in the leaves in order to get through dry periods. The plant blooms in the summer, and helps keep the air in your home clean.

The name derives from the Arabic word 'Alloeh', which means 'shiny bitter fluid'. This refers to the cooling, gel-like liquid in the leaves. 'Vera' effectively means 'the real thing'. There are some 300 species. As a desert plant, Aloe must survive in an extreme climate, which is why it produces more than 75 substances to help it cope. For example, if a leaf is damaged the 'wound' will immediately be sealed with coagulating sap in order to retain as much moisture as possible, just as with humans. The active ingredients in Aloe have also been found to have healing properties for humans

The Aloe range is constantly expanding thanks to the continuing trend for decorative succulent plants such as cacti and other succulents with decorative leaves like Agave, Echeveria, Crassula, Haworthia and Senecio. Aloe vera is by far the best-known member of the Aloe range. Serrated green-blue leaves form the basis for the rosette in which the plant grows. There is also Aloe arborescens, which means 'tree-like'. This plant has a coarser structure and slightly curling leaves. Aloe humilis (which means 'staying close to the ground') is a compact rosette with leaves edged with white 'teeth'. Other Aloe species are A. aristata 'Cosmo' (green), A. squarrosa (star-shaped rosettes) and A. 'Pink Blush' (pinkish markings on the leaf rosette).