Aloe speciosa is an easy-to-grow succulent plant that thrives in warm temperatures and bright light. So if you’re planning on introducing one to your garden, it won’t go amiss to brush up on the dos and don’ts of the succulent world.
This guide will teach you how to care for a Tilt-Head Aloe and keep it healthy.
in this article:
About Aloe speciosa
Aloe speciosa is a beautiful mid-sized succulent plant that can be grown indoors and outdoors. Commonly known as the Tilt-Head Aloe, it has a striking appearance, adding interest to any space.
It forms a rosette of long, thick, and fleshy leaves with a rough texture. Under direct sunlight or stress, the leaves tend to blush red.
Related Article: An overview of different types of Aloes
Like Aloe ferox, the rosettes are formed on a single thick stem emerging straight from the ground. This stem is usually covered in the old shells of older leaves on adult specimens, a distinctly Aloe-like behavior.
Aloe speciosa is called Tilt-Headed Aloe because it tends to bend towards light no matter where it is planted.
|Botanical Name||Aloe speciosa|
|Common Name||Tilt-Head Aloe|
|Bloom color||Red, White|
Aloe speciosa Care
Like other Aloe species, the Tilt-Headed Aloe requires very little care. However, once established, it is tough to mess up its maintenance as it will survive anything thrown at and then some.
Tilt-Headed Aloe can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It will grow faster and taller in full sun than in light shade, but this is not always a good thing as the plant tends to stretch out and lose its attractive shape.
If you want to see it turning its head, starve it of some light and see what happens. However, be careful not to overdo it.
Aloe speciosa is a very hardy plant that will grow in almost any type of soil. It does best in well-drained soil with some organic matter but can also grow in sandy or clay soil. As long as the soil is not submerged in water, this Aloe can adapt to almost any situation.
Aloe speciosa is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive prolonged periods of lack of water. However, it also needs regular watering to grow well and remain healthy.
The trick is only water when the soil is dry and water deeply. Then, after a watering session, you want to see the drainage holes doing their job and draining the water quickly.
Temperature and Humidity
Aloe speciosa can survive in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). The plant also does not require high humidity levels, but it enjoys some airflow and ventilation.
The ideal temperature range for the Tilt-Head Aloe is between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Tilt-Head Aloe does not require heavy fertilization and can be grown in soil with no fertilizer at all. If you decide to use fertilizer, choose a water-soluble balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.
The best time to fertilize is during the active growing season from spring through fall; once a season is more than enough.
Pruning is not necessary for the Tilt-Head Aloe, but it does help with the plant’s appearance. If you want a fuller look or a smaller plant, prune back any dead or dying leaves and stems.
Note that the dead leaves covering the stem serve as protection from the elements. If your home tends to get cold, leave them be.
Potting and Repotting Tilt-Head Aloe
Aloe speciosa is not a complex plant to repot. It can handle being transplanted and adapts to its new environment in just a few weeks.
The best time to repot your Tilt-Head Aloe is during the active growing season from spring through fall.
If you’ve noticed that your plant has outgrown its container, it’s time for a change.
Note that eventually, the plant will outgrow containers. It will require solid ground in a garden to continue to grow. If you don’t have the extra space needed, you can give it away or plant it in the backyard.
How to Repot (Step-by-Step)
- Remove the plant from its pot/container and place it on a tarp or in a new pot.
- Use a trowel or plastic spoon to loosen the soil around the roots, making sure not to damage them. Remove any dead leaves clinging to the plant, then gently pull apart any clumps of roots with your fingers.
- Place some soil into the bottom of your new container and gently place your plant inside—making sure it’s at least an inch above ground level (this will help prevent water from getting trapped in between).
- Add more soil until it covers about two-thirds of the plant’s root ball—not too much!
- Gently pack down the soil around your plant with your fingers, then water thoroughly until all the new potting soil is saturated.
Propagating Aloe speciosa by Seeds (Step-by-Step)
Seeds are the most reliable method of propagation for the Tilt-Head Aloe. They can either be harvested from homegrown specimens or bought from the store. Here’s the rundown:
- Sow the seeds in a seed starter tray under a thin layer of sand or breathable and airy potting soil.
- Keep the container warm and humid but offer protection from direct sunlight. Indirect or filtered sunlight is the way.
- Once the baby aloes have sprouted, move them into larger containers.
- Water sparingly until they are well established.
- Transplant them outdoors when temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C) and keep them watered until they are fully established.
The Tilt-Head Aloe bears spectacular flowers come summer. One to four inflorescences rise from the center of the rosette and peek just above the foliage. The flowers are arranged in a conical cluster.
They are deep red in the bud and transition to greenish-white and then reddish-brown as they bloom. They offer a burst of color, adding interest to the garden.
Interestingly, the name ‘speciosa‘ refers to the flowers’ vibrance and colorfulness.
Aloe speciosa is non-toxic. However, avoid ingesting it if possible, as it may have adverse side effects in sensitive individuals.
NOTE: This page is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. The toxicity of an ingested substance varies depending on the amount ingested, the animal’s weight, and its sensitivity to specific allergens. Contact your veterinarian or local animal poison control center immediately if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance.
Mealybugs are small, oval-shaped bugs that attach themselves to the plant and suck sap from it. This causes leaf loss and yellowing, as well as stunting the plant’s growth. You can kill mealybugs by dabbing rubbing alcohol on them or spraying them with a mixture of half water and half soap.
Scale insects are small, hard-shelled bugs that cling to the plant and suck sap from it. They’re tough to see without magnification, but they can be identified by their egg sacs, which look like little white bumps on the underside of leaves. Rubbing alcohol and neem oil are practical solutions to be rid of them.
Aphids are small bugs that feed on plants and leave them looking unhealthy. They secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts ants and encourages the growth of sooty mold fungus. To kill these pests, use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- Placing under harsh sunlight
- Using poorly drained potting mediums
- Fertilizing during dormancy