Aloe marlothii care infographicAloe marlothii, or the Mountain aloe, is an extraordinary species from the shrub family called the Asphodelaceae. They are succulent plants that are self-sustaining and can grow up to 10 feet high.

Their broad leaves and dramatic flowers make them a very interesting houseplant. Continue reading to discover more about this plant and how to properly care for it.

Quick Overview

Here is a handy table of this plant’s requirements.

Requirements Aloe Marlothii
Light Loves full bright sunlight
Water Water when top inch of soil is dry; highly drought-tolerant
Soil Loves soil that does not hold on to water and drains extra quickly
Temperature Lowest temperature that it can tolerate is 20 degrees Fahrenheit

What is Aloe Marlothii?

The Aloe Marlothii is a drought-tolerant aloe known for its large, robust head and the beautiful, rigid, grayish-green leaves that can grow as big as 5 feet in length. The leaves have plenty of spines on the convex side and less on the concave side. This plant is named after a South African botanist born in Germany, Rudolf Marloth.

Aloe marlothii has more thrones when it is young and small. As it grows bigger and taller, it gets out of reach of animals and loses its spines. The trunk is densely covered with old withered leaves and creates an intriguing look.

– Flowers

Aloe marlothii (mountain aloe)The flower is a combination of branches with up to 30 or 50 racemes. The blooms are deep orange mostly and can be yellow or red. Aloe marlothii goes into flowering during winter, like other aloe plants.

What makes the flowers of Aloe marlothii different from other aloes is that the flowers grow on horizontal branches. Sometimes, it’s called the flat-flowered aloe for the same reason. The dense flowers point towards the raceme. 

Flowers also help in identifying this plant. When it is not blooming, it can be confused with the Zimbabwe aloe, cape aloe or the African aloe plants.

Care

Aloe marlothii is a very easy plant to grow in outdoor gardens. Rock gardens, succulent gardens and even low space gardens host this low-maintenance plant happily. They are ideally planted 72 inches apart and can attract birds and pollinators when it is flowering. Aloe marlothii will grow easily and will need less care in South African gardens

It is recommended for gardens from its native zones where it rains during summers, since the rainfall species naturally thrives in warm, damp summers and dry winters. If the plant is in a similar climate, it needs less care and water management. During cultivation, the plant will need extra watering during summer and winter. Be mindful when it comes to watering your plants, since overwatering can kill it too. 

In short, it is important to know , what your growing conditions are, and what it specifically needs from you. Let us loowhere this plant comes fromk at its basic care requirements through our care guide.

– Soil

Succulents like well-draining soil. Aloe marlothii plants also love soil that does not hold on to water and drains extra quickly. For this reason, a soil mixture that is sand-based is perfect. Loam or sandy soil works best, and a pH that is alkaline, neutral or acidic is suitable.

For a potted plant, you can mix perlite for better drainage. Outdoors, Aloe marlothii will also grow in gravel and rocky areas. 

At least one-quarter part of the soil mixture should be compost and one-quarter river silt. This can be added to clay soils to improve drainage, and bone meal can be added in abundance to the soil mixture during the time of plantation. This will lead to healthy roots and boost its growth.

– Water

Aloe marlothii is a succulent and, therefore, highly drought-tolerant. It needs less water, but in the first few weeks, it needs to be irrigated twice a week. The frequency can be reduced later on, since overwatering kills the plant and permanently damages the roots. 

To check if your plant needs water, test the soil first by digging through an inch of soil and feeling it on your fingers. If it feels dry then water it, if not, wait for a couple of days.

Overwatering leads to brown foliage, and underwater plants will look stressed and discolored.

– Temperature

Aloe marlothii is adaptable to various growing zones but likes to be in zone 91-11b. The lowest temperature that it can tolerate is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so it does not handle winters well. A potted plant can be brought inside during the colder months. 

Outdoor plants can also be covered with glass boxes or plastic frames to keep them warm during these cold months.

– Light

Aloe marlothii loves the full bright sun. It may show signs of weakness or poor growth when the plant is left in the shade or in low light. In its native environment, it grows on rocky grounds and mountains that are exposed to bright sunlight all the time. 

 

Propagation

Propagation is an excellent way to multiply your plants. It is done in many ways, and its purpose may also change. One thing to remember is that you need to do it in the right season. Always use sterilized tools and remember to protect young plants until they develop strength.

There are many ways to propagate Aloe marlothii plants. The most popular methods are:

  1. Propagation by leaf cutting
  2. Propagation by seed
  3. Propagation by offsets

The following propagation guide will take you through each step and make it easy for you to multiply your plants.

– Leaves

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when propagating Aloe marlothii from leaves.

  1. Carefully separate a healthy leaf from the plant.
  2. Make sure that no part of the leaf is left attached to the stem.
  3. Allow it to form a callus. This will take a few days.
  4. Use a well-draining soil mixture for the plantation.
  5. Take a pot that has enough drainage holes and put the potting mixture inside.
  6. Plant your leaf and water it well.
  7. Make sure that the soil mixture is dry before you water it again.

– Offsets

Aloe marlothii, or the Mountain aloe, grows well from its offsets. This could be the most effective way to multiply your plants. Offsets are produced as little baby plants around the stems. 

It may take years for this aloe variety to establish itself and to be able to grow offsets, but once it starts growing young plants, it will be a treat! Here is a simple way to use these offsets and grow them individually.

  1. Using a sterilized sharp knife, remove an offset from the parent plant.
  2. Clean the excess soil from it after removing it.
  3. Let it form a callus before you plant it into the ground.
  4. Make sure the soil is well-draining and suitable for succulents.
  5. Do not forget to water immediately after transplanting aloes and water again only when the soil is dry.

– Seed

Aloe marlothii grows as a slow-growing succulent that produces flowers during autumn or winter. Soon, the flower will dry out and leave seeds that can be planted.

This is not a recommended method as it’s hard to get good results from it, but if you want to give it a try, here is what you must do:

  1. Take a pot with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining soil mixture.
  2. Scatter the seeds on top and cover it lightly with soil.
  3. Water it gently and leave the pot outdoors.
  4. Water when needed.

Problems

The chubby-leaved succulent, Aloe marlothii, has many plus points as a houseplant. Besides being a medicinal and low-maintenance plant, it also offers excellent blooms and structures in the garden. It is generally a problem-free plant but has a set of issues associated with water management or potting medium.

– Brown Plant

A browning Aloe marlothii plant may be because it is suffering from too much or too little water. Other reasons could be surplus salt in the soil, fungus, disease, sunburn, chemical overdose, toxicity or nutrient deficiency. You will learn from trial and error if there is no proper way to test the soil. 

– Overwatering

Water is mainly the main cause of the browning of the aloe plant, so make sure that the plant is not overwatered. The sign that it is getting too much water is that it will start wilting, have brown spots in the leaves, and develop brownish leaves. 

To solve this problem, you will have to repot the plant and make sure that the pot has drainage holes besides having a well-draining soil mix. Check for root rot. If roots have been damaged by overwatering, there is no chance for the plant to survive. You can take cuttings off of any healthy leaves and restart.

– Underwatering

The leaves’ health shows the actual problem with the plant. Good, healthy leaves look plump and have a shiny green color, while underwatered plants have puckered, discolored leaves. To correct this problem, water the plant at proper intervals each week, for example, twice a week. Take note that the plant needs less watering during winter. 

– Chemical and Salt Buildup

Chemicals and salt begin to pile up in the soil if you overdose them on the plant. The soil may have a surplus of these and turn toxic. Plants can also be exposed to herbicide spray from neighbors or face splashes of cleaning chemicals.

These can lead to burned roots and cause your aloe plant to turn brown. There are two ways to solve these problems:

  1. Leach the soil with water 
  2. Repot the plant

– Pests

Pests and diseases can be transferred from one plant to the other. Avoid planting your plant close to other plants that are prone to them. Here are a few pests that can invade this plant and some diseases that can make it sick:

  • White scale is an ugly pest and can effectively wrap the whole plant with its colonies that look like white cloudy formations. Control by washing either with soapy water, neem oil or nicotine sulfate. 
  • Aloe rust fungus creates black spots on the foliage and cannot be restrained by spraying fungicide. Remove infected leaves and keep plants healthy by feeding them well-balanced fertilizers. Remove the whole plant if severely impacted.
  • Mites cause aloe cancer and can lead to malformed leaves and inflorescences. It is ideal to pull the entire plant from the garden to prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Snout beetles are deadly as they wreak havoc by excavating into the stem and laying their eggs inside. These eggs hatch and develop into larvae, which then eat the stem from inside, making it hollow and leading to the collapse of the entire plant. It is treated by piercing a little hole in the stem to inject a systemic insecticide.

Uses

The blooms of the Aloe marlothii plant are packed with juicy nectar and can nourish sunbirds. Zulus use the leaf and root for roundworm infestations, and horses are also treated with this plant besides being a remedy for curing stomach problems.

Conclusion

Mountain Aloe (aloe marlothii)Aloe marlothii is a super attractive variety that is drought-tolerant, produces excellent flowers and has plenty of uses. It grows easily in pots and it is suitable for many types of outdoor or indoor gardens.

  • Aloe marlothii grows in well-drained soil mixtures that can be enriched with one part compost and plenty of bone meal
  • It tolerates full sunlight and warm climates
  • The succulent plant needs less water and thrives in low humidity 
  • The lowest temperature an Aloe marlothii plant can tolerate is 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperatures lower than that will affect the plant. Remember, it doesn’t manage cold seasons well
  • It is easy to propagate by leaf cuttings, sowing seeds and planting offsets
  • The plant blooms in autumn or early winter and displays beautiful horizontal orange, yellow or red blooms
  • Aloe marlothii flowers are rich in nectar that attracts sunbirds 
  • The shiny green leaves have spikes that reduce as the plant grows
  • Aloe marlothii leaves show signs of illness when they lose their color due to underwatering or when they turn brown due to overwatering
  • The plant also gets attacked by a number of pests and diseases
  • Native people of South Africa use the leaves and roots of the plant for various remedies 
  • Aloe marlothii grows several feet tall and will also spread if allowed to grow
  • The flowers make it a very unique aloe variety
  • The appearance of a mature plant is quite unusual too

This plant will fit perfectly well into a rock garden or a succulent garden that is low-maintenance. Grow your Aloe marlothii using our guide above to thoroughly enjoy this experience!

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