Aloe Plicatilis (AL-oh Ply-KAY-til-iss) is a succulent shrub or small tree in the genus Kumara.
This plant, also known as Kumara Plicatilis, belongs to the Asphodelaceae family.
Recently, it has been proposed this plant shouldn’t be added in Aloiampelos, the tree Aloe genus.
This plant is native to the Fynbos Ecoregion Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa, and areas experiencing high winter rainfalls.
This aloe plant is also found in rocky slopes and is ideal for growing in areas with cold, wet winters and dry, hot summers.
The scientific name of this plant is Kumara Plicatilis (L.) G.D.Rowley.
Its synonyms include:
- Kumara Disticha
- Aloe Disticha var. Plicatilis
- A. Tripetala
- A. Linguiformis
- Aloe Lingua
- A. Flabelliformis
Its common names include:
- Fan Aloe
- Franschhoek Aloe
- French Hoek Aloe
- Book-Leaf Aloe
It is sometimes also referred to as Cape Quivertree due to its striking resemblance to Aloidendron Dichotomum.
Aloe Plicatilis Plant Care
Size & Growth
The stunning tree grows about 8’ feet tall and 6’ feet wide with a gray trunk supporting its multiple forked branches.
Each branch produces inflorescence clusters of blue-green or grey-green oblong leaves.
These leaves have a fan-like shape and are fleshy and flattened without any spines.
They grow about 12” inches long and 2” inches wide.
As the plant matures, the lower leaves start dying, exposing its trunk.
Flowering and Fragrance
During early spring or late winter bloom time, each leaf cluster produces cylindrical racemes with about 30 to 50 tubular red flowers.
Each flower is approximately 2” inches tall, and the flower color may range from crimson to orange.
Light & Temperature
The Fan Aloe requires plenty of light for healthy growth and to bloom to its fullest.
It is optimal to place the plant under the full sun during less warm temperatures and transfer under partial shade during the summer season.
Keep in mind the harsh afternoon sun in the summer months might result in leaf burns.
The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are from 9 to 12.
Make sure to avoid keeping these succulent plants below the temperature of 50° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C) as it may encourage the growth of fungi around the roots, causing root rot.
Watering and Feeding
- The water needs of this plant are the same as other succulents.
- The plant prefers the scarcity of water to excessive watering.
- It is recommended you water when the soil completely dries off during its growing season.
- The plant is highly drought-tolerant throughout its summer dormancy, which is why it is better to water sparingly.
- During its growing season, feed the plant two to three times with liquid fertilizer.
Soil & Transplanting
It prefers to grow in well-draining, gravelly, or sandy soil.
It is optimal if it grows in slightly acidic soil.
However, the Fan Aloe also grows well in any other type of soil as long as there is good drainage.
You may further nurture the plant by adding good compost, like organic mulch consisting of decayed leaves, grass cuttings, and coarse compost.
Grooming and Maintenance
The Fan Aloe requires minimal care and is easily grown, making it an excellent option for those who are starting out with cacti and succulents.
The plant doesn’t even need much pruning as old leaves naturally drop off.
Keep the compact shape of this plant by removing the spent flower spikes and damaged branches.
Make sure to remove any branches showing signs of rot to prevent the spread.
How to Propagate Fan Aloe
This South African plant is propagated using seeds or stem cuttings.
However, the best results are achieved through stem cuttings.
When using the seeds for propagation, be sure to sow them in a well-draining potting mixture.
Water thoroughly until the plant is established.
Transfer the plant to its permanent position and limit the watering.
When using the stem cutting method, be sure to use garden shears or a sharp, sterile knife to cut the plant.
- Gently remove the branch or stem from a mature tree and leave it for a few days to callous.
- Next, plant each cutting in individual containers or pots filled with a well-draining potting mixture.
- Let the soil dry out completely between watering.
Fan Aloe Plant Pest or Diseases
Be on a lookout for slugs, snails, aphids, and mealybugs, as they tend to attack the Fan Aloe.
Learn about Bugs on Succulents
It might also get attacked by occasional birds.
Therefore, ensure the plant is placed in a location where birds are unable to reach it.
Moreover, pests infestation should be treated immediately to prevent severe damage.
Otherwise, it might also lead to bacteria or viruses, which are easily transmitted through those pests.
The major enemy of this plant is fungi, which is typically caused due to high humidity or if the plant stands in still water for a prolonged time.
Avoid overwatering the plant.
This plant is deer resistant.
Aloe Plicatilis Plant Uses
This attractive accent plant looks excellent in Mediterranean gardens, succulent gardens, coastal gardens, rock gardens, and in borders and beds.
Since the trunk of this plant is fire-resistant, it also makes a good addition in a xeriscaped garden.
It also attracts hummingbirds and bees.
Aside from ornamental uses, this plant is also utilized in traditional medicine for stimulating immune systems and for diabetes treatment.