Lace Aloe, scientifically known as Aristaloe aristata, is a distant cousin of other aloe plants.
Unlike other true aloes, lace aloe grows quickly and has adapted to survive in cold and harsh conditions. As a result, it’s the perfect succulent for beginners.
Lace Aloe is not a true aloe and has more in common with succulents like Zebra Aloe (Haworthia) than plants such as Aloe vera.
Furthermore, Aristaloe aristata is the only species in its genus. As a result, it is sometimes incorrectly grouped into the Aloe genus as Aloe aristata. While it may look similar to other aloe species, it has a unique genome and a different ancestor.
This species is also called the guinea-fowl aloe and the torch plant.
The leaves of this succulent can reach lengths of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters).
The plant has a deep green color and white spikes that line the edges of its leaves. Each leaf has white spots that form bands running horizontal across the leaf.
This particular species is native to South Africa and has adapted to a wide range of conditions. As a result, it can survive in harsh desert landscapes and on freezing mountain tops.
Lace Aloe Temperature Requirements:
Similar to most other succulents and true aloe plants, Aristaloe aristata does best in constant temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). They can tolerate slow fluctuations outside of this range for some time.
Additionally, lace aloe tolerates temperatures as low as 20°F (-7°C) for a short time. They also survive temperatures above 90°F (32°C) for some time, although too much direct sunlight can be harmful.
If this species is exposed to temperatures below 20°F (-7°C) or above 90°F (32°C) for long periods of time they may become damaged or wilt.
If temperatures do become dangerous and the plant is outside, bring the plant indoors.
For lace aloe planted outdoors, make sure to keep it shaded on hot summer days and covered during cold winters.
Also, if you live in USDA agricultural zones 8-11 (or higher) then Aristaloe aristata can remain outdoors all year.
Lastly, keep these plants away from drafts. Drafts can dry out leaves and chill plants, causing damage.
Similar to most other succulents, lace aloe requires a lot of sunlight and thrives in bright locations.
This species should receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day for optimal growth. If growing these plants indoors, place them near a south facing window (or north facing if in the southern hemisphere) to ensure they get enough sunlight.
Be careful not to give Aristaloe aristata more than 8 hours of direct sunlight as their leaves are prone to sunburn.
Grow lights are a great indoor alternative if window space isn’t available or if the weather is often cloudy.
Place the lights 12 inches (30 centimeters) above the plants and leave them on for 12-16 hours a day.
*Sunspot Nursery recommends using LED grow lights because they energy/cost efficient and do not produce a lot of heat.
If plants begin to grow outstretched and have thin, spindly leaves, then they are not receiving enough light.
On the other hand, if the leaves begin to turn deep purple or begin to dry up, they are sunburned.
If you have any problems with succulents growing outstretched or leggy, check out our webpage: Sun Spot Nursery – Leggy Succulents
Lace Aloe Water Requirements:
This plant does well in dry environments like other succulents, but it can survive with regular waterings. Because of its hardiness, it can also survive extended periods of time without water.
Water lace aloe plants thoroughly every week or two. Make sure to water the base of the plant to prevent water from sitting in the leaves.
Ideally, water when the top inch (2.5 centimeters) of the soil has dried out completely.
This allows enough water to drain to prevent rot but ensure that the plant does not dry out.
During the winter allow the soil to dry more by reducing watering to twice a month or so. This gives the plant time to go dormant and prepare for spring growth.
Lastly, proper drainage is essential for succulents and plants in general. Make sure pots have drainage holes and that water does not sit in the pot.
If water is allowed to sit for long periods of time, the roots of the plant are likely to rot.
Utilizing the right soil helps to keep plants in good health and promotes growth.
Succulents and cacti require fast draining soils that can easily be found in-store or bought online.
Some great soil choices include:
- Cactus/Citrus Mixes
- Sand and soil Mixtures
- Perlite and Lava Rock Additives
Additionally, add a layer of rock or coarse gravel to the top of the soil. This helps water to drain down away from the roots.
Rock layers also stop water from disrupting the soil, making the top of the pot look even.
Furthermore, try adding some organic matter like leaves, manure, or compost to the soil.
Some organic matter can help promote growth if used in small amounts with the soil.
Fertilizing Lace Aloe:
As with most other succulents, lace aloe does not need fertilizer to survive. However, using fertilizer is a great way to encourage growth and flowering.
The best fertilizers for Aristaloe aristata are cactus, citrus, or succulent specific varieties.
Conventional phosphorous heavy liquid fertilizers work well also.
The best time to fertilize succulents is in the late winter or early spring, right as the plants exit their dormant phase and start to put out new growth.
Add fertilizer once a month when watering to help boost new growth.
Additionally, solid plant foods and slow release fertilizers are another great way to provide succulents with more beneficial nutrients.
Also, try to replace the soil for lace aloe every one to two years, especially if not using fertilizer. This helps bring in extra nutrients as the old soil loses some over time.
Lace Aloe Propagation:
Aristaloe aristata is easy to propagate and is a clumping variety of succulent. This means that it spreads quickly through offsets from the main plant.
If lace aloe receives all of the care it needs, it will produce offsets (little plants) that will grow over time.
The offsets will eventually produce their own roots systems and can be carefully separated from the main plant once they are a few inches or centimeters tall.
The larger the offset is, the easier it is to separate. Larger offsets also have a greater chance of survival and are more resilient.
To separate offsets from the main plant, use a sharp cutting tool sterilized in alcohol to make a cut at the base of the main plant where it connects to the offset.
Move the offsets into their own pots with moist soil. Once the offsets form their own roots (if they haven’t already), care for them as normal.
For added chance of success, try using rooting hormone.
Apply rooting hormone directly onto the open cut of the offset plants to help them develop stronger root systems.
If you are interested in seeing more about this plant, check out https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/aloe-aristata for design and potting inspiration.