Coral aloe (Aloe striata) is a strikingly beautiful, hardy and easy-to-grow succulent.
The thick, wide leaves on this plant are smoother than the more typically serrated or spined varieties typically found on aloe species. Flowering in the late winter and early spring months, the eye-catching coral red blooming inflorescences bring color to a garden when it's needed the most.
The nectar from the blooms is attractive to hungry insects and hummingbirds during a season when food can be scarce.
It forms in clumps and usually won't grow higher than three feet in height. Unlike many aloes, it's a solitary species that doesn't grow offsets that can be replanted.
Compared with other aloes, Coral is regarded as particularly hardy. It can cope with a wide range of temperatures, including dry, intense heat and mild frosts. If winters are harsh, however, it's best to grow the plant in a pot so that it can be overwintered in a sheltered position.
Thriving in sunny and dry conditions, it's ideal for xeriscape landscaping and rock and herb gardens, or for growing in containers indoors.
|Botanical Name||Aloe Striata|
|Common Name||Coral aloe|
|Mature Size||Up to 24 in. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full, partial|
|Soil Type||Well-draining, loamy, sandy|
|Soil pH||Acid, neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Winter, spring|
|Hardiness Zones||9 - 11, USA|
A low-maintenance plant, the Coral aloe is a good choice for novice gardeners or those that have never been particularly green-fingered. Providing it gets enough sun and isn't overwatered, it'll do well in containers indoors and in a variety of garden settings.
Coral aloes can be grown in full sun or partial shade. If they get a lot of sunlight, the leaves will take on a red hue. In a shadier spot, they remain a bluey-green.
If the summer is particularly hot and dry, it's a good idea to protect them from too much intense reflected sun.
As with most succulents, Coral aloe does best in a sandy, gravelly soil type. Above all, it should be well-draining. Overly wet soil is one thing that you should avoid to ensure this plant doesn't die away as a result of root rot.
A drought-resistant species, Coral aloe is ideal for dry, infertile soils. Although it can handle extended periods without being watered, it does best with regular watering during the summer when they're growing. This will encourage rapid and healthy growth, and the succulent leaves will look fuller.
Make sure you allow the soil to fully dry out before rewatering and using tepid rather than cold water is best.
During the winter months, when the plant is dormant, it should only require watering very occasionally.
Temperature and Humidity
This species is surprisingly cold hardy. It can tolerate temperatures low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, though, if you experience frost in your region, it would be best to overwinter your Coral aloe indoors, or at least plant it in a sheltered area.
These plants can struggle to recover if they're exposed to prolonged periods of frost and will die if the frosting is harsh.
Your Coral aloe will appreciate an annual application of fertilizer in the spring. Be careful, however, not to over-fertilize as this can result in thin and overly long leaves developing.
Propagating Coral Aloe
Unlike most other aloe species, established Corals don't produce offsets around their base that can be removed to create new plants. Division of the clump itself, however, is nice and easy. Many growers divide their Coral aloe clump every few years to encourage vigorous new growth.
It can be beneficial to remove dead flower heads in late spring or early summer. You can do this easily by individually pulling them out by hand.
How to Grow Coral Aloe From Seed
As with most aloe species, it's easy to grow this plant from seeds. They germinate easily providing you sow them in a well-draining medium and only lightly cover the seeds.
They can be sown any time of the year indoors, but it's a good idea to cover them with a bag or germinate them in a propagator to keep them moist. The seedlings don't appreciate it if you let the potting medium dry out — but beware of oversaturation too. The ideal temperature for germination is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The time it takes for the seedlings to appear can vary considerably. It can take anything from one to six months for them to be ready for transplanting.