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Soap aloe    

Aloe maculata

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Soap aloe is part of the Aloe genus. Its scientific name is Aloe maculata. The botanical name epithet for Soap aloe (maculata) means 'spotted'.

Aloe saponaria grows as a stemless rosette and produces offsets around its margins. The leaves are succulent with white or cream colored speckles. It has sharp teeth on the leave edges. The teeth on the leaves are so sharp that can snag pants and pierce little legs so use good judgement on where to grow this plant. Grows better in partial sun and normally needs very little irrigation. Salt and drought tolerant soap aloe is a good plant for rock and cactus gardens. It is also great for growing in containers. Hummingbirds are attracted to the showy flowers.

The sap from the juicy leaves make suds in water and can be used as a soap substitute.4

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Red-orange and   Munsell Yellow and   Outrageous Orange.

It is a flowering succulent / flower that typically grows as an evergreen, which is defined as a plant that retains leaves throughout the year.

Normally grows with a clump-forming habit.

This plant is a great attractor for birds, so if you are looking to attract wildlife Soap aloe is a great choice.

South Africa is believed to be where Soap aloe originates from.

Soap aloe needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Soap aloe have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Soap aloe

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Very Low

Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to water very sparingly. Use Zone 8 - Zone 11 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Soap aloe needs a sandy soil with a ph of 6.1 to 7.8 (weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil). Keep in mind when planting that Soap aloe is thought of as half hardy, so remember to protect this plant from frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Soap aloe to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Soap aloe from seed

Transplanting Soap aloe

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Soap aloe is a half hardy plant.

How long does Soap aloe take to grow?

These estimates for how long Soap aloe takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

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Soap aloe Etymology

The genus name Aloe is derived from the Arabic, Alloch or Alloeh2, and translated as Allal in Greek and Hebrew, meaning “shining bitter substance”, which describes aloe sap3.

The species name saponaria (which is the previous name for this plant), comes from the Latin “sapo”, which means soap since the sap makes a soapy lather in water.

Its currently accepted name is Aloe maculata which means speckled or marked.1

Other names for Soap aloe

African aloe, zebra aloe, aloe saponaria

Aloe saponaria

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2 “The South African Gardeners Survival Manual, by Ann Bonar; First published 1985”

3 Aloe Vera

4 Floridata entry on aloe saponaria saponaria/642

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