Aloe maculata 'Yellow Form' (Yellow Soap Aloe)
Aloe maculata 'Yellow Form' (Yellow Soap Aloe) is a stemless succulent, up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall and up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, that may grow…
Soap aloe, Aloe maculata is also known as Aloe saponaria. Like most aloes, soap aloe grows as a small rosette, keeping its leaves in a tight cluster at the base and staying relatively small, making it a great choice for an accent among other, drought-hardy plants in your garden.
Soap aloe grows to only about a foot tall and 18 inches wide at maturity, but from early spring through early summer, you’ll be delighted with the towering bloom stalk that will be topped with red-orange or bright yellow flowers. Plus, these flowers attract bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds like magnets.
Listed as hardy to zone 8, unlike many other succulent plants, this aloe reliably survives our Central Texas winters. But if it is damaged by any unseasonably frosty temperatures, it normally recovers quite easily.
Although soap aloe does just fine in full sun, it’ll look a little beefier, greener, and healthier if given afternoon shade. As with most succulents, be sure to plant soap aloe only in areas of very well-drained soil and water sparingly, if at all.
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March To Do List
Plant: ornamental & wildlife
- Annuals: It’s a tricky month for annuals since we get hot days. But the soil is still cold and freezes could still arrive. Late: plant cosmos, sunflowers, morning glory, gomphrena but keep an eye on upcoming freezes. Avoid planting caladiums.
- Wildflower transplants: early in month, you can still plant bluebonnet, larkspur, poppy and other transplants.
- Perennials & vines
- Ornamental (clumping) grasses like muhly and Mexican feather grass (late month)
- Trees, shrubs, roses (as soon as possible before heat sets in)
- Nasturtiums, chives, catnip, comfrey, fennel, horseradish, feverfew, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Mexican mint marigold, peppermint, lemongrass (after last freeze)
Plant: food crops
- Chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, endive, Malabar spinach, mustard, peppers, pumpkin, summer & winter squash, tomatillos (you need at least two!), tomatoes, beans, cantaloupe
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vegetable Planting Guides (Central Texas)
- Roses (early)
- Evergreen shrubs
- Prune dormant perennials and ornamental (clumping) grasses.
- Trees: DO NOT prune red oaks and live oaks unless damaged. Spray immediately with clear varnish.
- No need to apply pruning paint to other trees
- Avoid topping crape myrtles: simply remove sprouts or entire limbs at the trunk.
- Dormant perennials, roses, shrubs and trees. Still time, but don’t wait!
- Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season.
- Add compost to beds as you cut back dormant perennials. Fertilize with slow-release granular late in the month or as dormant perennials leaf out
- Add compost around trees and fertilize. Be sure to dig out grass several feet from the trunk, ideally to the drip line of the tree canopy.
- Watch for powdery mildew. Apply a natural fungicide like Serenade.
- Mow weeds before they set seed. Do not fertilize at this time except with compost!
- Plant native Habiturf seeds after soil prep
- Plant other turf late in month once freezes aren’t coming
- Add compost to vegetable gardens along with organic fertilizer in prep for more summer crops
- Soil test
- Keep floating row cover available avoid covering plants with plastic
- Mulch, but avoid touching the base of trees and roses
- Till in winter cover crops
- When planting, dig hole twice as wide as root ball but no deeper than where it sits in the pot.
- Backfill and water until it sinks in.
- Continue filling in.
- Water again until it sinks in and pack the soil down.
Aloe Species, African Aloe, Soap Aloe
Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Where to Grow:
Seed is poisonous if ingested
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Los Angeles, California(3 reports)
Vista, California(18 reports)
Niceville, Florida(2 reports)
Zephyrhills, Florida(2 reports)
Pass Christian, Mississippi
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Johns Island, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)
On Mar 22, 2018, DMichael from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:
A. maculata is one of only maybe a dozen Aloe species that grow well and readily blooms in Ft Lauderdale, FL’s subtropical/ tropical 10b climate, being commonly used to form mats and for edging. The speckled aspect of the leaves is attractive, however the larger rosette size, softer teeth, and darker winter leaf coloring of Aloe rabaiensis makes it the preferred species for these uses here, in my opinion.
On Nov 8, 2015, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
I have several Aloe maculata around my garden, most are in the ground, some in pots. This aloe takes Florida rains very well, never seems bothered, does well in sun and shade, but looks better with some relief from afternoon sun. Flowers attract hummingbirds.My plants have taken temps down to the upper 20's for many nights with no covering. The plants will turn a bronze, maroon or even purple when distressed from cold, but they rebound nicely once we warm up. I actually like when they turn colors, sort of fall looking.
On Feb 27, 2015, mrsmaz from Petaluma, CA wrote:
This plant was already in the garden when we moved here 23 years ago. Requires virtually no care, grows in our sticky clay soil in full sun or complete shade under our Magnolia grandiflora tree. Blooms every spring with gorgeous salmon flowers that the hummingbirds love, and spreads itself around the yard. Easy to propagate from the new pups.
On Sep 13, 2011, PeteOZ from Melbourne,
Very hardy aloe, making a large group of suckers and its quite thorny too.
Though it can be a bit invasive it is not hard to control and is good for growing under trees or in exposed spots with crappy soil where nothing grows. It is quite shade tolerant as well. Here it tends to be a greenish colour with moisture and shade and a attractive reddish purple under stress.
Seems very cold and wet tolerant in Melbourne this winter Ive had some other aloes rotting in the center from codl and moisture these are fine. This one arborescens and mitriformis seem to be the hardiest around here and can often be found growing well in neglected gardens and are commonly sold in garden centers. A few of my Maculatas have had some root loss from the cold and wet but they will quickly regro. read more w in the warmer weather.
On Jul 6, 2011, Meow_Meow from Arvin, CA wrote:
This aloe is great. It is invasive but it can be controlled by thinning the colony. Reproduces at an incredible rate! This aloe blooms a lot in the winter. It is Perfect for a beginner aloe collector.
On Jan 8, 2010, CristianaMS from Rome,
Italy (Zone 9b) wrote:
Reproduces very very easily from stems. Useful in skin deseases. When the plant is dry, it has beautiful, purplish leaves, lovely amidst black lavic rocks. After an image search it seems Aloe maculata is also called Aloe saponaria ?
On Oct 16, 2007, Gardnerkett from Pass Christian, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:
Beautiful, blooms randomly a good addition to my back garden that gets little water and lots of sun.
On Feb 20, 2007, MacSuibhne from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
Very hardy in San Antonio, with beautiful blooms (which seem to come up at random times of year). Fills a garden rather quickly, as well. I will say this -- it is beastly to weed around. Those spines are wicked, and they mean business.
On Dec 5, 2005, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Also known as Zebra Aloe, Aloe Maculata.
From Eastern Cape Province, South Cape Province, South Africa to Zimbabwe.
Average temps 50F, freezes below 28F
On Nov 5, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD,
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:
Stemless rosettes,light-green leaves 15-20 cm long with horny,dark brown marginal teeth.
On Apr 16, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
Interesting note: Sap from this plant's leaves can be used as a subsitute for soap, it makes suds.
It's very drought and salt tolerant making it a great choice for beachside yards. It's beautiful flowers attract hummingbirds.
On Sep 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:
Common spotted (with linear spots- almost streaked)species with prominent teeth and usually stemless, clumping, often overgrown in succulent gardens. This is one of the more aggressive and 'invasive' aloe species, sometimes showing up many feet away from the parent plant. It is a relatively fast grower and very easy to cultivate. Grows in thick, poorly draining soils as well as better quality soil. Teeth are prominent and sharp.
Also often added to pots with a variety of other succulents and sold at garden outlet centers. Flowers of A maculata 'saponaria' usually yellow, but most A maculatas' flowers are variable (pink to orange to yellow). Flowring can occur any time of year, but usually in mid winter in southern California. Flowers are often, but not always, branc. read more hed 1-2x and flowers head is a flatted globe in shape.
How to Propagate Soap Aloe
Soap aloe will propagate through seeds, stem cuttings, and offset divisions through its suckers.
- Collect them soon after flowering and sow in sandy soil immediately as fresh seeds germinate quickly.
- For best results and quicker germination, maintain a temperature between 68° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit (20° – 24° C).
- As seedlings begin to emerge, keep the soil moist and ensure it is well-draining.
Propagation through stem cuttings and offset divisions are performed throughout the year.
- For best results, cut the stems below nodes as these cuttings root easily.
- Let the cuttings dry out for a few hours or until a seal is formed on the cut and then place them in the rooting medium.
- Keep the soil moist, but make sure it is not wet.
- Wait till the roots form and then plant in the ground or pot.
Plants→Aloes→Soap Aloe (Aloe maculata)
|Plant Habit:||Cactus/Succulent |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Sun Requirements:||Full Sun to Partial Shade |
|Minimum cold hardiness:||Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F) |
|Plant Height :||18-24 inches|
|Plant Spread :||12-36 inches|
|Flower Color:||Orange |
|Flower Time:||Summer |
Other: Repeat blooms (3 times/year) in sub-tropical climate
|Suitable Locations:||Xeriscapic |
|Uses:||Will Naturalize |
|Wildlife Attractant:||Hummingbirds |
|Resistances:||Drought tolerant |
|Propagation: Seeds:||Can handle transplanting |
Other info: Sow seeds in sandy soil. Seeds germinate in a few weeks at temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F. Seedlings need moist but well-drained soil.
|Propagation: Other methods:||Cuttings: Stem |
Other: Stems cut below a node root easily. Cut a stem that has gotten leggy, let it dry out for at least a few hours to form a seal on the cut surface. Place the cutting in rooting medium kept moist, but not wet, until roots form.
|Containers:||Suitable in 3 gallon or larger |
Needs excellent drainage in pots
|Miscellaneous:||With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth |
Solitary or usually suckering spotted aloe from South Africa with a 3-7 branched inflorescence. Widespread and variable in habitat and cultivation. Leaves reach up to 12 inches long in the landscape and are relatively wide. Lower surfaces of leaves have fewer or no spots. Flowers may be pink, orange, yellow or red, and are constricted above the base, with barely exserted stamens. Racemes are densely flowered, flat-topped, and capitate.
Very common (possibly the most common spotted aloe) in cultivation, and a parent of many hybrids. It may be difficult to distinguish the maculate aloes in general, as well as distinguish hybrids of maculata from the species. Hybrids with A. striata (relatively common and attractive plants) are often sold as A. striata, but they are spotted, whereas striata is not.
Usually an easy plant in cultivation. Tolerant of many errors. Somewhat weedy (prone to clumping and invading space around it). Susceptible to the aloe mite (look for and carefully remove distorted flower stalks or warty leaves).
Aloe saponaria is an old name for this plant. Aloe maculata has absorbed the former A. latifolia, leptophylla, maculosa, and umbellata. Ficksburg Aloe (Aloe maculata subsp. ficksburgensis) is a smaller plant.
Aloe maculata is native to Southern and Eastern Africa and was formerly known as Aloe saponeria ( the sap from the leaves makes a soapy lather.) This Aloe has become a popular landscape and house plant around the world. Like other Aloes, A. maculata has very sharp teeth along the leaf margins. Flowers are variable in color, ranging from bright red to yellow and are borne in clusters on top of tall, multi branching stems. Being salt tolerant, Aloe maculata is great for seaside gardens. It produces many offsets and can become invasive in warm climates.
"Aloe maculata (commonly known as the Soap Aloe or Zebra Aloe) is a Southern African species of aloe.
In addition, it is now planted around the world as a popular landscape plant in warm desert regions - especially in the United States, where it is the most popular ornamental aloe in the Tucson, Arizona area, and is also popular in California.
It is a very variable species and hybridizes easily with other similar Aloes, sometimes making it difficult to identify. The leaves range in colour from red to green, but always have distinctive "H-shaped" spots. The flowers are similarly variable in colour, ranging from bright red to yellow, but are always bunched in a distinctively flat-topped raceme. The inflorescence is borne on the top of a tall, multi-branched stalk and the seeds are reputedly poisonous.
The juice from the leaves is traditionally used as soap by local people.
Plants are damaged by temperatures below 32°F (0°C), but recover quickly. In a suitable climate, soap aloes require little attention once established. Aloe maculata is very salt tolerant — a good choice for seaside gardens."