PRAIRIEFORM is perennially drawn to the juxtaposition of plants that seemingly stand immobile and plants whose movement is always perceptible. Aloes are some of the best of those seemingly immobile plants whose changes in form are imperceptible from day to day, but which, over the course of months, can be observed quite readily. There are too many different varieties of Aloe to cover in this post, but suffice it to say that you would be hard pressed to find at least one you didn’t like.
Most varieties of Aloe are quite tough and can survive on very minimal water supplies. As most are native to South Africa, they aren’t generally used to freezing temperatures, so for those in Chicago, Minneapolis, and so on, keep one in a container, potted with a good cactus mix, and then bring it outside in the summertime and let it bask in the sun and warmth, and you shouldn’t need to water it at all. In fact, err on the side of caution when it comes to water and Aloes. Pay attention to them all you want with smiles and good cheer, but don’t let that doting translate into daily watering. Once every couple of weeks is more than plenty.
In time, many Aloes will send off offshoots, known as “pups.” These can either be left in place to form a stand of plants, or they can be dug up, transplanted, or given to friends.
For those who have the good fortune of making it to the Huntington Botanical Gardens, you can discover one of the largest collections of Aloes in the world outside of South Africa. The entry fee is a wee bit steep, but for a one-time visit, it will be money well spent.