ALOE CHRISTMAS CAROL
ALOE CHRISTMAS CAROL
An aloe is not just for Christmas: despite its name Aloe Christmas Carol looks good all year round and at its very best in the summer months, when brighter light intensifies the red colouration on the toothed edges and raised markings on the elongated pointed leaves that make up star shaped rosettes. Reddish pink tubular flowers on wiry stems are an added bonus once or twice a year. Ding dong merrily on high. Bright spot indoors. Well drained soil. 6 to 12 in. 8.5cm pot (terracotta pot in photos is for display purposes only).
The reason behind the name Aloe Christmas Carol is presumably its combination of green and red, those two colours closely associated with the festive season, allied to the distinctively starry style of those rosettes of pointy succulent leaves. The depth of the red colouration can vary quite a lot, with light intensity being a key factor: the brighter the light, the more marked the red toothed edges and raised bumps will be, with the centre portion of the leaves taking on a reddish purple tinge to boot. When light levels are lower, due to position or changing seasons, the plant can revert to being rather greener. The different photos on this page demonstrate this to some extent.
Christmas Carol is a hybrid by aloe specialist Kelly Griffin who is associated with the big US succulent nursery Altman Plants. In the last twenty years or so Kelly, along with Karen Zimmerman and various others, has been responsible for the introduction of an ever increasing range of interesting hybrids generally termed ‘fantasy aloes’. For more about Kelly Griffin and his aloes, follow the link on this page. If you are deeply into the botanical science behind it all, you might like to read this article, which also has some great photos of the plants described. If that’s all a bit intense, the short version is that they are derived from a complex heredity, largely based on Madagascan and Malagasy species. Most of us probably will just enjoy them for what they are.
While Aloe Christmas Carol can be placed out of doors in the summer, in the UK it will certainly need to be overwintered indoors in a well lit spot. There are some who claim it can take sub zero temperatures for short periods: we wouldn’t like to put that to the test and reckon it does best when kept at a minimum of 10C, though it should be ok in a greenhouse that doesn’t get lower than, say, 4C.
Here is an odd little video from the aptly named Mysterious Gardens which shows off a fine specimen of Aloe Christmas Carol to an accompaniment of birdsong.
Aloe Christmas Carol is an evergreen succulent with pointed green leaves highlighted with red toothed edges and red raised markings suitable as a houseplant.
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