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Products > Aloe variegata
Aloe variegata - Partridge Breast Aloe
Image of Aloe variegata
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aloeaceae (now Asphodeloideae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Variegated Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [Gonialoe variegata]
Height: 1 foot
Width: <1 foot
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Aloe variegata (Partridge Breast Aloe) This smaller aloe grows to 10 to 12 inches tall to 9 inches wide and forms rosettes, sometimes solitary but often clustered, with leaves arranged in 3 ranks that are upright with a boat-hull shape (lanceolata-deltoid) that have a distinct gutter down the middle. The leaf margins have tiny blunt white teeth along the entire length and are a white color that stands out well against the dark green color of the leaf, which also has short longitudinally-arranged white spots on upper and lower surfaces that often line up in horizontal bands, giving this plant the common name of Tiger Aloe. The spots are also said to resemble those on a partridge breast, which gives this plant its most used common name. The plant will get red highlights that turn the deep green to a more brown color when the plant is drought stressed. The pink to pale red flowers appear on short, stout, and sometimes branched inflorescences. In the wild, flowering for this plant is noted as responding to rains and in Southern California most find that it flowers in mid-winter. Plant in full coastal sun to shade in a very well-drained soil and irrigate little to occasionally. One cannot seem to underwater this plant but many a grower (us included) will note that this plant can rot out at its base if over irrigated or if soil is not well draining; this being said, others say that they can irrigate with impunity without any problems. It is hardy to around 20 F. This aloe is found naturally throughout arid or semi-arid regions of South Africa and in southern Namibia, often in well drained soils in the shade of shrubs or rock crevices. It was first found near Copperberg in the Springbok District of the Northern Cape by the Simon Van Der Stel expedition in 1685 and has since had a long history of cultivation. It is not an uncommon plant in California and, because of its hardiness and willingness to grow indoors, it is the most popularly grown aloe in Europe and England, where it is often grown as an indoor flowering plant through the winter months. It received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993. The large genus Aloe was determined to be polyphyletic, with species derived from more than one common evolutionary ancestor and recent phylogenetic studies have prompted the division of it into the different genera Aloe, Aloiampelos, Aloidendron, Aristaloe, Gonialoe and Kumara. The Serrulatae group of aloes, which was how this plant was previously classified, were determined to be more closely related to the genera Astroloba and Tulista than it was to the other members of the genus Aloe. These name changes were all proposed in 2014 in the article in Systematic Botany titled "A Molecular Phylogeny and Generic Classification of Asphodelaceae subfamily Alooideae: A Final Resolution of the Prickly Issue of Polyphyly in the Alooids?". These names are becoming more commonly used but we continue to list this plant under is older name until such time as its new name becomes better recognized in the horticultural trades. 

This information about Aloe variegata displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.