TIGER TOOTH ALOE
Aloe juvenna Brandham & S.Carter is the accepted scientific name for this species of Aloe. It was first described by Peter Edward Brandham and Susan Carter Holmes in Cactus & Succulent Journal of Great Britain in 1979. Aloe juvenna is a native of Kenya.
Often confused with Aloe squarrosa Baker ex Balf. f.. It was described by John Gilbert Baker and ex-author Isaac Bayley Balfour in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1884. Aloe squarrosa is native to the Socotra Islands.
The genus, Aloe L., was named and described as such by Carl Linnaeus in the first edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 585 species in the genus (as of 8-20-21 when I last updated this page). Aloe is a member of the plant family Asphodelaceae with 40 accepted genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I came by my first Aloe juvenna when I was at Wal-Mart in 2009. I was looking at the plants and saw a piece of an Aloe, about 3″ long, laying on a shelf. Of course, I had to rescue it. I looked around and saw a pot with similar plants whose label said Aloe squarrosa. SO, I thought that’s what it was. I took the cutting (or “broke off”) home and put it in sand. You know, it took almost a year before it rooted!
In 2012 I bought a similar looking Aloe from Wal-Mart. The label said Zanzibar Aloe, Aloe zanzibarica. OK, so now I had an Aloe juvenna and an Aloe zanzibarica.
When I was doing research for my first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013, I found an article written by Kelly Griffin, a well-known Aloe breeder (hybridizer). He said there was no such Aloe species as Aloe zanzibarica and someone had just made it up. He then started talking about how most commercially grown Aloe squarrosa were actually Aloe juvenna. It gave reasons, but it only confused me more. I sent him an email but had no answer. However, he says that Aloe juvenna makes chains with leaves and that even though their leaves stretch (because of light) they are always straight. Aloe squarrosa leaves are recurved and spotted. GEEZ!
I have since made contact with Kelly Griffin and there are YouTube videos about the Aloe in his yard. NICE!
Then I found a hybridizer by the name of Brian Kimble… I sent him an email with photos and he said both my plants were indeed Aloe juvenna. He said that the leaves of Aloe squarrosa were smooth and the leaves of Aloe juvenna are rough and bumpy. Mine were, in fact, rough and bumpy. He also said that true Aloe squarrosa are hard to find and that pretty much all commercially available Aloe squarrosa are mislabeled and are Aloe juvenna. I was glad to get it straightened out and realized I then had two pots of the same species. I named them #1 and #2.
The original stem keeps getting taller and taller…
From my experience, the light has a lot to do with the appearance of the Aloe juvenna. More sun will keep the leaves shorter, which is what they are supposed to look like. Not enough light will make their leaves stretch then they will not look like this species is supposed to. The right amount of light will also cause their leaves to take on a reddish color. To much sun in the hotter months of summer will burn their leaves. You can definitely tell with the above photo that sometimes the light was right and sometimes not enough.
They do appreciate regular watering from spring through fall. They are summer dormant but they also have a slow-down period during the winter. My soil moisture absorbs fast (at least it is supposed to), so I just pass the wand slowly over the succulents and cacti as I water my potted plants. I don’t give my succulents much water in the winter, but that all depends on the species and how it is acting. As you gain experience with Aloe and other succulents, you will be able to tell.
I gave up both these plants in the summer of 2014, but I bought another in 2017.
<<<<Aloe juvenna #3-2017>>>>
I was very glad that I found another Aloe juvenna. I think I found it at Wagler’s and they possibly got their start from me in the first place. We exchange a few plants which is a very good idea. That way if I lose a plant somehow, I can find another one from them later. When I gave up most of my plants in late summer 2014, I should have taken them all to Wagler’s.
While most species names have something to do with the plant’s origin, characteristics, or people, this species name is somewhat different. It is thought the name “juvenna” was the result of a misreading of the collected plant’s label. It may have said “juvenile” meaning that the plant was thought to have been in juvenile form…
The Aloe juvenna did very well over the winter on the table with most of the other cactus and succulents in my bedroom. This is a south-facing window, so they get plenty of light.
Always happy to be back outside during the summer just like me.
I decided it was time for the Aloe juvenna to be in a larger pot. Now it is in a 6 1/2″ diameter x 5 1/2″ tall pot.
I had moved the plants from their old location behind the shed to the front porch on July 4. The Aloe juvenna seems to like the change and is doing very well.
Cooler temperatures were among us, so I moved the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10, 2018. I photographed the cactus and succulents and took measurements before I moved them inside.
The Aloe juvenna and friends are doing well on the front once again for the summer. The cactus are on the back porch while most of the succulents are on the front porch. The back porch receives full sun while the plants on the front porch are in light to part shade. Most of the succulents would do OK on the back porch but space is somewhat limited.
I had to move the plants inside for the winter on October 11 because an “F” was in the forecast. I measured the longest stem of the clump of Aloe Juvenna at 14″.
Still alive and growing although it has been a bit strange during the summer of 2020. It hasn’t been its beautiful green self. I took this photo as I was bringing plants inside for the winter on October 15, 2020. An “F” was in the forecast…
Well, the Aloe juvenna is definitely looking much better than last year. Its leaves were brownish looking most of the winter while inside and it really perked up over the summer. Its longest stem is around 16″ long and the tallest plant in the pot is 5 1/2″ tall. I need to remove the dead leaves on its longer stems… What do you think?
Aloe juvenna has definitely been one of my favorite Aloe species. It is one that is smaller in size yet produces a lot of offsets that don’t need to be removed. It will fill the pot in no time and form a nice colony. I like its short bumpy leaves with toothed edges.
While they are cold tolerant down to 20 degrees F, they are not frost tolerant. I usually move my pants inside when nighttime temps drop to 40-45.
Common Name: Tiger Tooth Aloe
Zones: USDA zones 9a-11 (20-40° F)
Size: Clumps reaching 1’ tall x 3’ wide.
*Light: Full sun to part shade.
***Water: Appreciates normal watering during their active growing period in the spring and early summer then again in autumn. Water sparingly during the winter months. They are summer dormant but still grow somewhat.
**Soil: Needs fast-draining soil. I used to amend my potting soil with additional grit and perlite but started using 50/50 potting soil and pumice.
Flowers: Rarely flowers, but if they do they are orange-red in color.
*During the summer, I keep most of my cactus on the back deck where they receive full sun. During the winter most cactus aren’t picky about the light because they are basically dormant. For several winters, mine were in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room so they didn’t get much light but they did great. I built a new shelf for the bedroom so now they are in front of a west-facing window. Most of the succulents are on a shelf in a south-facing window in a cool bedroom but a few are in my bedroom.
**When it comes to potting soil, finding the “sweet spot” is not exactly that easy when materials are limited. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts (and experts) do not recommend using peat-based commercial mixes but what choice is there for most of us. They say to use a loam-based mix… Hmmm… Our soil is loam, so do I just use dirt? Well, no because “dirt” is heavy and you need a “light” material. There is A LOT of cactus and succulent recipes online and some get pretty elaborate. Many say to use sand as an ingredient, but if you do that, it needs to be very coarse, like builders sand, because “ordinary” sand, like for sandboxes, is too fine and it clogs up the air space between the coarser ingredients. For MANY years I used 2 parts Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting amended with an additional 1 part of perlite and 1 part chicken grit. Schultz doesn’t seem to have as many large pieces of bark. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommended using pumice instead of perlite and grit so I checked it out… The “guy” at General Pumice (online) recommended using a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice. General Pumice has 3 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the pot. SO, in 2018 I bought a bag of 1/8″ and mixed it 50/50 with Miracle Grow Potting Soil. I liked it pretty well. Then in 2020, since most of the cactus were in larger pots, I ordered the 1/4″ size. Pumice has a lot of benefits over perlite and has nutrients that are added to the soil when watering. Pumice is also heavier so it stays mixed in the soil instead of “floating” to the top. Still, there is the issue of the mix getting very hard once you stop watering the plants during the winter when you stop watering. I think this is because of the peat in the potting soil… SO, instead of re-potting the cactus and succulents in the spring, I started doing it during the fall and winter so their soil would be loose. Since you don’t water as frequently during the winter if at all, the timed-release fertilizer does not activate. I have not tried coir, but I am looking into it…
***I water my cactus and succulents on a regular basis during the summer but barely ever in the winter (maybe a little in January) until close to time to take them back outside.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.