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 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.
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 who’s 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). She said there was no such Aloe species as Aloe zanzibarica and someone had just made it up. She 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 her an email but had no answer. However, she 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!
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.
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 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 a fast draining soil. I amend my potting soil with additional grit and perlite.
Flowers: Rarely flowers, but if they do they are orange-red in color.
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.
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.
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.