How To Prune Tiger Tooth Aloe Growing Too Tall

Aloe Vera is a very popular plant with fleshy leaves that produce a special gel widely used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes across the globe. It’s important to note that while Aloe Vera is ranked as a species, aloe is a genus. This genus is so diverse that it has more than 500 species native to the Arabian Peninsula and some African countries that experience mild temperatures and an arid climate suitable for growing aloe.

Aloe Juvenna, which is particularly native to Kenya, is a beautiful succulent with a clump-forming look. This species has leaves that have toothy protrusions that give it its name. Although the aloe’s spine is flexible, it has scary-looking thorny edges commonly referred to as ‘tiger tooth.’ 

However, you don’t have to be scared of growing the aloe in your home as a decorative plant because the sharp edges are not offensive or harmful to both people and pets. The tiger tooth aloe typically grows to a height of 12 inches. But what happens if your tiger aloe is growing too tall? Here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to grow and take care of your Tiger-tooth Aloe and how to trim it if it grows too tall.

How Tall Does Tiger Tooth Aloe Grow?

The tiger tooth aloe plant can grow up to 12 inches tall and 24 inches wide if grown in rocky areas and well cared for. The succulent starts growing slowly at the initial stages and starts producing offsets so quickly once it reaches full height. The plant has two-foot-long, erect stems that are somewhat invisible because they’re fully covered with small unique leaves.

Aloe Juvenna is often confused with the Aloe Squarrosa. The main difference between the Tiger Tooth Aloe and its counterpart, the Aloe Squarrosa, is that the latter species has more curved and longer leaves.

Although it may seem like a small succulent, at the height of 12 inches and early branching from the stem, you can rest assured of having an eye-catching addition to your collection of succulents. The aloe starts sporting thorny, green leaves that gradually turn brown or red when exposed to plenty of sunlight. In other words, when the leaves of the aloe are “happily stressed,” the bright green leaves turn reddish-brown.

The small leaves have creamy white spots and seem to stack on top of each other to create a uniform pattern. It produces flower heads that are salmon pink or orange with green tips in a pot that reaches a height of about 10 inches (25 cm).

How Do You Prune a Tiger Tooth Aloe?

A tiger tooth aloe plant produces small rosette-like leaves. Cut the offsets off the main stem of your aloe plant using sharp, sterile scissors or a sharp pair of scissors. Wait for the aloe leaves to completely dry, then lay the pieces of aloe on well-draining soil. Give the offsets about two days to dry properly before you put them in good, well-draining soil.

Can You Cut the Top Off an Aloe Plant?

If you cut off the top of your aloe plant, it will probably not survive. Besides, aloe plants produce leaves that contain toxic sap that can poison humans and other animals. Cutting off the top of your aloe plant is not advisable because the sap will quickly evaporate and become brownish-black in color. That means your plant will not survive even if you expose it to the most favorable conditions. 

So, you can choose to cut off the top of your aloe plant, but doing this incorrectly can cause your plant to be severely damaged. There should be no leftover latex sap on the cutting you are using before you place it in the soil. You will need to cut right below the rosette (the white part of the plant that covers the top of your aloe) to allow new growth.

If you have a plant that has a lovely pink rosette on its top, you can easily remove some of the dead foliage and plant the new rosette. When removing these branches, make sure that you remove any dead wood and skin that may be hidden beneath the stems. However, as you cut away the dead tissue from your healthy aloe plant, ensure you leave some of the healthy tissue behind to help it heal. 

Tips For Caring For The Tiger Tooth Aloe

Here are some gardening tips for caring for the tiger tooth aloe plant:

  • Use a highly aerating potting mix that is porous and drains well.
  • When the soil is almost completely dry, water it thoroughly, and allow it to drain. 
  • Expose your aloe to plenty of sunlight and reduce the intensity gradually.
  • Ensure the plant is exposed to around six hours of full sun each day
  • Even though you rely on low temperatures of as low as 40 °F, the suitable temperatures for growing the plant range from 70 to 80 °F
  • During the hot summer months, feed the aloe well with a cactus fertilizer.

Like other aloes, the Tiger Tooth Aloe can showcase crassulacean acid metabolism or CAM. Typically, CAM plants execute photosynthesis differently than other plants; they only open their stomata during the night to conserve water during the hot summer days. CAM plants are easy to grow and maintain because they can conserve water when it is very dry. However, due to their very little capacity to produce photosynthesis, they tend to grow much slower than the C3 plants that open their stomata during the day.

It is very important that your Tiger Tooth Aloe plants are getting enough light to enable them to grow properly. If they do not get enough sunlight, they will not produce any fruit. If the plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will continue to grow very slowly and eventually die. Furthermore, since Aloe Juvenna is a CAM plant, it’s likely to have difficulty competing with C3 plants in more temperate climates.

 Wrapping Up

The Aloe Juvenna or the Tiger Tooth Aloe is a popular plant in the garden because of its distinctive, prickly appearance. However, it is a rare plant in its natural habitat in the Kenyan jungles. The plant is part of the genus Aloe and is quite dormant during summer.

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