Lace Aloe is an attractive, low-maintenance succulent that is easy to grow, hard to kill and produces plenty of offsets suitable for propagation into new plants. What’s not to love? They’re so popular I can even buy plastic versions locally! But they are so easy to keep we think it’s a no-brainer to go for the real thing.
Small and compact with dark green fleshy leaves, Lace Aloe grows well indoors and will also thrive outdoors in mild, sunny climates.
It is resilient to environmental conditions and can tolerate some neglect.
In this article, we will guide you through all aspects of care for a Lace Aloe, plus show you how you can easily propagate lace aloe to make more plants. They are probably one of the easiest succulents to propagate.
Lace aloe is known by the scientific name of Aristaloe aristata and was formally known as Aloe Aristata. You will often still see it referred to as Aloe Aristata. Besides the name Lace Aloe, it is also commonly called Guinea Fowl Aloe and Torch Plant.
Native to southern Africa, the plant gets its name from the lacy patterns of white spots on its leaves.
But Lace Aloe is not actually an aloe – well, not anymore, at least.
Lace Aloe’s scientific name is now Aristaloe Aristata. It was previously called Aloe Aristata, but while closely related to aloe plants, it is now considered a different species and has been reclassified as Aristaloe type and renamed.
Aristaloe Aristata also has characteristics similar to some haworthia plants and is often confused with haworthia by those not in the know. It is even occasionally referred to as Aristaloe Aristata Haw. in reference to its Haworthia-like characteristics.
Later on in this guide, we’ll go through some of the differences between lace aloe and aloe vera and some of the features that distinguish lace aloe from haworthia plants so you can identify them easily.
How To Identify Lace Aloe
Lace Aloe is characterised by a densely packed rosette of slender leaves that curve upwards and inwards.
Aristaloe Aristata is a stemless plant with dark green leaves that are firm, thick and fleshy. The leaves are triangular in shape and quite long and narrow, tapering to a long white thread at the tip. They have white teeth on the edges and small, round, white bumps all over both sides of the leaves. The teeth are not sharp, and there are no spines.
It’s overall shape is compact and spherical.
Once mature, it readily produces a large number of baby plants, known as pups or offsets, that grow from the base of the plant.
Image source: Pinterest
How Big Can Lace Aloe Get?
Lace aloe is a compact succulent, perfect for window sills and apartments.
While it is a fast grower, it doesn’t get much bigger than 8 inches (20cm) tall and 6 inches (15 cm) wide at full maturity.
Does Lace Aloe Flower?
Aristaloe Aristata flowers in late spring or summer with tubular coral-orange flowers that bloom from long, thin stems that grow from between the leaves.
The stems can be up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall, and the blooms tower over the foliage. Individual flowers can be 1.5 inches (4 cm) long.
Image source: Pinterest
The flowers have nectar that bees and birds find attractive, so expect any Torch Plant grown outdoors to be popular with the local pollinators!
Flower stems should be trimmed off with sharp, sterile scissors once the flowers have died off.
Lace Aloe Sunlight Needs
Lace Aloe likes plenty of bright, indirect sunlight every day. It prefers partial shade and can suffer from sunburn if placed in direct sunlight, particularly if you live in a hot climate with intense sun.
If you live in a mild climate, it may tolerate morning sun provided it has shade from the hotter midday and afternoon sun.
If housed indoors, a bright window is perfect. If the window is south-facing (in the northern hemisphere or north-facing if you’re in the southern hemisphere), you may need to provide shade for your lace aloe, particularly in the afternoon, or diffuse the light with a sheer curtain.
If you live in an area with shorter days and less sun, you may need to provide some supplemental lighting for your plant using a grow light.
Too much direct sun may result in leaves that turn brown or have brown patches.
Not enough light and your lace aloe may lose some vibrancy and color from its green leaves. It may grow tall and lanky as it searches for more light.
If your lace aloe is getting light mainly from one direction, rotate its pot every few weeks to ensure the whole plant receives light evenly and keeps its compact shape. Otherwise, it may lean towards the light source and grow in an uneven shape.
Watering Lace Aloe
Like most succulents, Lace Aloe has adapted to grow in dry conditions and does not like to be overwatered.
The key to success with your lace aloe is to wait until the soil is completely dry before watering it again. It needs well-draining soil (more on that below), and if housed in a pot, please choose one with a drainage hole in the bottom.
This plant is best being watered from the bottom by placing the pot in a container of water and allowing the soil to sit and soak up as much water as it needs for up to 30 minutes. Then, remove the pot from the water and allow any excess water to drain from the pot for a few minutes before placing it back on its tray in its usual home.
Use room temperature water, as cold water can shock the plant and cause stress.
There’s more about the bottom-soaking method in our guide to watering indoor plants.
If you can’t use the bottom-soaking method and you need to water your lace aloe from the top, try to avoid getting any water on the leaves or in the center of the rosette. The densely packed leaves make it difficult for water to evaporate, and the resulting moist environment can result in fungal growth and rot.
Overwatering your lace aloe can lead to root rot and leaves that turn mushy and brown, starting at the center of the succulent.
Underwatering can lead to dry, brown leaves, particularly at the tips.
Read more about how to recognise if your succulent is underwatered or overwatered.
The frequency of watering will depend on a number of factors, including the season and the local climate and temperature. Your lace aloe will need watering more frequently in spring and summer and less often in winter. However, it does still grow during winter and will still need watering. The soil and the leaves are the best indicators of when your plant needs another drink.
In the case of most succulents, including Lace Aloe, it is better to underwater than overwater these plants.
Temperature And Humidity
Lace Aloe prefers a mild temperature with a range of 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 24 degrees Celsius) – a comfortable room temperature.
It can tolerate temperatures outside this range, but that is the optimal range for this succulent type.
It will cope with winter temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), but it isn’t a fan of frost or freezing temperatures. If your Lace Aloe is kept outside in a pot, bring it indoors once the temperatures start to drop. If you can’t bring it inside and frost is forecast, try to protect your succulent with a cover.
Lace Aloe doesn’t do well with high humidity. There is no need to mist this plant and try to avoid getting water on the leaves when you water it. Ensure it has plenty of airflow to allow moisture to evaporate and prevent fungal growth and rot.
Aristaloe Aristata originates from South Africa, where it grows in rocky, sandy soils. This plant is adapted to growing in well-drained soils that are low in organic matter, and the best type of soil for Lace Aloe is one that mimics its natural habitat.
To create the ideal soil for your Aristaloe Aristata, mix together equal parts coarse sand or perlite with a succulent-specific potting mix. This will produce a light and airy soil that drains quickly.
Try to use a pot with drainage holes in the bottom, and don’t choose a container that is too large. The larger the pot, the more soil it holds and the longer it will take for that soil to dry out.
Aristaloe Aristata is accustomed to living in very nutrient-poor soils. In its natural habitat, the plant would receive few nutrients from the soil, and it doesn’t really need additional fertilizer.
If you want to give it the occasional boost of fertilizer, the best time to do so is from spring to summer. Use a succulent-specific fertilizer and follow the dilution instructions on the packaging.
Be sure not to overdo it, as too much fertilizer can actually burn the roots of the plant.
How to Propagate Lace Aloe Easily
While Lace Aloes can be propagated by seed, the easiest and most common method of propagating Lace Aloe is through offsets or pups.
Pups are small plants that form at the base of the mother plant and can be carefully removed and transplanted into new pots or containers.
In the image below, you’ll see there are several pups, or offsets, that have grown at the base of the plant. They are quite mature pups that have grown well and are perfect for propagating.
Step-By-Step Guide To Propagating Lace Aloes
Propagation From A Pup – How To Separate Lace Aloe Pups
It is best to propagate mature pups that have several leaves and are at least 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
- Start by gently removing a pup from the base of the mother plant. You should be able to wiggle the plant free. It will have its own roots, which will ideally be intact if you have separated the pup with gentle movements. If the roots are intact and looking healthy, move straight to step 3.
- If your pup’s roots don’t survive the separation, or you’ve had to cut the pup away with a sharp, sterile knife, allow the cut areas and any wounds to dry out and callous over for 48 hours before moving on to step 3.
- Remove any dead leaves from the base of the pup and check the roots are looking healthy. Trim off any roots that feel squishy or are showing any signs of rot with sharp, sterile scissors.
- Next, pot the pup in a well-draining succulent soil mix. Be sure to choose a pot that is only just larger than the pup.
- Water the soil lightly and place the pot in a bright location with plenty of light but avoid direct sunlight. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
- In about 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth emerging from the pup.
You can check on the progress of your plant by gently tugging on the leaves after a few weeks; if there is resistance, roots are likely starting to form.
Lace Aloe are some of the easiest plants to propagate as their offsets already have established roots and they are usually very easy to separate from the mother plant.
Will Lace Aloe Pups Root In Water?
Yes, lace aloe pups will root in water. If you have removed a pup without roots and you want roots to form before planting in soil, you can get your aloe pups to root in water. To do this, simply place the pup in a jar or glass of water and wait for roots to form. It may take a few weeks for roots to form, so be patient.
Once roots have formed, you then plant the pup in succulent-specific soil.
How Long Does It Take For Lace Aloe To Root In Water?
It takes around four weeks for lace aloe to root in water. However, this can vary depending on the plant and the conditions it is in.
For optimal results, make sure you provide your lace aloe plant with bright light, but not direct sunlight, and fresh water.
Once your lace aloe has rooted, you can plant it in well-draining succulent-specific soil. Be careful not to damage the roots when doing this. Provide bright, indirect sunlight and water only when the soil is completely dry.
Lace Aloe Potting And Repotting
Lace Aloe doesn’t like to be disturbed too much, so it’s best only to repot when absolutely necessary.
While Lace Aloe grows to its mature size quickly, it doesn’t get much bigger after that, and you shouldn’t need to repot it other than to refresh the soil every couple of years.
While your plant is young, you may need to repot it as it grows.
Always choose a pot only one or two sizes larger than the current pot. Select one with a drainage hole as lace aloe much prefers to be watered with the bottom-soaking method than being watered from the top.
Always use a well-draining succulent soil mix. Fill the new container approximately two-thirds full and create a well in the center.
Gently remove your lace aloe from its old pot and brush away the old soil from around the roots. Gently tease and separate any roots that have formed a tight root ball.
Place the plant in the well in the new pot and gently backfill with additional soil, being careful not to get any soil in the center of the plant’s leaves. Bring the soil up to just below the lower leaves and tamp it down just enough to hold the plant in place. You don’t want the lower leaves to be touching the soil, and you don’t want the soil to be overly compact (this inhibits fast drainage).
Water well and place the pot in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. Don’t fertilize at this stage – allow the plant to settle into its new home for a month or two first.
The best time to repot lace aloe is in the spring.
How To Prune Lace Aloe
A healthy lace aloe plant should not need pruning, although you’ll want to remove any old, dead leaves from the bottom of the plant, as these can be great hiding places for pests.
You may wish to remove pups (offsets) for propagation.
Toxicity – Is Lace Aloe Pet Safe?
The jury is out on whether Aristaloe Aristata, Lace Aloe is safe for cats, dogs and other pets.
Some reports say it’s safe, while others say it is toxic. And we haven’t been game to test it out on any of our pets!
Aloes are generally toxic to pets, while haworthia are generally considered safe. Aristaloe aristata sits somewhere between these two succulent species.
Our recommendation is to err on the side of caution and keep your lace aloe out of reach of any pets that might be tempted to take a chew on your plant.
Lace Aloe Pests And Disease
Lace Aloe, like any plant, can be susceptible to pests and disease. Here is a guide to common lace aloe pests and diseases, including how to identify and treat them.
Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can cause yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth.
If you suspect your plant has mealy bugs, check for small white cottony masses on the stems and leaves. To get rid of mealybugs, wipe them off with a damp cloth or use insecticidal soap or spray.
Spider mites are tiny spiders that feed on the underside of leaves. They can cause yellowing and stippling of the leaves, eventually leading to leaf drops.
If you suspect your plant has spider mites, look for small red or brown dots on the undersides of the leaves and feathery webs. To get rid of spider mites, wipe them off with a damp cloth or use insecticidal soap or spray.
Root rot is caused by overwatering and soil that doesn’t drain and dry fast enough. It can be fatal to plants if left untreated. Symptoms of root rot include yellowing and wilting of the leaves, stunted growth, and black or brown roots.
If you suspect your plant has root rot, check the roots for signs of decay. To treat root rot, remove the plant from its pot and gently rinse the roots in water. Trim any blackened, mushy roots that show signs of rot. Allow the plant to dry completely before replanting in a fresh, well-draining potting mix.
Leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes small brown or black spots on the leaves. Leaf spot can be caused by too much moisture around the plant’s leaves.
If you suspect your plant has leaf spot, remove any affected leaves and dispose of them. Treat the plant with a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes a white, powdery growth on the leaves. Powdery mildew can be caused by excess moisture around the leaves.
If you suspect your plant has powdery mildew, remove any affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.
Preventing pests and diseases
The best way to prevent pests and diseases is to practice good plant care:
- Water your plant only when the soil is dry.
- Keep your plant in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid overcrowding your Lace Aloe by having other plants too close.
- Inspect your plant regularly for signs of pests or disease, and take action immediately if you see anything suspicious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lace Aloe an Aloe? What Is The Difference Between Lace Aloe and Aloe Vera?
Lace Aloe was originally classified as an aloe plant, but it has now been classified as the Aristaloe species as it shows some differences from aloe plants.
Lace aloe is a short, compact plant with a densely packed rosette. It rarely grows above 8 inches (20 cm) tall and typically has a spherical shape, being almost as wide as it is tall.
Aloe vera, on the other hand, can grow much bigger, reaching heights up to 2 ft (60 cm) but only 1ft (30 cm) wide.
Lace Aloe has dark green leaves with a long, white thread-like tip and multiple white bumps. Aloe vera has paler green leaves, which usually have fewer white markings, and the markings can be varied in shape and size. Aloe vera leaves do not have a thread growing from the tip.
Is My Plant Lace Aloe or Haworthia?
Lace Aloe can be confused with some similar-looking Haworthia varieties.
These haworthias tend to have fewer leaves in their rosettes, and the leaves are wider. But the biggest difference is the teeth on the edges of the leaves. Lace aloe has white teeth on the leaf margins, whereas haworthias have no teeth and do not have the long-white thread leaf tip seen in Lace Aloe.
The haworthias bloom with white flowers. Lace Aloe has orange flowers.
Why Is My Lace Aloe Getting Too Tall?
A stretched-out, leggy and lanky lace aloe that is growing too tall is a sign of insufficient light.
Lace aloe needs 4 – 6 hours of bright, indirect light every day. If it doesn’t get enough light, its leaves may turn a paler green, and it will grow stretched-out and leggy as it tries to find more light.
If the light source is to the side of the plant, it may grow unevenly in the direction of the light. Try to rotate your plant every few weeks if it has a light coming from mainly one direction (such as one window) to ensure even growth.
Read more about succulents growing tall instead of wide.
Is Lace Aloe Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?
Reports vary on the toxicity of Lace Aloe for pets. Some say it’s pet-safe; others say it is toxic. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) do not have Aristaloe Aristata on its list. That would tend to suggest there haven’t been multiple reports of this plant causing poisoning in cats and dogs. However, we can’t take that as a definite.
The Aristaloe type sits between the Aloe and Haworthia species. Most aloe types are considered toxic, while haworthia is generally considered safe.
If in doubt, we recommend being cautious and keeping your Lace Aloe away from your pets and young children.
Does Lace Aloe Death Bloom?
Lace aloe isn’t a monocarpic succulent and should continue to live and flower after blooming. Lace Aloe isn’t a death-bloom plant.
Why Is My Lace Aloe Turning Yellow?
Your Lace Aloe’s leaves could be turning yellow because of:
- Overwatering – leading to root rot and squishy leaves that have turned yellow and translucent. The leaf will usually start to yellow from the plant’s center first. Fix by allowing the roots and soil to dry completely and water less frequently moving forward. If root rot is well advanced, you may need to prune your plant extensively to remove the damaged areas or use offsets to propagate a new plant.
- Nutrient deficiencies or overfertilizing – the whole leaf will be yellow. Remedy by replacing the soil.
- Too much sunlight – leaves turn yellow then brown and may have brown patches of sunburn. Fix by moving to a shadier spot.
- Pest infestation – yellowing patches on individual leaves. Treat the pest infestation with neem oil.
Why Is My Lace Aloe Turning Brown?
Brown leaves on your lace aloe are usually a sign of a fairly advanced issue. Problems that can cause brown leaves include:
- Underwatering – leaves will start to turn brown from the ends first. The soil will be completely dry. Eventually, whole leaves will be brown and dry. Remedy by watering thoroughly at the first sign of browning tips.
- Overwatering – the leaves will start to yellow and then turn brown from the plant’s center. The leaves will be soft and mushy, caused by root rot. Treat by allowing the roots and soil to dry completely and water less frequently moving forward. If root rot is well advanced, you may need to prune your plant extensively to remove the damaged areas or to take cuttings to propagate a new plant.
- Sunburn – excessive exposure to intense, direct sunlight can cause scorching of the leaves, resulting in brown patches or whole leaves turning brown. Move your lace aloe to a shadier spot. You may need to prune any leaves that are very damaged.
- Fungal diseases – water left sitting on leaves or in the rosette, usually caused by top watering, can create conditions for fungal growth, which can lead to rot and browning and blackened leaves. Treat with a fungicidal spray and prune away any affected leaves.
Why Is My Lace Aloe Dying?
The main reasons for an unhealthy Lace Aloe are:
- Overwatering – resulting in yellowing or browning in the center of the plant and yellowing, mushy leaves. Lace Aloe likes well-draining soil that is allowed to dry completely between waterings. Overwatering can result in root rot.
- Too much sunlight – too much direct, intense sunlight can cause sunburn. Lace Aloe prefers partial shade or bright, filtered light.
- Underwatering – while Lace Aloe is drought-tolerant, it does have a limit and needs some water! Dry, brown, crispy leaves, particularly when turning brown from the tips of the leaves, are all signs your plant needs a good drink of water.
Where Can I Buy A Lace Aloe Plant Near Me?
Aristaloe Aristata plants are commonly available in local garden nursery stores or from online succulent specialists.
Lace aloe are low-maintenance plants that are easy to keep and forgiving of some neglect.
They readily produce offsets that can be easily separated from the mother plant and repotted as new plants. Lace Aloe is one of the simplest succulents to propagate.
Lace Aloes thrive in room temperature environments and are perfect compact indoor plants.
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