Aloe variegata, native to the semi-arid areas of South Africa, is an interesting succulent, whether grown outdoors in the garden, or indoors as a houseplant. Aloe variegata isn't difficult to grow, and with a modicum of care, will live for many years, producing bright red, pink or orange flowers that tower above the low-growing plants through the winter and spring months. Aloe variegata is so tough that in its natural environment, it can survive for several seasons with no water, although the leaves may take on a reddish tinge. Because of the plant's silvery speckles, aloe variegata is also known as partridge breast aloe or tiger aloe.
Plant aloe variegata in bright sunlight, in a spot with well-drained soil. Like all succulents, aloe variegata is prone to root rot if the roots are too damp. Plant indoor-grown aloe variegata in a container filled with a commercial potting soil formulated for cactus and succulents. The container must have a drainage hole in the bottom.
Provide plenty of air circulation for aloe variegata. Avoid planting outdoor-grown aloe variegata too near other plants, or next to walls or fences. To improve air circulation for indoor-grown plants, put an inch of fine gravel in the bottom of the planting container, and another inch of fine gravel on the top of the soil. Adequate air circulation will help prevent aloe variegata from rot.
Water aloe variegata moderately, and allow the soil to dry out between each watering. Indoor-grown aloe variegata should be moved in a cool room during the winter, where the temperature is consistently about 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soil should be kept just slightly damp. Resume normal care of indoor-grown plants in February.
Fertilize aloe variegata once each month during the spring and summer, using a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. For indoor plants, use a liquid fertilizer for houseplants, and dilute the fertilizer to half the strength indicated on the package label. Don't fertilize aloe variegata during fall and winter, and resume the regular fertilization schedule in February.