When we think of aloe, many think of sunburns and large fleshy plants filled with healing gel. But that is only one species of aloe. There are many species of aloe within the genus and beyond.
‘Minnie Belle’ aloe is as cute as her name suggests. This small aloe has spiky teeth along the outside of its fleshy leaves. It is a nice green with white speckles. In the summer, it will bloom tall stems of bell-shaped red flowers that are striking and attract hummingbirds.
This small houseplant is a low-maintenance succulent that you will love adding to your collection. If you’re new to houseplants, ‘Minnie Belle’ is a great one to start with. It requires minimal care and has few problems.
‘Minnie Belle’ aloe is a spiky species of aloe. Plant breeder Ed Hummel created this hybrid and named it after his wife, Minnie.
Within the genus Aloe, there are around 650 species. There are countless varieties of aloes within the species.
Aloe varieties are often created by mixing and hybridizing species. A combination of two or more parent plants can create a new hybrid.
Aloes are easily propagated. If you know someone who has one, it is easy to propagate. There are two main ways to propagate: stem cuttings and through pups.
If the plant you are working with is only a single clump or ‘rosette,’ you must propagate via a stem cutting. Take a leaf cutting from the base of the plant. Use a sharp knife to slice off the leaf from the stem cleanly. Let the cutting sit for a few hours or overnight, allowing the cut surface to dry out. Dip the cutting into a rooting hormone and plant it in evenly moist soil. A soil blend formulated for cacti is great. Keep the soil moist until roots form.
If your aloe is sprouting pups, it is easy to propagate them. Pups or offsets are small rosettes that form on the main/mother plant. Remove the pup using a sharp knife, or you may be able to pull it off gently. Plant the pup into evenly moist cactus blend soil. Keep the soil moist until it begins to root. For a few days, you can cover the aloe with a plastic cover to lock in the moisture. Just don’t leave it on too long, or the aloe can start to rot.
‘Minnie Belle’ Aloe is fairly straightforward to plant. Remove it from its container and plant it into a cactus blend soil mix. Rough up the roots and soil around the plant so it is no longer in the shape of the container it was in.
Plant your aloe up to the crown of the plant. If you are planting it into another pot, make sure that pot has drainage holes to let excess water run out.
How to Grow
These cute plants grow best when provided with their ideal conditions. Let’s examine what those conditions are.
You might think that ‘Minnie Belle’ likes full hot sun since it is a succulent. But that is not the case. Too much sun can sunburn your plant.
The bright, indirect sun is ideal. Like its cousin aloe vera, providing at least six hours of bright indirect sun will keep your ‘Minnie Belle’ growing lovely. Consider more sun if you are looking for blushing tips on your aloe. This sun stresses your plant, creating blushing coppery tips on the aloe leaves.
If your aloe is not getting enough sun, it will appear leggy and limp. It will grow toward the light.
Aloe needs very loose and very well-drained soil. A cactus blend is loose and sandy and will drain freely. This is the best option for your aloe.
To make your own cactus bend, use two parts of quality potting soil, two parts coarse sand, and one part perlite or pumice. Blend it well for a coarse, loose soil perfect for growing aloe.
Many aloe varieties will perish at the hands of well-meaning plant enthusiasts with a heavy hand for watering. But this does not mean you should water with an eye dropper full of water every 12 days. I water my succulents by soaking them and then letting them dry out completely.
This is why your soil and container are so important. You must have soil that will drain freely and quickly. A sandy cactus blend, as mentioned above, is perfect. You also need good-sized drainage holes in the bottom so water can run through it.
Take the entire succulent container and hold it under the tap. Let the water flow through it. Then, let the excess water drain out of it completely. Wait until it dries out completely before doing that again. Leave them alone for the most part. Aloes are more likely to perish from overwatering than underwatering.
Climate and Temperature Requirements
‘Minnie Belle’ aloe is a desert plant. It grows in zones 9-11. It will not tolerate frost or overly humid conditions. For those reasons, it makes a great houseplant in our warm, dry homes.
I tend not to fertilize my succulents very often. I think it’s easy to kill them with kindness. The plant will probably need to be potted up as it grows, and the new soil you repot into will have lots of nutrients.
If you want to fertilize, I would use one formulated for cacti and dilute it to half-strength. Follow the directions on the label for how often to fertilize. Once every three months or so will probably be enough.
These succulents require very little maintenance. They might need to be repotted and divided as they grow.
They can bloom in the summer months. After they finish blooming, snip off the flower down the stem.
‘Minnie Belle’ makes a great houseplant. You can put them in decorative pots. If the pot doesn’t have drainage, use a liner pot that does. Then, when it is time to water your aloe, take out the liner pot and water it. Let the excess water drain and place it back in the decorative container. Do not water it in a container with no drainage. Your aloe will not tolerate standing water.
They also make a great addition to mixed containers of cactus. Try adding a variety of echeverias, lithops, cacti, and other succulents to a large container. You can fill the spaces between the plants with decorative rocks and/or sand.
If you live in a desert climate, you can plant them outside. They look great in window boxes or small planters. They will bloom spikes of red bell-shared flowers that will attract hummingbirds. If you live in a colder area, you can leave them in containers and bring them in when the weather gets cold.
Pests and Diseases
‘Minnie Belle’ aloe is a great little plant for beginners as it faces very few problems if you have it growing in its ideal conditions. But, like with all plants, it is not always problem-free. Here are some pests and diseases your ‘Minnie Belle’ can develop.
Mealybugs are the worst! These small, soft, oval-shaped white bugs can infest your plant. You will see them climbing around the nooks and crannies of the plant. They emit a sticky substance called honeydew. Mealybugs will suck the life out of your aloe, and they can spread to other plants.
‘Minnie Belle’ aloes are pretty small, and there aren’t any branching limbs full of leaves that make good hiding places for mealybugs to get into. If you notice them on your ‘Minnie Belle,’ I suggest wiping them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Keep on top of it until the infestation has subsided.
Root and Crown Rot
Crown and root rot is caused by fungal development stimulated through over-watering. Make sure your plant dries out between watering. Ensure your container has adequate drainage so the roots do not stand in water.
If you notice mushy leaves and stems, stop watering. It might be too late to save the plant if it is brown and mushy. Take a stem cutting of your plant and propagate a new plant (read the proportion section above).
Frequently Asked Questions
A: The fleshy leaves will turn yellow or brown. Eventually, you will end up with root or crown rot, and the whole plant will turn to mush. Allow your aloe to dry out between watering.
A: No. It was named for Ed Hummel’s (the man who created the variety) wife, not the size of the aloe. While not huge, these aloe vera relatives can grow a foot wide by about six inches tall.
This is a cute and funky aloe to add to your collection. With its spiky and spotted foliage, it is unique and not quite like other species. It looks great on its own in a container. It can be added to mixed cactus gardens. ‘Minnie Belle’ aloe is straightforward to care for and makes a great addition for new and experienced houseplant enthusiasts alike.