Income generated from indigenous Aloe sap taping has been a source of livelihoods to most communities in drylands of Kenya. Most of the Aloe leaf harvesting takes place in the wild, threatening the natural Aloepopulations. This calls for establishment of Aloe plantations as alternative source of sustainable sap tapping. Currently there is lack of information on propagation methods of commercial indigenous Aloes in Kenya. Investigation undertaken to establish Aloe propagation methods showed that different factors determine Aloe germination and growth which need to be considered in Aloe propagation. Findings showed that Aloe seed germination under greenhouse began on the 9th day and maximum germination took place between 2nd and 3rd week of sowing. Addition of vermiculite and sawdust to soil from naturalAloe growing zones improved germination. Aloe turkanensis showed better germination percentage as compared to Aloe secundflora in most of the growing substrate. Forest humus soil blended with sawdust, showed the highest germination of 28%, after 21 days for Aloe turkanensis followed by substrate containing soils from natural habitat blended with vermiculite, then loam soil at 18 and 11% blended with sawdust and vermiculite, respectively. The vermiculite and sawdust blended media showed poor growth performance as revealed after 5 months of germination. Substrate from natural habitat enriched with manure showed good growth performance, while those enriched with sawdust had poor growth performance. Results indicate that different substrate may be used for germination and potting. Those that show high germination are not good for Aloe growth, but those enhancing growth did not show better germination.
Key words: Livelihoods, sustainability, Aloe propagation, substrate.
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