African Aloe, Soap Aloe

Aloe maculata

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: maculata (mak-yuh-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Aloe saponaria
Synonym:Aloe leptophylla
View this plant in a garden




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:




Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Foley, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Aromas, California

Arvin, California

Berkeley, California

Brentwood, California

Canoga Park, California

Castro Valley, California

Davis, California

El Macero, California

Fremont, California

Hayward, California

Los Angeles, California (3 reports)

Menifee, California

Mission Viejo, California

Petaluma, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Spring Valley, California

Tarzana, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California (2 reports)

Alford, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Niceville, Florida (2 reports)

Oviedo, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Brunswick, Georgia

Folkston, Georgia

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Andrews, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Broaddus, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Spring Branch, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Willis, Texas

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 8, 2015, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have several Aloe maculata around my garden, most are in the ground, some in pots. This aloe takes Florida rains very well, never seems bothered, does well in sun and shade, but looks better with some relief from afternoon sun. Flowers attract hummingbirds.My plants have taken temps down to the upper 20's for many nights with no covering. The plants will turn a bronze, maroon or even purple when distressed from cold, but they rebound nicely once we warm up. I actually like when they turn colors, sort of fall looking.


On Feb 27, 2015, mrsmaz from Petaluma, CA wrote:

This plant was already in the garden when we moved here 23 years ago. Requires virtually no care, grows in our sticky clay soil in full sun or complete shade under our Magnolia grandiflora tree. Blooms every spring with gorgeous salmon flowers that the hummingbirds love, and spreads itself around the yard. Easy to propagate from the new pups.


On Sep 13, 2011, PeteOZ from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

Very hardy aloe, making a large group of suckers and its quite thorny too.
Though it can be a bit invasive it is not hard to control and is good for growing under trees or in exposed spots with crappy soil where nothing grows. It is quite shade tolerant as well. Here it tends to be a greenish colour with moisture and shade and a attractive reddish purple under stress.
Seems very cold and wet tolerant in Melbourne this winter Ive had some other aloes rotting in the center from codl and moisture these are fine. This one arborescens and mitriformis seem to be the hardiest around here and can often be found growing well in neglected gardens and are commonly sold in garden centers. A few of my Maculatas have had some root loss from the cold and wet but they will quickly regro... read more


On Jul 6, 2011, Meow_Meow from Arvin, CA wrote:

This aloe is great. It is invasive but it can be controlled by thinning the colony. Reproduces at an incredible rate! This aloe blooms a lot in the winter. It is Perfect for a beginner aloe collector.


On Jan 8, 2010, CristianaMS from Rome
Italy (Zone 9b) wrote:

Reproduces very very easily from stems. Useful in skin deseases. When the plant is dry, it has beautiful, purplish leaves, lovely amidst black lavic rocks. After an image search it seems Aloe maculata is also called Aloe saponaria ?


On Oct 16, 2007, Gardnerkett from Pass Christian, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:

Beautiful, blooms randomly a good addition to my back garden that gets little water and lots of sun.


On Feb 20, 2007, MacSuibhne from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Very hardy in San Antonio, with beautiful blooms (which seem to come up at random times of year). Fills a garden rather quickly, as well. I will say this -- it is beastly to weed around. Those spines are wicked, and they mean business.


On Dec 5, 2005, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Also known as Zebra Aloe, Aloe Maculata.
From Eastern Cape Province, South Cape Province, South Africa to Zimbabwe.
Average temps 50F, freezes below 28F


On Nov 5, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Stemless rosettes,light-green leaves 15-20 cm long with horny,dark brown marginal teeth.


On Apr 16, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Interesting note: Sap from this plant's leaves can be used as a subsitute for soap, it makes suds.

It's very drought and salt tolerant making it a great choice for beachside yards. It's beautiful flowers attract hummingbirds.


On Sep 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Common spotted (with linear spots- almost streaked)species with prominent teeth and usually stemless, clumping, often overgrown in succulent gardens. This is one of the more aggressive and 'invasive' aloe species, sometimes showing up many feet away from the parent plant. It is a relatively fast grower and very easy to cultivate. Grows in thick, poorly draining soils as well as better quality soil. Teeth are prominent and sharp.

Also often added to pots with a variety of other succulents and sold at garden outlet centers. Flowers of A maculata 'saponaria' usually yellow, but most A maculatas' flowers are variable (pink to orange to yellow). Flowring can occur any time of year, but usually in mid winter in southern California. Flowers are often, but not always, branc... read more