Black-spined Aloe

Aloe melanacantha

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: melanacantha (mel-an-uh-KAN-tha) (Info)
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Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

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)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Apache Junction, Arizona

Carefree, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

El Macero, California

Los Angeles, California

Mission Viejo, California

National City, California

Reseda, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California

Lafayette, Tennessee

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 2, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Over time (10 years) the plant has an almost its on stark character among aloes. It is very unique. If an Aloe could be a tumbleweed, it would look like melanacantha.

I've seen multiple -headed A. melanacantha, though I failed to capture an image. It is spectacular. Key seems to be, don't try to push it or control it in any way. It will arrive in its own time. a unique and beautiful masterpiece of nature.



On Jan 11, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Smallish, slow-to-sucker aloe with large, somewhat sharp, dark spines all over it. Older spines are black (hence the name) though new leaves have yellowy, soft ones. Very interesting and extremely drought tolerant species. However, is a tad more prone to rot if overwatered than most aloes. Also, from personal experience, is one of the worst aloes at suddenly adjusting from full shade to full sun (usually gets fried to a crisp and dies). It definitely performs best as a full sun aloe.. .even partial sun is not normally recommended. Prone to rot and etiolation if even grown in part day sun. Easy to grow otherwise- I have had it in pots in low light situations, and out in full, dry hot sun and seems to do equally well in both (though more colorful in full sun). Moderate grower in spee... read more