Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Aloe
Aloe suprafoliata

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: suprafoliata (soo-pruh-foh-lee-AY-tuh) (Info)

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 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:
Full Sun

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

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Fall/Early Winter
Mid Winter

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest

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:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 43 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral cabngirl On Aug 27, 2012, cabngirl from Sonoma, CA wrote:

Started some from seed and also picked up a small plant at a nursery (couldn't resist). I'm in 9a/b-- not sure which, it's pretty marginal here, depending upon the side of the hill you are on etc, but when critical I will assume 9a for safety sake. I hope I have good luck with these. My seedlings are almost 10mos now and will get protection this winter. I'll probably also keep the young plant I bought covered as well for this coming. Love the distichous leaves. I'm in no rush to see mine mature but from the photos, I'm sure I'll like the mature plants too.

Positive baiissatva On Dec 27, 2010, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Coastal Otago, New Zealand, zone 9
A truly lovely turquoise blue when in possession of it's pale waxy bloom, this is an amazing looking plant that's still difficult to obtain down here in NZ.
Growing slowly but chugging along in it's juvenile phase, will take all kinds of heat and UV where other plants are getting burned around it. (The purple patches on the Pretoriensis are the first signs of sunburn).
I've provided a pic next to a slightly older Aloe Pretoriensis that's starting to take on it's adult spiral form; to tell them apart, I would say the Pretoriensis is greener, with thin dark leaf striations, larger and more widely spaced marginal spines, wider, flatter leaves (especially at the base).
Suprafoliata leaves are noticeably plumper and convex next to Pretoriensis, with a more chalky blue look. Suprafoliata takes much longer to trunk up, if at all (doesn't really seem to) whereas Pretoriensis can resemble a shortish tree aloe (which some people class it as).
As a novice I really like to see comparative pics of two easily confused plants together so I hope Ive helped someone else out here!

Positive BayAreaTropics On Feb 17, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Of the more common Aloes,i think this has the most attractive flowers. Seeing them at the Berkeley Cal. botanical garden in fall, is a treat.

Positive thistlesifter On Feb 17, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Pllant is somewhat difficult if provided too much summer water. Best left to natural rainfall in winter in California gardens.

This Aloe seems to do okay in pots.


Positive rose_fiend On May 10, 2006, rose_fiend from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought my specimen from the Fort Worth Cactus and Succulent Society sale a couple of years ago. It's container grown, and I am sure our zone 7b-8a winters would kill it handily. It seems to be very slow growing, though, this is the first year I have fertilized it. It still grows in a distichous form. But, I am excited about seeing it fill out.

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

Great aloe for any size xeriscape garden. At early age, leaves are distichous (emerge on two planes only), but as ages they finally come out in a 360 degree swirl. The leaves are an attractive deep turquoise, tinged with red in cold or deep sun. Color of leaves tends to fade a bit to blue-green as plant ages and becomes mature shape. The leaves are spiny, but not terribly dangerous. THis aloe has beautiful, large flowers on thick stalks that emerge January. This aloe is SUPPOSED to be solitary, but suckering forms are becoming the 'norm' in cultivation, either due to hybridization or the lazy propagation of these rare but easier forms. Either way, solitary forms are a lot harder to find lately.

Aloe pretoriensis looks a LOT like this aloe, and is somewhat similarly distichous as a young plant, making misidentification a common situation. However, A suprafoliata seedlings tend to be markedly blue, while A pretoriensis seedlings are blue-green and a bit spotted at first. Also, A suprafoliata has a relatively short, thick solitary flower stalk, while A pretoriensis has a thinner, much taller (sometimes up to 6' tall) branching raceme. The flowers themselves are quite similar, though a bit less robust in A pretoriensis.

This is a relatively cold hardy aloe, with temps in the mid 20s showing no obvious damage to these plants in southern California... anyone growing these in zone 9a?


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

Apache Junction, Arizona
Mission Viejo, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Fort Worth, Texas

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