Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Spiral Aloe
Aloe polyphylla

Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: polyphylla (pol-ee-FIL-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

74 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 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
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

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 54 photos.
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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lesotho On Jan 27, 2011, Lesotho from Ficksburg
South Africa wrote:

Spiral Aloes like to be ignored, they grow in decomposed Sandstone. Water once every two weeks and never fertilize because if they grow too fast they won't spiral. One must remember they live in Lesotho which is a mountain kingdom. They don't like hot weather, in fact love being covered in snow during the winter as excessive exposure to wind will dry them out. they are used to -10 to -20 C overnight which usually warms to 10 to15 C during the day, summer temps go to 15 to 22 C so it's a very cool climate.
I have many growing in my garden, rain doesn't bother them unless they are young. To grow the seeds keep them wet at all times do not let them dry out, 10-18 days and you will have success. Keep the soil wet for young ones until they are able to transplant into a larger container.

Neutral BayAreaTropics On Mar 12, 2010, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I have been told by those who propagate this plant from seed at U.C.Berkeley that the key to growing it is to always grow it on a slope or if in a pot,tilt the pot so water never sits in the rosette. Water sitting in the rosette is the greatest cause of rot in these plants. Soil should also drain very well-as standard for all C&S.

Positive bschuttler On Feb 8, 2010, bschuttler from Monticello, GA wrote:

My daughter has the spiral aloe in her garden and I would love to start one,but I don't know how to. I don't want to ruin the spiral of this plant,so could you help me figure out how to get a start of this beautiful aloe plant. thanks

Positive baiissatva On Sep 8, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Though beautiful, I agree with palmbob about this plant- its a bit of a diva, being super-thirsty and fussy about light levels.
Here in coastal Otago, New Zealand, Zone 9, I underpotted it and stuck it in the bright sunlight, where it shriveled up and sulked, until I caught on to its requirements and gave it some dappled shade. Much happier during our soggy winters than our dry-ish summers, its now fattening up and starting to look more like it should.
Usually I dont persist with fussy customers, but its so potentially beautiful that its worth the effort. We have some huge, impressive specimens down here, up to a metre across- just remember the water and shelter.

See some of our plants and gardenalia at The Blackthorn

Positive palmbob On Dec 10, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the most ornamental aloes, but in my climate in southern California, it is one of the hardest to keep alive. It hates the heat and will usually perish if not kept moist and cool in summers (need a cool place indoors maybe?). Have lost several despite all efforts. I know some grow this along the coast down here well, but seems much happier in northern California. Don't let the USDA date fool you into thinking this aloe grows like any other.

Update... I have finally had success with this species in southern California, as have others, even without taking it in in hot summers... I have mine in an elevated location off the ground in a pot (less hot there) and in mostly filtered shade. It still brown-tips in the summers, but does pretty well... very slow compared to how it grows in more coastal climates, though. Gotten one through 3 summers and looking really none the worse for wear! Not sure if I will ever get it to flower, though.

Positive Happenstance On Mar 19, 2005, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Spiral Aloe is a stemless plant with leaves that spiral.. A 2 year old plant will have 35-45 leaves. Mature plant will have 5 rows of leaves twisting either left or right. This is a hardy Aloe which at about 5 years of age will have approximately 150 leaves.

Needs perfect drainage and and lots of bright light. Full sun to light shade. 9b-11 This is a tough Aloe from high elevations of 7000 - 8000' that can withstand colder temps than most Aloes. Protect from frost and overly wet conditions. A. polyphylla is the only alpine member of the Genus.

Neutral salvia_lover On Jan 13, 2005, salvia_lover from Modi'in
Israel wrote:

this plant requires a minimum temperature of 50F

The leaves of this stemless Aloe are purple-tipped with white teeth.


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

Brentwood, California
Clayton, California
Hayward, California
Huntington Beach, California
Long Beach, California
Mission Viejo, California
Pleasant Hill, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California
Vista, California
Kurtistown, Hawaii
Mamaroneck, New York
Apex, North Carolina
Port Orford, Oregon
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Conroe, Texas

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