Aloe Species, Spiral Aloe

Aloe polyphylla

Family: Asphodelaceae (as-foh-del-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aloe (AL-oh) (Info)
Species: polyphylla (pol-ee-FIL-uh) (Info)


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


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

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

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:

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

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Brentwood, California

Cambria, California

Clayton, California

Hayward, California(2 reports)

Huntington Beach, California

Long Beach, California

Mission Viejo, California

Pleasant Hill, California

San Francisco, California

San Leandro, California

Spring Valley, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Mamaroneck, New York

Apex, North Carolina

Port Orford, Oregon

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Conroe, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 12, 2016, katng from Hayward, CA wrote:

The bottom leaves look like they are drying out. I don't want to water too much, but I'm watering every few days. I've tried extending the amount of days and shortening the amount of days between watering. I don't want to kill it. This is the most I've ever spent on a succulent, but I've always admired it. I will try to figure out how to upload a picture.


On Jul 24, 2016, Nanthawat from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Failed. I failed at this plant.
I can grow many exotic plants out of their zones but I failed with this Aloe...I They had a warning that it was extra hard to grow this one though :D


On Feb 14, 2016, Lushiouslita from Foxton ,
New Zealand wrote:

I live in hot sands foxton in new zealand, i got my spiral aloe 14 months ago a lady was giving it away , it's probably a 3 ft diameter beautiful and deadly it took me 31/2 hours of negotiating weight and spines to get her out of my boot and intent he garden a year later I had to move she had just flowered is left spiraling and I had another 21/2 hrs of figuring out how to get her into a planter box . Managed to not price myself once I learnt the hard way the first time. I think I under soiled the box now am trying to figure out how to lift her to add more, reading this I see I have been over watering and she is in extreme direct heat but seems to be thriving , does have bruised tips at mo from moving but was the same when I got her took a good nine months to recover tho, but still flow... read more


On Apr 8, 2015, saura111 from adelaide,
Australia wrote:

Hi there,
I purchased 5 Spiral Aloe seeds from a seller and have tried to germinate, one seed in 50/50 soil and pearlite with river sand and then two in water and so far after about 6 weeks have had no luck.


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 contai... read more


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.

Whats not mentioned is its not the cold this Aloe has trouble hates summers that are hot and dry and I will guess if your summers average more then 80f? You will have real trouble keeping this alive. Pots and raised amended beds are best there to have a chance.


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


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


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 com... read more


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.


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.