Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla) in the Aloes Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Spiral Aloe
Give a thumbs up Aloe
Give a thumbs up Basutoland Aloe
Give a thumbs up Coiled Aloe
Give a thumbs up Kharatsa

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9b -3.9 °C (25 °F) to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
Plant Height: 1 foot
Plant Spread: 2 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Dehiscent
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: Salmon pink to red or sometimes yellow
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Inflorescence Height: 18-20 inches
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Can handle transplanting
Other info: Sow seeds in sandy soil. Seeds germinate in a few weeks at temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F. Seedlings need moist but well-drained soil.
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth


Photo gallery:

Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Nov 17, 2018 6:36 PM

High-altitude aloe from western Lesotho with a distinct spiraling form. Highly desired and usually short-lived in cultivation. Solitary. Flowers are salmon-pink to red, rarely yellow, on branched inflorescences.

This aloe is not a beginner succulent or a good indoor plant.

It requires much more regular water than most aloes; it does not like the soil to go bone dry on any kind of regular basis. (Rainfall in habitat, often shrouded in low clouds and mist, is nearly 40 inches a year, more than Portland, Oregon.) It requires excellent drainage and hours of daily direct sun. It does not thrive with any kind of heat and should not be considered where temperatures regularly reach the high 90s or more in summer. Ideal for cool, moderate climates like coastal northern California. The spiral aloe can be rather frost tolerant. Habitat (6500 feet or higher) may reach as low as zone 7, but a safer minimum in cultivation might be zone 9b. In-ground plants will better handle lots of sun in marginal climates, and require less frequent water.

These plants are produced in reasonable numbers by tissue culture (all clones) but grown in much more limited quantities from seed. You need at least one of the latter plants to have any chance at producing seed. Regardless, a small fraction of the plants in cultivation actually live long enough to flower.

This species is related to Aloe pratensis, a smaller and more widespread aloe (in habitat) which does not grow in a spiral formation and has an unbranched inflorescence with shorter flowers.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Mar 7, 2013 11:15 AM

An endangered species from Lesotho. Quite geometric.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Sep 17, 2016 12:41 PM

This is the National flower of Lesotho.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
seedling by Dutchlady1 Sep 2, 2014 7:47 AM 3
Spiral Aloe in Trouble? by riverofwind Apr 28, 2020 3:50 PM 4
Fibonacci Semps by AntMan01 Aug 30, 2019 5:27 PM 19
Any cold-hardy cacti/succulents besides opuntia? by Klara333 Aug 24, 2019 1:17 PM 23
Should i get mammillaria karwinskiana nejapensis by skopjecollection Dec 26, 2018 10:25 AM 22
Spiral aloe by KathyTimmerman Nov 22, 2018 12:45 AM 11
'Show Your Aloes Here' by Stush2019 Aug 4, 2020 8:49 PM 667
Spiral Aloe by Nhra_20 Jan 22, 2018 11:42 AM 6
Cactus and succulents chat by Baja_Costero Aug 13, 2020 2:29 PM 8,328
Finally, My Babies Are Starting to Sprout!! by ljones26 May 8, 2018 6:13 AM 50
Aloe polyphylla variegata by KellyRbo Dec 23, 2018 11:51 AM 10

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