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
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM

Common names
  • Spiral Aloe
  • Aloe
  • Basutoland Aloe
  • Coiled Aloe
  • Kharatsa

Photo Gallery
Location: California, United States
Date: November 27, 2020
A plant growing in the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
Location: San Francisco Botanical Gardens
Location: Ruth Bancroft Garden,Walnut Creek,CA. 
Date: 2018-04-28
Lupinus sericatus and  Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla)
Location: Near San Francisco, California
Date: 2010
Some grow to the left, some to the right
Photo by peettee79
Location: University of California Botanical Garden.
Date: March
photo by Stan Shebs
Location: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens
Date: 2008-11-06
Location: Baja California
Date: 2010-02-12
10 inch pot
Location: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens
Date: 2008-11-06

Photo courtesy of: Rod Waddington
Location: Chelsea Flower show. UK
Date: 2022-05-28

photo credit: Just chaos
Location: Holmes Beach FL
Date: 2014-12-26
Location: My house
Date: 2014-07-27
Aloe polyphylla seedling is in center of the photo
Location: University of California Botanical Garden.
Date: July
photo by Stan Shebs
Location: Southwest Florida
Date: September 2014
on the right is a seedling of several months, on the left a seedl
Location: Summeville, SC
Germinated 4 days after sowing.
Location: Home
Date: 2014-09-01
Photo by Stush2019
Location: Holmes Beach FL
Date: 2015-04-09
Location: Holmes Beach FL
Date: 2014-11-29
Young plant
Location: Holmes Beach FL
Date: 2015-01-26

Photo courtesy of Annie's Annuals and Perennials
  • Uploaded by Joy
  • Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Nov 17, 2018 6:36 PM concerning plant:
    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.
  • Posted by robertduval14 (Milford, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Sep 17, 2016 12:41 PM concerning plant:
    This is the National flower of Lesotho.
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Mar 7, 2013 11:15 AM concerning plant:
    An endangered species from Lesotho. Quite geometric.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
seedling by Dutchlady1 Sep 2, 2014 7:47 AM 3

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