Aloe polyphylla is a stemless succulent that forms a rosette of leaves arranged in a perfect spiral. The rosette grows up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall and up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, soft green, broad at the base, tapering to a dark, sharp tip, and with irregular teeth along the margins. The plant must reach at least 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter before spiraling. The spiral may be clockwise or counterclockwise. In spring and early summer, mature plants produce compact clusters of dull red to salmon-pink (occasionally yellow) flowers at the head of branched inflorescences about 2 feet (60 cm) above the foliage.
Spiral Aloe is one of the most ornamentalAloes but extremely difficult to grow in cultivation. Plants that have been removed from their habitat usually do not survive for more than a few years. It is a criminal offense to remove plants or seeds of Spiral Aloe from the natural habitat or to buy plants from roadside vendors.
With proper care, Spiral Aloe can be cultivated successfully outside of its native habitat. It is a fast-growing plant that can reach full size in 5 or 6 years. If plants don't receive proper growing conditions will die despite all efforts.
It needs well-drained soil and grows best on a steep slope. It prefers light shade and does not like really high temperatures. Plants need to be protected from hot temperatures and do most growing in spring and fall. It might not thrive in consistently hot areas, especially if nights are also warm. Mature plants are said to handle 10F (-12C) and snow, although younger plants should be protected from hard freezes. Water moderately when in growth from spring to early fall and very sparingly when dormant. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer 2 or 3 times in the growing season.
Unfortunately, Aloe polyphylla is one of the more difficult aloes to grow in our climate. Its quite cold hardy for an aloe so our winters are no problem. Oddly enough, its our summers that are a challenge. Since Aloe polyphylla is native to a high-altitude climate with moderate summer temperatures, it has a difficult time dealing with our 95F+ days.
That in itself wouldnt have been a problem because Aloe polyphylla has a vigorous root system that in time would have filled this deep pot. The fatal mistake I made was my choice of timing. Since Aloe polyphylla doesnt like hot summers, it goes semi-dormant, with growth slowing to a crawl if not stopping outright. So all summer and into fallwe had hot days until recentlyit sat in a pot that never dried out even though the soil was loose with at least 50% pumice. And then, seemingly from one day to the next, rot started to spread from the crown outward and the center collapsed.
If I had transplanted my Aloe polyphylla earlier in the springor waited until fallit might have been fine because it grows strongly when daytime temperatures are moderate and nights are still relatively mild.
Will I get another Aloe polyphylla? Probably not. Ill focus on plants that do well here without requiring special treatment, and whenever I get a chance Ill enjoy the incredible specimens at Succulent Gardens in Castroville.
Ouch!!! So sorry for your loss...at least you have a beautiful specimen to visit nearby. I adore that plant. I'm on number 3 or 4. It's far easier in the ground--well it has survived summer, anyway.
I've been babying mine along for some time now. It looked pretty bad til I moved it to a spot that gets less sun..I'm thinking of moving it to my pop-up greenhouse over the winter so it stays out of the rain.
Oh my goodness I am so sorry to hear that! I don't know if you remember what happened to mine last year. I repotted it then Stan accidentally knocked the thing over and the pot broke and the whole plant fell out on the cement. Of course I freaked but got a new pot and repotted it. It happened last fall. I kept it out for the first time all winter. I put it in the spring and summer in a really hot spot not knowing any better. It is ok but you are right it did not grow much. I wonder if I should put it in the ground.
Bummer! Never say never though...maybe you'll run accros a cheap one that will have you trying your luck again. After I bought a over watered plant on the road to death, and then nursed it back to health, I then sat it out int he sun to long early last spring and burnt the poor thing. It was crispy but alive. After a decent summer of growth it's almost replaced all the ugly leaves. Hopefully be next spring they'll all be gone.
Loree, I've already decided to try another one--but in the ground. I won't look until next spring, though. I think the Portland climate is much more compatible with what Aloe polyphylla likes than ours. Yours should look great next year.
Oh no, sorry to hear this. And there's me assuming that this aloe would do better in your location :( Perhaps next year you will have the motivation again to try another one, and perhaps site the pot somewhere shady during the summer when it gets really warm? As Loree said, never say never again :)
I live in So. Cal but baby those difficult to grow plants during our hot summers. I cannot find one of these aloes, even on line; only seeds. Can someone direct me to a grower that has a live one for sale? I'd sure appreciate any help you could give.Virginia Drake, Escondido, CA
Unfortunately, I'm not an expert either. According to a PlantZAfrica: "The spiral aloe grows in basalt rock crevices on very steep slopes with loose rock which aids in keeping the plants very well drained. They often grow in the mist and cloud belt in Lesotho. Although soils are well drained, the plants here have a continual flow of water in the summer months. The rainfall is very high and the summers very cool at these high altitudes in Lesotho."I think the key is keeping them cool in summer. They hate our high summer temperatures.
Yes, it did. I think it was a combination of things: hot weather and warm, moist soil that encouraged the growth of pathogens. I know of a lot of people who have tried to grow Aloe polyphylla in hot inland climates, but all those attempts have ended in failure.
Bottom line here is your spiral aloe needs lots of bright light. As long as it doesnt get overly harsh for long periods of time, it will be happy. This exposure will allow it to grow at its best and produce its most vibrant leaves and flowers.
That said, it comes from South Africa. As such, it prefers warm weather. However, adult Spiral Aloe are somewhat (not totally) cold hardy. They can tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or so.
However, be aware that this only applies to adult Aloe polyphylla. Immature plants are not able to tolerate freezing or cold temperatures. So, it is a good idea to give them extra care if grown outdoors when fall arrives.
As such, only water when the soil is dry to the touch. Ideally, wait for the top 1 to 2 inches to dry before watering. This will reduce the risk of overwatering, which can easily happen because the plant stores extra water in its foliage.
If you grow your spiral Aloe is a container, it is a good idea to check whether the potting soil that comes with it has been pre-mixed with fertilizer. If it has figure out what kind and how long the plant food lasts. You can ask the nursery you got it from.
Aloe polyphylla grows to about a foot tall and about 2 feet wide. As such, it isnt the biggest plant. But, it does take up some space. And, because of its spiral configuration, the lower leaves are bigger.
Your Aloe polyphylla has shallow roots. As such, it is best to keep it in a wide, shallow container. This will reduce the risk of overwatering which can happen with deeper plants as the ratio of soil to the plants roots is big.
Similarly, repotting annually also allows you to refresh the potting soil each time you do. This will let you use a 6-month slow-release fertilizer instead of having to feed it monthly during its growing season.
The spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) is a mesmerizing evergreen succulent in the Aloe genus that is native to South Africa. Its unique spiraling growth habit has made this succulent popular and highly sought after. Thick green leaves with pointed, purplish-brown tips form a compact, symmetrical spiral that can grow clockwise or counterclockwise. Each turn of the spiral has between 15 and 30 leaves, and this aloe can grow up to 24 inches wide!
This striking succulent makes a great addition to rock gardens, succulent gardens, or containers, and also grows well indoors as a houseplant. Unfortunately, its high demand and specific growing requirements have made the spiral aloe difficult to find and expensive to acquire, but if you manage to get your hands on one its striking appearance will make the effort well worth it.
Aloe polyphylla has been designated as an endangered species and it is illegal to remove plants or seeds from their native habitat, or purchase plants or seeds that have been illegally removed. Always ensure that you are sourcing your plant from a reputable and licensed retailer.
Unlike its relative the Aloe vera, the spiral aloe is not an easy succulent to grow and keep alive outside of its native habitat. It is sensitive to a variety of environmental factors including temperature, humidity, and watering which all need to be just right in order for the spiral aloe to thrive.
Although the spiral growth habit is one of the most notorious aspects of the spiral aloe, juvenile plants do not begin to spiral until they are at least 8 inches wide. Mature plants are also more likely to produce blooms than young spiral aloes are. Watch out for their beautiful salmon-pink flowers that sprout from a long branching spike.
This succulent does not require as much light as most succulents do. When grown outdoors, the spiral aloe should be planted in a location that receives full to partial sun, and is protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Six hours of morning or evening sunlight is perfect for the spiral aloe.
When grown indoors it can be provided with more light. Place the spiral aloe in a location that receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day. South-facing or west-facing windows are usually both great choices.
The spiral aloe requires airy, slightly acidic, and well-draining soil in order to thrive. Standard cactus and succulent soil mixes can be used, however adding some pumice or lava rock will help to increase the aeration. Alternatively, you can create your own potting mix at home by mixing together 2 parts pumice or lava rock, 2 parts potting soil, and 1 part horticultural sand.
Like most succulents, the spiral aloe is extremely drought tolerant and does not require a lot of water. In fact, overwatering and root rot are some of the most common reasons that gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts struggle to keep this succulent alive.
Ensure that the soil has dried out thoroughly between watering, and cut back on watering in the fall and winter months. If you live in a region that experiences frequent rainfall and you are hoping to grow the spiral aloe outdoors, growing it in a container that can be moved indoors and protected from the rain is probably a good idea.
The spiral aloe is not cold-hardy, but also does not tolerate extreme heat. Ensure that this succulent is not exposed to prolonged periods of freezing temperatures, and protect it from temperatures higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or 27 degrees Celsius).
At the same time, the spiral aloe should be protected from excessive winds and humidity. Mild, dry temperatures are best. For most growers, growing the spiral aloe indoors as a houseplant, or in containers outdoors is the easiest way to keep this picky succulent alive and thriving.
Regular fertilizing is not required for the spiral aloe as it is accustomed to growing in sandy, poor-quality soil. If desired, an annual application of a cactus or succulent fertilizer in the early spring can be beneficial to help boost growth during the active growing period.
Unfortunately, as a member of the Aloe genus, the spiral aloe is considered toxic for cats and dogs if ingested. If your pet is demonstrating any of the listed symptoms, take them to a veterinarian immediately to get checked out.
Like most plants in the Aloe genus, the spiral aloe is most readily propagated through offsets. Propagation through leaves and seeds is extremely difficult and unreliable, and generally not feasible for most growers. A happy, mature spiral aloe will grow offsets which can be separated from the mother plant and repotted in their own containers. Wait until the offsets are at least a couple of inches wide before separating and repotting them to ensure they will be able to survive on their own.
The spiral aloe is slow-growing and will only need to be repotted every 2-3 years. Ensure that you choose a potting container with a drainage hole to avoid drowning the plant. Terracotta or clay planters are excellent choices for the spiral aloe since they help absorb excess moisture in the soil.
To repot a spiral aloe, turn the pot sideways or upside down to gently wiggle the pot from the roots. Remove as much of the old soil from the roots as you can, being careful not to break the roots, and then move it to its new potting container. Add fresh soil around the roots and firmly pat it into place.
The spiral aloe is generally pest and disease-free, although it can occasionally be bothered by sap-sucking pests such as mealybugs and scale. Ensure that you are regularly checking the plant to catch any pests early. Mealybugs and scale in particular like to hide in crevices of the plant and on the backs of the leaves. Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove pests from the plant and manage infestations.
Stunning, breathtaking, show-stopping all words that spring to mind when referring to the Spiral Aloe (Polyphylla). While most succulents have their origins in Latin America, this succulent is from the mountains of Lesotho in Southern Africa. This succulent is so revered, it is known as the national flower of Lesotho. It thrives in cooler areas that are sloped. These plants are exceptionally hardy, able to grow well in the hot summers and stay alive in snowy winters.
The leaves have pointed tips and are grey-green in color. Along the edges, there are green spines. These are probably natures way of stopping people from constantly touching this plant. Birds and bees do find the flowers and nectar of this plant attractive.
Like other aloe succulents, this is an evergreen plant that flowers once a year at the end of spring, going into the beginning of summer. The flowers come in several shades, including red, pink, and even yellow. It is an excellent addition to any decorative container.
Aloe, particularly the highly popular Aloe Vera, features long, thin leaves that shoot upwards. The Spiral Aloe does not have a stem or long thing leaves. Rather than simply growing upwards, the leaves form a delicate and distinct spiral. They are shorter, similar to the size you would find on Echeveria succulents. The leaves can grow both clockwise and anti-clockwise.
There is another reason that this plant is so highly regarded. The challenge is to find and keep one, as well as to cultivate it. Indeed, they are rare. The plants and seeds are restricted to their natural habitat in Lesotho, where the succulents removal is a criminal offence. There are horticultural societies around the world that have been specially selected to cultivate this plant.
When grown outside of its native habitat, this succulent can reach its full size within 6 years. Its natural conditions need to be replicated as close as possible to ensure that the plant will survive.
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Aloe polyphylla is a mesmerizing succulent. Many growers consider it the most beautiful aloe because of the unique spiral formation of it leaves which has a greyish-green color. This is why the succulent is also called Spiral Aloe. Its name, polyphylla is derived from 2 Greek words poly which means many and phylla or leaves.
The spiral formation of Aloe polyphylla is its most striking feature and is the main reason why growers are motivated to plant it in their respective gardens. Whether the spiral moves clockwise or counter-clockwise, the leaves are arranged in a way that the spiral looks perfect.
Each turn of the spiral has around 15 to 30 leaves. The leaves of Spiral Aloe are wide and have sharply-pointed tips that are purplish-brown in color. The succulent produces salmon-pink colored flowers in the spring and early summer.
Aloe polyphylla originates from the Aloaceae family and is native to the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. It can grow up to 12-inches (30cm) in height. Because of the high demand for this succulent plant and its specific requirements for growing, Spiral Aloe has been listed as an endangered species.
For one thing, Spiral Aloe is not a cold-hardy plant. If you are located in a region which can get temperatures below 30 F (-1.1 C), it would be advisable to grow the succulent in a pot and placed indoors.
Yes, Aloe polyphylla can be toxic for cats and dogs. This variety of succulent plant has been identified as potentially poisonous when ingested by animals on the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).If you have Aloe polyphylla in your garden, your pet may be in danger of getting ill once it comes in contact with the plant. Look out for signs of depression, vomiting, and gastrointestinal distress.
Aloe polyphylla is a high maintenance succulent plant. If proper conditions to support its growth are not achieved, Spiral Aloe can die.There are 3 possible factors that could lead to the death of your Aloe polyphylla overwatering, extreme cold, hot temperatures, and infestation.OverwateringLike all succulents, overwatering can lead to the plants roots rotting. Aloe polyphylla can survive long periods without water because its plump leaves have the ability to store water.Make sure the tray under the pot of the plant has been cleared of excess water. Use well-draining soil that will allow air to circulate freely around the plants roots.If you see any part of the plant developing a brownish color, cut it off right away with a sterilized knife. That could be a sign of rotting which can spread and infect the rest of the plant.Exposure to Cold TemperaturesAloe polyphylla is highly sensitive to cold temperatures especially when it hits below freezing point.Under freezing conditions, the leaves can develop rot right away. The best solution is to transfer the succulent indoors and place it in an area with temperatures that do not go lower than 30 F (-1.1 C).Exposure to Hot Temperatures and Dry AirAloe polyphylla can also rot when exposed to hot temperatures and dry air. In situations such as these, move the plant indoors and place it in a room where the temperatures do not go above 82 to 86 F (28 to 30 C).
It may take years but Spiral Aloe produces attractive salmon-pink flowers that measure 12-inches or 30cm in the spring or early summer. In rare occurrences, the succulent may bloom yellow-colored flowers.
I'm Lara, and my strong passion for succulents started eight years ago, when I got my first Aloe Polyphylla. Since then I fell in love with succulents and now have over 100 different types in my house. On AboutSucculents I share the knowledge and passion that I have gained in the last years.Get in Touch with Mechanic