How one can Plant, Develop, and Take care of Spiral Aloe

This psychedelic succulent appears to be like prefer it’s from one other planet! With its enchanting geometric spirals and compact evergreen progress behavior, spiral aloe is a houseplant lover’s dream. This distinctive and uncommon succulent is understood for its good spiral-shaped leaves that type a horny rosette. In its native vary in Lesotho, Africa, this plant faces extinction, and cultivating it may assist protect vital plant biodiversity.

It’s tailored to colder areas than many different succulents can face up to. The reasonably sized vegetation are extremely easygoing, asking for little greater than a gravelly, well-drained soil and the occasional sip of water. This African native plant could be grown open air in USDA zones 7 by means of 11, making it the right addition to rock gardens and succulent containers.

Let’s dig into every thing it is advisable to find out about rising this hanging spiralized aloe!


Close-up of Spiral Aloe in a sunny garden. This aloe species forms a perfectly symmetrical rosette of fleshy, toothed leaves that spiral in a mesmerizing geometric pattern. The leaves are thick, fleshy, juicy, bright green with yellowish tips.

Plant Sort

Evergreen succulent

Plant Household


Planting Season

Spring or early summer season

Companion Vegetation

Agave, sedum, echeveria, aloe vera

Soil Sort

Properly-drained, sandy or gravelly

Solar Publicity

Full solar to partial shade


Aphids, scale bugs, mealybugs

Historical past and Cultivation

View of a flowering Aloe polyphylla plant in a garden with a stone fence in the background. This succulent has a rosette of fleshy, toothed leaves that form a perfectly symmetrical spiral arrangement. The leaves are a vibrant green, tinged with reddish or bronze hues. Each leaf is armed with soft spines along its margins. It produces tall flower spikes adorned with tubular, coral-colored blooms.
This uncommon plant from southern Africa faces extinction because of overharvesting.

Spiral aloe is a really uncommon and strikingly stunning plant native to a mountainous area of southern Africa. The plant is in peril of extinction within the wild because of over-harvesting and overgrazing. The vegetation are often propagated from offsets and seeds. To make issues worse, the native chook species that pollinates the plant can also be declining, making it tough for vegetation to propagate within the wild. 

It’s crucial to buy from a sustainable and moral supply and by no means help importers of this wild endangered plant. Buying vegetation or seeds illegally faraway from the wild is unlawful, so make sure to examine that your supply is respected earlier than buying. Higher but, you possibly can be taught to propagate it under to increase your assortment and naturally increase the inhabitants to share along with your backyard mates.

What’s Spiral Aloe?

Close-up of leaves. This succulent plant consists of triangular, fleshy leaves closely arranged in a spiral rosette. The leaves are a bright green color with soft light green spines along the edges.
Aloe polyphylla incorporates a gorgeous spiraling sample.

Also referred to as Aloe polyphylla, this attractive spiny succulent has leaves that radiate from a rosette in a spiraling fractal sample. It’s notably fashionable for temperate rock gardens as a result of it could face up to frost, not like a lot of its succulent cousins. This species is taken into account hardy open air in zones 7-11

Spiral aloe grows in a compact, good spiral that attracts the eyes into awe. Every row of spirals accommodates between 15 and 30 sharp, symmetrical leaves that will radiate in a clockwise or counterclockwise sample. Leaves happen in 5 ranks or tiers. The species title, polyphylla, means “many leaves” as a result of every mature plant has roughly 150 leaves.

The thick, fleshy leaves are greenish-gray and lined with pale inexperienced or white spines alongside the perimeters. The leaves have a darkish purple terminal spike on the tip. Rosettes can attain as much as 24” throughout and bloom reddish-orange flowers within the spring or summer season. 

The place Does It Originate?

Close-up of a flowering polyphylla plant in a garden. The plant forms a perfect rosette of fleshy, spiraling leaves, creating a visually striking geometric pattern. Aloe polyphylla produces tall, slender stalks adorned with tubular, coral-colored flowers. These blossoms emerge from the center of the spiral arrangement.
Native to Lesotho’s mountain ranges, this plant adapts nicely to temperate environments.

Spiral aloe is native to high-altitude grasslands of the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountain ranges of Lesotho, Africa. This uncommon plant shouldn’t be recognized to happen naturally anyplace else. Lesotho is a small, landlocked nation surrounded by South Africa.

The brilliant pinkish-red and orangish-yellow flowers of Aloe polyphylla are the nationwide flower of Lesotho. The plant is typically referred to as the “gem of Drakensberg” or kroonaalwyn, which means “crown aloe.” Indigenous teams use the plant for tribal medicinal ceremonies and magic referred to as Muthi

In its authentic atmosphere, this succulent prefers basalt rock and gravelly crevices on steep slopes. It thrives with average moisture, heat climate, distinctive drainage, and low fertility. The mountainous area the place it grows wild additionally experiences chilly nights, so this succulent is customized to extra temperate areas of america as nicely.


Whereas propagation from seed is finest, it could be potential to develop this plant from pups (offsets) or cuttings. This succulent shouldn’t be as straightforward to propagate as different aloes in your assortment, however with a little bit persistence, you possibly can be taught to copy the attractive fractal spirals as many instances as wanted.

You will need to propagate this uncommon plant by yourself as a result of it’s tough to acquire specimens and is endangered within the wild. Worldwide commerce or illegally buying vital vegetation can get you in large hassle. The vegetation can be costly.


Close-up of a sprout in soil. This sprout is a small, succulent, green leaf of a slightly elongated shape with a pointed tip.
Sow seeds in well-draining soil, protecting them moist for profitable germination.

In case you can’t discover transplants at your native nursery, the seeds are typically extra accessible from on-line unique seed sources. The seeds are pretty tiny and infrequently are available in small portions, so it’s finest to sow them in pots to guarantee the best germination charge potential.

Nonetheless, you don’t wish to hold the seeds excessively heat, as you may with different succulents. As an alternative, they like to germinate at roughly room temperature or 60-70°F.

To sow spiral aloe seeds:

  1. Fill small 3 or 4” pots with a succulent soil mix that’s excessive in perlite and gravel for drainage.
  2. Make a shallow gap within the soil and sow one seed per pot.
  3. Press the seed into the soil floor and really barely cowl with a dusting of sandy soil.
  4. Keep away from burying too deep, because the seeds want some gentle to germinate.
  5. Rigorously water in with a sprig bottle mister, taking care to not flood or displace the seeds.
  6. Hold the seeds moist however not moist till they sprout. Don’t let the soil dry out.
  7. Place in an space with shiny daylight or a develop gentle. Keep away from tremendous excessive temperatures.
  8. Wait 1-3 weeks till the newborn succulents sprout.

Alternatively, some folks efficiently germinate the seeds in moist paper towels after which transplant them into the soil.

The primary leaves ought to seem as a fleshy pair of cotyledons. Inside a couple of weeks, they’ll begin wanting extra like aloe vegetation. The spiralized sample doesn’t develop till no less than 6-10 leaves have grown. Holding the younger vegetation in containers is vital till they’ve a longtime root system.

Pups (Offsets)

Close-up of small Aloe polyphylla offsets. Aloe polyphylla, also known as the Spiral Aloe, produces offsets, or "pups," as part of its natural growth cycle. These offsets emerge as smaller rosettes at the base of the mature plant. They closely mimic the distinctive spiral arrangement of the parent plant's fleshy leaves, forming a compact and symmetrical pattern.
Mature vegetation might produce offsets, which could be transplanted after creating a callous.

Some sources insist that spiral aloe doesn’t produce pups like different succulents, whereas different gardeners say they’ve seen offsets develop from the bottom of their vegetation. Whereas I’ve by no means seen pups on this plant, some might produce them. 

Maybe many people haven’t seen pups develop from spiral aloe as a result of our vegetation are too younger. If yours reaches a mature age over 3-4 years previous and has all its wants met, it could create offsets. You may propagate offsets like different succulents by lifting and dividing them from the mom plant.

To take away and transplant offsets:

  1. Find a reasonably sized “pup” no less than 3-4” in diameter close to the bottom of a wholesome mom plant.
  2. Put on gloves, because the leaves could be sharp.
  3. Use a sterile knife and trowel to softly loosen the soil across the base of the offset and lower it from the primary plant.
  4. Make sure the offset has loads of leaves and wholesome roots connected to it.
  5. Shake away the soil and permit the lower portion to callous over for a couple of days whereas protecting it in a dry, dim space.
  6. Transplant into well-drained soil similar to the mom and supply small quantities of moisture for the primary few weeks.


Close-up of Aloe polyphylla seedlings in small black pots in a greenhouse. Aloe polyphylla seedlings exhibit a charming and miniature version of the distinctive Spiral Aloe characteristics. They form compact rosettes of fleshy leaves arranged in a spiral pattern.
Attempt propagating from leaf cuttings, however success is unsure because of challenges.

As soon as once more, slicing propagation of this plant is a little bit of an issue. Some gardeners say it’s not possible, whereas others have had success. If you wish to attempt it, hold your expectations low as a result of its leaves aren’t as desirous to sprout roots as these of its succulent cousins. Nonetheless, seeing in case your mature plant can yield extra cousins from its wholesome leaves is value a shot.

To take aloe cuttings:

  1. Discover a wholesome, shiny inexperienced leaf on the decrease spiral of a mature plant.
  2. Put on gloves and seize the sharp outer leaf from the bottom.
  3. Gently wiggle the leaf till it detaches from the middle of the plant. If it doesn’t readily detach, use a sanitized knife to chop it away from the mom.
  4. Place the leaf on a paper towel and permit the lower finish to callous over in a dim space.
  5. Wait a couple of days. It’s crucial that the leaf “butt” is calloused so it doesn’t rot once you put it within the soil.
  6. Put together shallow pots with a mix of gravelly, sandy, or perlite-rich soil mix.
  7. Bury the calloused base of the leaf an inch or so within the soil, urgent it in place.
  8. Use a mister bottle to maintain the bottom of the plant moist however not soggy.
  9. Place in a shiny spot with oblique daylight.
  10. Wait a number of weeks till roots develop.
  11. After a month, give the slicing a mild yank to see if it has rooted. At this level, you possibly can slowly introduce it to full daylight and transplant into a bigger container.

Alternatively, you possibly can mist the bottom of a calloused leaf slicing whereas it’s nonetheless on the paper towel and place it in oblique daylight to see if it’ll produce roots.


Planting requires sturdy gloves just like the Felco 701 Backyard Gloves. This plant is critically sharp, and the sap could also be irritating if it will get in your pores and skin!

As soon as your palms are protected, the primary key to success is protecting the bottom of the plant on the similar soil stage because it was in its container. Burying any deeper may cause issues with rot.

How one can Transplant 

Top view, close-up of a Aloe polyphylla plant in a large clay pot. The soil is sprinkled with decorative gray-white pebbles. Nestled within the container, the plant forms a tight and symmetrical rosette of fleshy leaves, showing the characteristic spiral arrangement. The leaves are triangular in shape and green in color with pointed yellowish-bronze tips. The leaves have soft, pale green spines along the edges.
Rigorously transplant by digging a large space, loosening the roots, and offering ample house.

Relocating a spiral aloe is easy however not all the time as straightforward because it appears to be like. Transfer rigorously, or this plant will actually beat up your pores and skin! Dig a large circumference across the root base to attenuate disturbance, and use a shovel to raise it from the bottom. If transplanting from a pot, therapeutic massage the container to loosen the roots earlier than eradicating them from the pot. 

Loosen the soil and put together a gap about 1.5 instances deeper and wider than the present root ball. Make sure the roots are unfold horizontally and down into the soil to encourage enlargement into the brand new house. Place the plant inside and gently backfill to cowl the roots with out getting soil on the decrease leaves.


Aloe polyphylla needs to be planted no less than 24” from neighboring vegetation. Some landscapers want wider spacing of 3-4 toes to permit the plant to unfold to its full abundance. The mature spiral might attain as much as 2 toes in diameter and 1 foot tall.

How one can Develop

You probably have efficiently grown Aloe vera or different succulents, you shouldn’t have any drawback with this spiralized cousin. This species wants barely extra moisture than different cultivars and tolerates colder temperatures, making it appropriate for rock gardens in areas as cool as hardiness zone 7.


Close-up of young spiral aloe in sunlight. Forming a perfect rosette, its fleshy leaves spiral elegantly, creating a mesmerizing geometric pattern. Each leaf is armed with soft spines along its margins, and has a deep green color.
Plant in a fan of full solar for the showiest vegetation.

Spiral aloe enjoys a fan of full solar however doesn’t want sizzling direct gentle like many different succulents. In sizzling climates, partial afternoon shade is good.

About 6 hours of morning or night daylight retains this fractal magnificence rising to its fullest potential. It does tremendous underneath the dappled shade of mid-sized shrubs or cacti. If rising indoors, a south-facing or west-facing window is nice. 


Close-up of a spiral aloe succulent plant covered with water drops. The plant forms a dense spiral rosette of fleshy, bright green leaves with soft spines along the edges. The leaves are triangular in shape and lightly covered with a bluish dusty coating.
This succulent is drought-tolerant and requires well-draining soil.

With its fleshy leaves and southern African roots, it’s no shock that this plant is fairly drought-tolerant. The commonest mistake new growers make is overwatering this succulent. Nonetheless, it does take pleasure in extra water than desert succulents.

The best approach to keep away from overwatering is by rising in additional gravelly soil and checking the soil earlier than irrigating. The roots might succumb to root-rotting fungus in the event that they sit in water too lengthy. The soil ought to totally dry out between each watering. If it nonetheless feels moist, don’t water it! 

If rising open air, supplemental water is usually pointless within the fall and winter whereas the plant is semi-dormant. In areas the place you get rainfall all year long, it’s finest to develop spiral aloe in a container that may be introduced underneath a patio to guard it from rain storms. Indoor vegetation take pleasure in a pleasant drink, and it’s best to present water till it flows out of the drainage gap into the catchment tray. Then, you possibly can let the soil dry for a number of days or one week (relying on situations) earlier than watering once more.


Close-up of a woman's hand in a black glove showing soil substrate for succulents prepared from ingredients standing nearby on the table. The soil substrate consists of dark brown soil, fine gravel, perlite, pumice and other components.
Present well-draining, acidic soil with gravel or perlite for aeration.

Spiral aloe naturally grows in rocky basalt crevices on steep slopes. The free rock ensures steady drainage so the roots by no means sit in moist situations. Basalt additionally makes the soil barely acidic, so you will need to examine that your soil pH shouldn’t be too alkaline

Including tremendous gravel, perlite, pumice, or lava rock can enhance the aeration and acidity. This succulent thrives in rock gardens and areas with sandy or gravelly textures. You too can buy a pre-made soil mix made particularly for succulents and cacti.  

Local weather and Temperature

Close-up of Aloe polyphylla succulent plant in a sunny garden. The fleshy leaves, when examined closely, showcase a mesmerizing spiral arrangement, each with a perfect geometric precision. The well-defined, toothed margins of the leaves are adorned with soft spines. The surface of the leaves exhibits a smooth, waxy finish.
Aloe polyphylla thrives in temperate situations and may deal with slight frost with established roots.

Whereas many succulents are accustomed to excessive warmth, and some are considerably cold-hardy, this aloe is finest suited to milder and even temperate situations. It naturally grows in mountainous areas of Lesotho, tolerating pretty chilly nights. Nonetheless, it can not deal with excessive frost or excessive warmth. It’s best saved at temperatures between 40° and 85°F. 

Some growers in zones 7 and eight report that mature vegetation can deal with slight frost if rising in a rock backyard that retains warmth by means of the night time. They’ll even stay evergreen beneath slight snow so long as they’re totally established earlier than publicity to chilly climate. 

Safety from excessive humidity and excessive wind is important. Vegetation can blow over in harsh storms. In very humid climates, it’s finest saved as a houseplant in dryer areas of the house.


Close-up of six types of chemical fertilizers in small clay pots. These fertilizers have a granular structure and are available in different colors including black, white, brown, yellow, and pink. One of the pots has multi-colored granules in colors such as brown, white, grey, blue and pink.
It thrives in low-fertility soil, with some utilizing occasional feeding for flowering.

You don’t want to fertilize as a result of this species naturally grows in low-fertility, sandy soil. Some container growers feed it a balanced slow-release fertilizer as soon as per 12 months within the spring to attempt to encourage flowering.


Close-up of Aloe polyphylla in a large black plastic pot in the garden. Commonly known as Many-Leaved Aloe or Spiral Aloe, is a remarkable succulent renowned for its striking appearance. The plant forms a perfect rosette, its fleshy leaves spiral elegantly in a mesmerizing pattern. Each leaf is adorned with soft spines along its margins. The leaves display vibrant shades of green.
Take away withered leaves and examine for indicators of rot should you discover yellowing.

There may be not a lot it is advisable to do to keep up spiral aloe, because the plant is sort of strong and self-sustaining. In case you discover any withered or diseased leaves, take away them with gloves and a pointy, sanitized knife. If the plant begins to yellow or wilt, you could want to look at the roots for indicators of rot and take the suitable steps to treatment it.


Close-up of Aloe polyphylla in a sunny garden. Forming a perfect rosette, its fleshy leaves elegantly spiral in a mesmerizing pattern, creating a unique geometric arrangement. The leaves are fleshy, bright green, with pointed tips, and have soft spines along the edges.
Uncommon Aloe polyphylla stays unaltered and pristine, cherished for its pure magnificence and rarity.

The magical spiral aloe belongs to the species Aloe polyphylla. As a result of its rarity and pure magnificence, the plant has not been hybridized or altered in any method.

Backyard Design

The gorgeous magical fractals of this plant completely complement different aloes and succulents in a houseplant association or rock backyard planting. You may develop Aloe polyphylla alongside any plant that enjoys gravelly, poor soil and grows in zones 8-11.


Close-up of an Agave plant in a sunny garden. The plant produces a rosette of thick, fleshy leaves that are blue-green in color. The leaves are rigid, pointed, and lined with sharp spines or teeth along the margins.
Diversified agave varieties thrive in rocky, sandy soil with rare watering.

Agave vegetation are available in many sizes and styles, however all of them are likely to take pleasure in rocky, sandy soil and rare watering. A planting of Parry’s agave or Agave potatorum rosettes appears to be like attractive alongside this spiralized aloe.


Close-up shot of a flowering Sedum album plant in a sunny rock garden. Sedum album, commonly known as white stonecrop or ghost plant, is a charming and low-growing succulent with a distinctive appearance. Forming dense mats of tiny, fleshy leaves, this perennial ground cover displays a lush carpet of green that transforms into shades of reddish-bronze. The leaves are elliptical and smooth, creating a compact and uniform texture. The plant produces clusters of star-shaped white flowers on upright thin red stems.
Sedum album is a low-growing creeping succulent that serves as a superb groundcover.

The Sedum or stonecrop genus contains over 500 species of succulent low-growing vegetation that look phenomenal alongside Aloe polyphylla. A creeping species like Sedum album or Sedum angelina would make a fantastic floor cowl beneath spiral aloe in a container or border mattress. 


Close-up of Echeveria succulents growing in a garden. The fleshy, spoon-shaped leaves form symmetrical rosettes. The leaves have a green-blue tint and slightly pointed tips.
Echeveria glauca has related soil and watering wants.

Blue echeveria (Echeveria glauca) has hanging purplish-blue leaves with ruffly rosettes that create a spiralized polka-dot impact when planted with spiral aloe. These succulents each want gravelly soil and rare watering.

Aloe Vera

Close-up of Aloe vera in the garden. Forming a rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, aloe vera showcases vibrant green coloration with a slight hint of blue. The leaves are lance-shaped, succulent, and lined with small, soft spines along the edges.
Aloe vera is a intently associated cousin.

We are able to’t neglect spiral aloe’s well-known medicinal cousin, Aloe vera. In case you present no less than 18-24” of house between these vegetation, they’ll gladly develop open air in a rock backyard or close to one another in a big container.

Pests and Illnesses

This uncommon unique aloe is remarkably resilient and nearly problem-free. The one points you want to pay attention to are the occasional sucking insect and rotting points attributable to overwatering.

Aphids, Scale Bugs, and Mealybugs

Close-up of Mealybugs on a green succulent leaf. Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that infest various plants, feeding on their sap. These pests appear as tiny, oval-shaped insects, white, coated with a white waxy substance that resembles cotton or mealy powder.
Fight aphids, scale, and mealybugs on succulents with diluted neem oil.

You’ll be very fortunate to develop succulents with out encountering no less than one problem with these tiny sap-sucking bugs. Aphids appear to be tiny oval-shaped white or inexperienced bugs on the undersides of aloe leaves. Scale bugs are even smaller and will trigger a white, powdery look on the foliage. Mealybugs are fluffy and white, gathering in clusters close to the bottom of the leaves. 

All these bugs are finest eradicated with a agency wiping of diluted neem oil resolution. Whereas some aphid infestations are handled by spraying with a blast of water, I wouldn’t suggest this for succulents as a result of extreme moisture and humidity may cause illness points.

Root Rot

Macro view of tips of damaged leaves. The leaves are succulent, with pointed tips and white spines along the edges. The leaves are bright green with yellowish-orange tips. The tips are purple-brown and dry.
Stop root rot through the use of well-drained soil and deal with it by pruning broken roots and replanting.

Overwatering or poorly drained soil are key causes of rotten roots in all aloe vegetation. The bottom of the plant might start wanting pale or yellow. Leaves might flip yellow and develop into wilted or floppy as a result of they aren’t getting sufficient moisture. This paradox happens as a result of the extreme soggy situations result in the event of a root fungus that inhibits the plant from uptaking water. 

To keep away from root rot, use extraordinarily well-drained soil totally amended with perlite, sand, gravel, or pumice. If rot has already taken maintain, you might be able to save the plant by rigorously digging it up (keep in mind to put on gloves when dealing with), pruning away the contaminated items of roots, and replanting in better-draining situations. 

Keep away from watering till the soil has totally dried out. 

Plant Makes use of

Close-up of a succulent plant Aloe polyphylla in a garden with soil sprinkled with decorative pebbles. The plant produces a perfect spiral rosette of fleshy leaves. The leaves have pointed tips and are adorned with soft spines along their margins.
Uncommon spiral aloe is an unique accent in varied shows.

Spiral aloe is a uncommon succulent primarily used as an unique, mystical accent in rock gardens, succulent containers, and houseplant shows. The plant is native to Lesotho in southern Africa and was utilized in tribal medication and non secular ceremonies. The sap irritates the pores and skin and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for Aloe vera gel.

Remaining Ideas

This uniquely psychedelic-looking succulent differs barely from its cousins as a result of it tolerates colder temperatures and doesn’t take pleasure in excessive warmth. Pay attention to its mountainous house with gravelly, well-drained sloped soils and average summer season rainfall.

Water the plant when the soil dries out and keep away from excessive wind or rain publicity. Do not forget that spiral aloe may be very uncommon and particular. Purchase seeds from a good supply, and should you go to Lesotho, by no means take away the plant or any of its components from the wild.

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