Project Description

Aloe polyphylla

Spiral Aloe

The beautiful spirals of this succulent are mesmerizing, but are quite sharp. Each plant is different, and the spiral can turn either clockwise or counter clockwise. It is considered one of the most difficult succulents to grow.

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Quick Look:
  • Full sun to partial shade

  • Not suited for indoor growing

  • Typical water needs for a succulent

  • Plant grows up to 12″ (30 cm) tall

    Plant grows up to 24″ (61 cm) wide

  • Zone 10a (Minimum 20° F | -1.1° C)

  • Not cold hardy

  • Propagation by offsets

  • Can be toxic to humans and animals

  • Summer Dormant

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Care and Propagation Information

General Care for Aloe polyphylla “Spiral Aloe”

“Spiral Aloe” is a rare succulent, with rosettes formed by five rows of leaves. Each row contains between 15 and 30 sharp leaves, creating a rosette that can grow up to 1 foot (31 cm) across.

Aloe polyphylla blooms in the spring, with pink-orange flowers.


“Spiral Aloe” tends to need a bit less water than other succulents. It’s best to use the “soak and dry” method, and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Where to Plant

“Spiral Aloe” is not cold hardy until it is mature, so if you live in a zone that gets colder than 30° F (-1.1° C), it’s best to plant younger specimens in a container that can be brought indoors. It does well in full to partial sun.

Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.

Pairs Well With

Sempervivum ‘Pacific Devil’s Food’

How to Propagate Aloe polyphylla “Spiral Aloe”

While you may think that you should be able to propagate Aloe from leaves, this is not the case, and you may find your leaves rotting. Instead, “Spiral Aloe” is propagated from offsets or seeds (difficult).


After several years of growth, “Spiral Aloe” will produce an offset. This can be separated from the main plant using a sterile knife.

Wear gloves and use care when removing the offset, as the leaves are sharp. After removal, clean the bottom of the plant, allow it to callous over, and plant in well-draining soil.

History and Name

Aloe polyphylla “Spiral Aloe” is used in African tribal medicine and magic. These plants are considered endangered in the wild.

Polyphylla comes from the Latin words ‘poly’ meaning many, and ‘phylla’ meaning leaves. It is also called Kroonaalwyn in Afrikaans, meaning “Crown Aloe.”

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