Aloe Polyphylla, also known as Spiral Aloe or Aloe Polyphylla Spiral, is an unusual and breathtaking plant that can mostly be seen on the slopes of the Maluta Mountains.
This many-leaved plant with symmetrical and recognizable spiral rows represents Lesotho’s national plant. The beauty of it is reflected in its petals that grow in both directions, clockwise and counterclockwise.
This Aloe blooms at times, and when it does, it’s usually late spring or early summer. Its red and salmon pink, sometimes even yellow, flowers come on the tip of the branching spike. The flowers are filled with nectar, so bees, insects, and even birds love it.
Below you can read more interesting facts about growing Aloe Polyphylla and some tips and tricks that will help you make this plant a part of your garden.
Characteristics of Aloe Polyphylla
- Plant Family: Asphodelaceae
- Plant Genus: Aloe
- Related Aloe species: Aloe glauca, Aloe lineata, and Aloe pratensis
- Native Habitat: Lesotho, South Africa zones
- Height: It growns up to 1 ft. tall (30cm)
- Width: Up to 2 ft. (60cm)
- Water needs: Low, watering rarely but thoroughly
- Soil type: Loam, sand
- Exposure: Full sun
- Seasons: All four (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
Aloe Polyphylla Care Tips
Position and light requirements
Spiral Aloe is a stemless, hardy plant in USDA hardiness Zones 7-9, but there are some things that you need to be careful about when choosing a spot in your garden.
This plant’s native habitat is Africa, so it loves the sun and requires a bright spot with at least 6 hours of full sun per day.
But too much sunlight can harm it, so you need to provide a partial shade for Spiral Aloe if the sun is pretty strong in your garden for most of the day.
Also, these plants have to be slightly angled to allow the water to drain and save the crown from rot, so pick angled zones of your garden.
Temperature tolerance depends on the maturity of your plants and the exact species you have. This succulent is primarily an outdoor plant but can also be grown indoors.
When it comes to young plants, they prefer warmer weather and do not tolerate low temperatures. So when low temperatures come, you should shelter young plants inside and away from the cold and snow.
On the other hand, older Polyphylla Spiral Aloe plants can stand up to 20°F below zero (-7°C).
Watering Aloe Polyphylla
When it comes to watering, Aloe Polyphylla Spiral plants aren’t demanding. Many species even store water by themselves.
Regular watering is mandatory during spring and summer, especially if the evergreen plant is exposed to direct sunlight all day. However, it needs less water when it has some shade. Also, overwatering can harm it.
When the temperatures are low during the winter, it needs even less water than during the summer.
It’s essential to always keep in mind that Aloe Polyphylla Spiral stores water on its own much like all succulents. Therefore, you should be careful not to overwater it. Its flower will die rather quickly if you do.
Soil for Spiral Aloe
Spiral Aloe is succulent, so it likes well-drained soil. It prefers sandy over heavy clay soils, so make sure the soil in your garden is suitable.
Water retaining is usually the biggest issue for Polyphylla Spiral Aloe and other succulents, so hillsides and slopes are better than flat gardens.
Choosing the right type provides enough oxygen for the root, which means that your Polyphylla Spiral Aloe will have healthy growth.
If you place Polyphylla Spiral Aloe in a container, the pot must have drainage holes so that no water can stay in there.
Advice for making perfect well-drained soil at home:
- one-third of a peat-free compost/coconut coir
- two-thirds of a grit/sand/perlite
Pruning Spiral Aloe
In this aspect, Aloe Polyphylla Spiral doesn’t require a lot of your time unless it’s in a pot. However, the size of the pot will certainly be an issue at some point, and you’ll have to prune the plant.
Otherwise, there is no need for it, even when the gray-green leaves dry out or die. Every sharp leaf, even a dry one, has its own function, and there’s no need to remove it.
Aloe Polyphylla Propagation
Seeds can be scarce, so there are two methods you can use for propagation: offsets or cuttings.
Tips for cuttings:
- use mature Spiral Aloe
- wear protective gloves because Aloe Spiral can be toxic
- cut only the outer leaves
- always use a sterile knife when cutting its sharp leaves
- cut leaves need to dry a couple of days on a well-drained soil
- plant the cut on a bright spot, but not in direct sunlight
- water it rarely but thoroughly
You don’t need seeds if your Spiral Aloe produces offsets. You can use the offsets to propagate by pulling or cutting and then drying them the same way as a leaf cut in the cutting method. Make sure to plant it in a well-moisturized zone.
Aloe Polyphylla Problems
Two well-known parasites attack this evergreen plant:
Mealybugs are tiny insects that create cotton-like mass on the surface of the succulent. This problem can be fixed by using insect spray, neem oil, or washing the plant using detergent and water.
Scale are parasites that make succulents look sick by feeding on plant sap. This problem can be treated the same way as Mealybugs.
It’s succulent, so it’s pretty easy to wash, but make sure to stay away from applying any detergent to the flower.
What is the ideal temperature for Aloe Polyphylla?
This plant, much like all succulents, can withstand cold and hot weather, but the ideal temperature is between 21°C and 23°C. You’ll notice the best growth at this temperature, so try to move it between indoors and outdoors as the seasons change.
Does Aloe Polyphylla require fertilization?
It’s recommended to fertilize it twice or even three times during the growing season. This will help it grow big and healthy, especially if you found a good spot for it and you’re regular with watering.
Although it’s recommended, you don’t have to fertilize it if you don’t want to.
How to take care of an Aloe Polyphylla during intense sunlight?
In this case, you should provide some shade for the plant since excessive exposure to the sun can harm it. It likes being outside, but it can only thrive away from the direct sun because too much heat will cause it to dry out relatively fast.
Can Aloe Polyphylla freeze in freezing weather?
A mature plant can stand up to -7°C, but it needs to be indoors during low temperatures when it’s young. Make sure to remove it from your garden in the winter, placing it in a perfectly sized pot. You can return it outdoors once the freezing temperatures of winter are gone.
How do you care for aloe Polyphylla?
This one needs occasional watering, bright light, fertilizing to thrive and grow big. It doesn’t require much more than that, especially since it retains water on its own.
As long as you find a good spot for aloe, it’ll do most of the work with the water it retains. For this reason, make sure to give it enough water but only from time to time.
How long does aloe Polyphylla take to grow?
It takes about five to six years to reach its full size if you’ve provided proper growing conditions. For example, don’t expect it to grow much if it’s in direct sun or the soil is wet all the time.
It grows the fastest when planted on a slope.
Can you grow aloe Polyphylla indoors?
You can grow it, but make sure to find a good pot that allows the water to drain. As we said, this plant doesn’t like water too much, so make sure all the extra doesn’t stay in the pot.
Also, find a good place where it can get some sun for at least six hours a day. Leaving it in direct sunlight for too long will cause its leaves to turn brown.
How do you care for an Aloe spiral?
Aloe spiral is a great decorative plant that grows rather quickly. It’s easy to care for since all it needs is occasional watering and fertilizing.
Add a liquid fertilizer two or three times during the growing season and watch it thrive. Keep in mind that it can grow outdoors in your garden or in a decorative container somewhere in your house.
Spiral Aloe is a beautiful hardy plant easy to maintain. Its pale green leaves and pink flowers stand out in any space, whether it’s your garden or room. It loves growing in containers, just make sure they’re the right size.
It doesn’t take much of your time, but just a little bit of love and water. This succulent can thrive in an indoor space just as well, provided you place it in an adequate pot and a suitable location.