Aloe Polyphylla (Spiral Aloe): How To Grow A Rare Spiral Succulent

This evergreen succulent has the loveliest spiral one could ever find in nature; its image is fascinating and unique. As a rare type of succulent, Aloe Polyphylla adds drama and a showy character to its garden space.

Gardeners and succulent aficionados are sure to be pleased with the addition of this little plant consisting of many charms.

The hesitancy to own one of these succulents is that their rarity and uniqueness make them difficult to care for. But, if a gardener is prepared to carefully watch over their little plant, they will reap the benefits of owning the finest looking spiral succulent known the world over.

How to Identify Aloe Polyphylla

This succulent can be identified by its unique rosette shape. Its wide, fleshy, and green leaves are wound into a tight spiral shape that is absolutely mesmerizing. Another key feature to help identify this plant is the small sharp spikes that line the edges of each leaf.

Where Does Aloe Polyphylla Grow

This particular aloe is a native of the breathtakingly beautiful Drakensberg Mountains in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The climate here is cool and rainy in summer and mildly snowy in winter.

Uses of Aloe Polyphylla

These are great plants to keep in containers for indoor decorations, or, they can be planted outdoors along walkways. They make great decorative pieces for lawns and succulent gardens.

How to Grow Aloe Polyphylla from Seed

Aloe Polyphylla

Growing an Aloe Polyphylla from seed is very time-consuming; it can take several months. But, if this is the manner in which you want to grow this plant, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a container that drains well
  2. Choose a potting soil mix that is coarse and sandy
  3. Fill the container with the potting soil
  4. Set the seeds on top of the potting soil
  5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil (the seeds should barely be covered)
  6. Moisten the soil without getting it soggy
  7. Keep the container in an area with temperatures that range between 68- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit

Aloe Polyphylla Growing Conditions

While most succulents are easy-going and rather uncomplicated to care for, Aloe Polyphylla is not so simple. It is a fussy little plant that can be difficult to grow in cultivation. But, with the proper type of care, this little plant can survive, and even thrive, in a garden setting.

The best way to care for your Aloe Polyphylla is to prepare in advance. Learn how to properly care for them, and then, prepare their home space with all they will need to grow their best. Let’s take some time now to learn what these lovely, but slightly fussy plants need from their caretakers.

When to Plant Aloe Polyphylla

Aloe Polyphylla should be planted in spring or summer when there is plenty of heat to encourage growth.

How to Plant Aloe Polyphylla

While Aloe Polyphylla can be planted in a container, it is best to plant it outdoors in soil that is coarse and well-draining. Also, it is highly recommended that it be planted in a rocky and angular area to mimic its native environment.

Aloe Polyphylla Water Requirements

Aloe Polyphylla needs very little water. It should be watered in moderation during the growing season that runs from spring to early fall. During the dormant season, it should be watered even less often.

Aloe Polyphylla Sun Requirements

Aloe Polyphylla plants need a different amount of sun than most other types of succulents. While most succulents crave warm, sunny conditions, this plant prefers cool, shaded areas. It is best to place these plants in a place that gets shaded sunlight and does not get hot.

Heat is another area where Aloe Polyphylla differs from other types of succulents. This plant can get too hot and If it gets too hot, it may not survive. What is interesting is that this plant does well in cooler weather, and mature plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time.  They can also tolerate some snow.

Best Aloe Polyphylla Fertilizer

Aloe Polyphylla should be fed 2 to 3 times. This should be done only during its growing season, which is from spring to early fall. A slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food is the perfect option for feeding this type of plant.

Best Aloe Polyphylla Companion Plantings

Perhaps you are looking for some other types of succulents to set out alongside your Aloe Polyphylla.  If you have decided that your plant needs a companion, then try one of these lovely options.

Echeveria Elegans

Echeveria Elegans

These are tiny and cute succulents that will easily befriend your Aloe Polyphylla. They can swarm around each other and provide excellent ground cover, texture, and color for your garden. They are also easy to care for and this makes them so wonderful to keep around.

Care Tips

  • These grow best in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • These grow best in full or partial sun
  • These grow best in USDA Hardiness zone 9 to 12
  • These require minimal watering during their growing season

Pros

  • These are drought tolerant
  • These are deer resistant
  • These are nearly disease-free
  • These are easy to propagate by several different methods (seed, root, stem, or leaf cuttings)
  • These only grow up to 8 inches tall and 1 foot wide
  • These attract hummingbirds

Cons

  • These can attract mealybugs, vine weevils, and aphids
  • These can overtake a yard or garden area

Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Paddle Plant’

Kalanchoe Luciae

These plants are stunning. Their lovely shape and colors will complement your Aloe Polyphylla in the most eye-pleasing manner possible. With these two succulents paired together, your garden is sure to leave viewers in awe.

Care Tips

  • These grow best in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • These grow best in full or partial sun
  • These grow best in USDA Hardiness zone 9 to 12
  • These require minimal watering during their growing season

Pros

  • These are drought tolerant
  • These are heat tolerant
  • These are salt-tolerant
  • These turn shades of red when placed in direct sunlight
  • These produce yellow flowers
  • The spread by offsets

Cons

  • These are susceptible to attacks of slugs and snails

Sedum Nussbaumerianum ‘Stonecrop’

Sedum Nussbaumerianum

This is another lovely succulent that would make a perfect companion for an Aloe Polyphylla. It too enjoys rocky, sloped areas and can deal with many of the same climates. Not only will this plant be an easy-to-maintain partner, but it will also be a beautiful one.

Care Tips

  • These grow best in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • These grow best in full sun
  • These grow best in USDA Hardiness zone 9 to 11
  • These require minimal watering during their growing season

Pros

  • These are drought tolerant
  • These are heat tolerant
  • These are deer resistant
  • These turn shades of gold and copper when placed in direct sunlight
  • These are excellent for ground covering in rocky areas

Cons

  • These can overtake a garden
  • These can begin to look spindly and need to be trimmed

Aloe Cameronii ‘Red Aloe’

Aloe Cameronii

This particular aloe plant has a rainbow of colors to display. Depending on how much sun it gets, it can be green, copper red, or a combination of both.

Not only are the leaves showy and colorful, but this plant also blooms bright orange-red flowers in late fall or early winter. If you want another stunning succulent to partner with your Aloe Polyphylla, look no further.

Care Tips

  • It will grow in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • It enjoys full sun
  • It can be propagated through offsets
  • It grows best in USDA Hardiness zones 9 – 11

Pros

  • Only grows up to two feet tall and four feet wide
  • It is drought tolerant
  • It is nearly disease-free
  • It is deer resistant
  • It attracts birds and bees

Cons

  • It attracts scale insects and mealybugs

Aloe Dorotheae ‘Sunset Aloe’

Aloe Dorotheae

If you want to add even more drama to your succulent garden, then you need an Aloe Dorotheae in it. This plant is gorgeous all year round but is even more so when placed under healthy stressors. It is the perfect plant for ground cover or in a container with an undersea theme.

Care Tips

  • It will grow in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • It enjoys full sun
  • It can be propagated through offsets
  • It requires moderate watering during its growing season and less watering during its dormant season
  • It grows best in USDA Hardiness zones 10 – 11

Pros

  • Only grows up to one foot tall and two feet wide
  • It is drought tolerant
  • It is deer resistant
  • It attracts birds and bees
  • It is nearly disease-free

Cons

  • It attracts scale insects and mealybugs

Aloe Plicatilis ‘Fan Aloe’

Aloe Plicatilis

If you need something that is a showstopping centerpiece, then this succulent is sure to satisfy – it was designed to be admired. Its long fleshy leaves are thin, wide, and tipped in the most vibrant red. While its look is more reminiscent of a shrub than a succulent, this plant is all about the usual uncomplicated care of a succulent.

Care Tips

  • It will grow in well-drained loamy or sandy soil
  • It enjoys full sun
  • It can be propagated through offsets
  • It requires moderate watering during its growing season and less watering during its dormant season
  • It grows best in USDA Hardiness zones 9 – 11

Pros

  • It is drought tolerant
  • It is deer resistant
  • It attracts birds
  • It is nearly disease-free
  • It produces blooms
  • It can grow in a garden plot or in a container

Cons

  • It grows up to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide
  • It is susceptible to root rot
  • It attracts scale insects and mealybugs

Aloe Polyphylla Diseases and Common Problems

These are very fussy and sensitive plants so they need to be cared for meticulously. If you notice that your Aloe Polyphylla looks unhealthy, it could be for one of the following reasons.

Too Much Water

This is something that negatively impacts all types of succulents, so don’t be surprised if your Aloe Polyphylla struggles with this too.

Symptoms: If you notice that your plant is turning brown, translucent, or mushy, you may have a problem with overwatering.

Too Much Cold

While this plant does better in cold temperatures than other types of succulents, it can still struggle when exposed to low temperatures for a long time.

Symptoms: The plant will look brown and rotten.

Too Much Heat

It is very interesting that this succulent struggles in the heat when most succulents thrive in it.

Symptoms: The plant will look dry and rotten.

Aloe Polyphylla Treatments and Maintenance

Too Much Water

Suggested Solutions: Fixing this problem will be a matter of getting the plant and the soil around it to dry out. Also, it will be necessary to cut off any parts that are rotting so that it doesn’t spread to the rest of the plant.

Too Much Cold

Suggested Solutions: Don’t plant an Aloe Polyphylla in the ground if you live in an area that has temperatures below freezing. It is best to bring these plants indoors during long, cold winters.

Too Much Heat

Suggested Solutions: Place the plant in a place that gets shaded sun and do not allow it to sit in direct sun or too much heat. If you live in an area that is hotter than 86 degrees Fahrenheit for lengthy periods of time, it is recommended that you bring the plant indoors during that time.

Where to Buy Aloe Polyphylla Seeds Online

If you are looking for some seeds to plant and grow your own Aloe Polyphylla, try one of these online seed shops.

Where to Buy Aloe Polyphylla Plants Online

Aloe Polyphylla

Because these plants are rare and can be difficult to grow in cultivation, it is considered a criminal offense in South Africa (the succulents’ natural habitat) to remove one from where it is growing naturally or to purchase one from a vendor along the side of the road.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places where these plants are sold legitimately and lawfully. If you are considering adding one of these to your garden, then these shops are a great place to look.

FAQs

Question: Can Aloe Polyphylla Grow Indoors?

Answer: Yes, they can grow indoors, and actually, they may thrive indoors better than outdoors. Unless you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12 and Heat Zones 10 – 12, these plants are not going to do well if they are kept outside all year round. If kept indoors, the plant should be situated in a place that gets morning sun.

Question: Is Aloe Polyphylla Toxic?

Answer: Unfortunately, these plants are known to be toxic if ingested. It is best to keep these plants away from any family pets or small children that may inadvertently consume some of the leaves.

Question: Does Aloe Polyphylla Bloom?

Answer: Yes, these plants do produce blooms, usually in the spring or early summer seasons.

Question: Can Aloe Polyphylla be Propagated by Offsets?

Answer: Yes, these plants are best propagated through offsets. Growing them from seeds is also possible but it quite difficult and it can take a long time to do it successfully. To propagate an Aloe Polyphylla through offsets, follow these steps.

– Remove the offset(s)
– Clean the bottom part of the offset(s)
– Allow the offset(s) to dry in a shaded place until it hardens
– Once the offset(s) is hard and has calluses, plant it in a container with well-draining soil or succulent potting mix
– Care for it as you would a regular-sized Aloe Polyphylla

Concluding Words

Aloe Polyphylla is one of those plants that gardeners and nature lovers will be thrilled to own. Its shape is striking. Its colorful shading is wondrously cool and fresh. Its uniqueness is quintessential.

If you are on a journey to broaden your gardening skills or brighten your garden spot, take the time to get to know this lovely little plant. Its delicate beauty is worth all the effort.

Research Citations

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