Seeing a spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) is an unforgettable experience, and to see one is to want one. Under ideal conditions, these rare succulents can attain two feet in diameter. They're challenging to grow, but not impossible. Like lithops (living stones), if you understand their persnickety requirements, they'll do fine.
Spiral Aloe Essentials
- Climate: Spiral aloes are native to the Drakensberg mountains of Lesotho, South Africa. They grow on steep slopes with their roots bathed in snow melt, in low humidity and excellent air circulation.
- Soil: Use any commercial potting soil, providing it has no coir or peat (which hold too much moisture). Enhance drainage and aeration by amending half-and-half with pumice, crushed lava or perlite. Keep soil temps below 80F.
- Light: Bright shade to part sun in mild climates; protect from strong midday sun.
- Water: Keep soil moist but never soggy. Water with ice cubes during heat spells.
- Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro, 1 tablespoon per gallon during the growing season.
- Pests: Spiral aloes are vulnerable to mites, mealy bugs and aphids. Ants are often the first sign of an infestation. Apply an insecticide containing pyrethrin.
Interested in owning, growing or selling this most beautiful of succulents?
Renowned spiral aloe expert Alan Beverly of Ecoscape Nursery in Santa Cruz, CA plans to sell his nursery stock and breeding plants in 2024. "I want to retire and play classical/Hawaiian/Celtic guitar," Alan says.
After decades of growing the plants---which are in danger of extinction in the wild---Alan's looking for "a qualified and committed horticulturist to provide this wonderful and fascinating species to buyers." Contact him for more info: email@example.com.
Below: The lovely Miss July from my Spiral Succulents calendar~
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