Also Known As: Short-Leaf Aloe
Category: Small to Medium Clumping Aloes
USDA Hardiness Zones: 8b-10b
OverviewAloe brevifolia is a tiny, stemless, blue-green succulent that forms compact rosettes, and is native to the Western Cape, South Africa. Aloe brevifolia belongs to the dwarf-aloe group forming clumps up to 1 foot tall.
DescriptionEach rosette gets to just over 3 inches wide, bearing broadly triangular thick pale gray leaves that have white spines along the margins and a few along the keel of the lower surface. The leaves are wedge-shaped, fat and edged with soft, harmless, white teeth. The plant is also distinctive for its gray-blue color. Leaves can turn red and yellow-ish in direct sun. Aloe brevifolia plants usually form large groups of densely leafy rosettes.
FloweringIn the late spring it sends up an inflorescence up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall with bright red flowers. One or two unbranched inflorescences are formed. The racemes are cone-shaped and rather sparse lower down, but with the buds densely packed and hidden by the bracts. The flowers of all the species in this group are large in relation to the size of the plants and therefore very showy, which makes them highly sought-after collectors' items.
Origin / HistoryThis plant has a restricted natural distribution on dry clay soil in mild winter rainfall areas near the coast and up to 500 feet in elevation in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Its natural habitat is critically endangered because of the areas transformation to agriculture. The name 'brevifolia' means 'short-leaf' in Latin.
Care / CultivationPlant in a reasonably sunny position in a well-drained soil. It requires only moderate watering and should not be kept perpetually damp.
Frost TendernessHas proven hardy to 25 degrees F but is not considered much hardier than this.
Use in the GardenThis is a great small-scale groundcover aloe and was one of the first aloes to be successfully cultivated in Europe and received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 2002. Widely popular as an ornamental plant in rockeries and desert gardens worldwide.
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