Garden Aloes

Aloe rubroviolacea

Also Known As: Arabian Aloe

Category: Small to Medium Clumping Aloes

USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b - 11


Aloe rubroviolacea is appreciated by many as one of the more spectacular aloes available. Not a super common aloe, but one of the more striking ones in full sun where large, fat succulent, blue-green leaves that can turn a violet color and form 2 foot wide rosettes which arch gracefully outward. This aloe comes from steep and rocky areas above 7,000 feet elevation in the mountains of Yemen and Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula.


A sprawling succulent that forms beautiful 2 foot rosettes of thick, fleshy, blue green leaves atop slow-growing stems. Over time these stems elongate while new shoots emerge at their base where old leaves have dried and fallen off, forming sprawling clumps to 6 feet wide by 3 feet tall. Aloe rubroviolacea ends up looking like a 'crawling' aloe although it sometimes will form an upright stem. Leaves are a glaucous, blue-green in partial shade, with contrasting reddish margins, the leaves get purple tinged in full sun. In winter, the foliage takes on pink tones, which is the reason for the specific epithet 'rubraviolacea' meaning 'red-violet'. This Yemeni aloe has leaves with small yellow to orange, hooked teeth on their margins that are not very sharp. The leaves have a fluorescent green sap which dries a dark violet color and can stain concrete and clothing. Leaves even dry a dark, deep purple before turning the typical brown of a dead aloe leaf. It's a vigorous grower in mild climates, and makes an attractive addition to a succulent garden. It also is not a prolific offsetter. Seedlings will end up being attractive adults in just 2-4 years. Most growers of aloes find this one of the most spectacular and rewarding of all the aloes one can grow.


Similar to A. pseudorubroviolacea but smaller and more prolific, with fewer branches on the inflorescence. Inflorescences are tall and unbranched (or with one branch), with 1 inch long flowers. Flowers are somewhat compact, beehive-shaped structures on solitary or reluctantly branching inflorescences on very thick stalks. This aloe begins blooming in late fall with spikes of waxy orange-red flowers. Dense spires of the rather large, tubular flowers continue into winter making a great show each year. Although the plant is fairly hardy, the flowers are not and they will be damaged by frost so protect them from freezing temperatures for the best floral display.

Origin / History

This aloe comes from steep and rocky areas above 7,000 feet elevation in the mountains of Yemen and Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula.

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Care / Cultivation

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil - in its natural habitat this plant grows pendant or semi-pendant on steep slopes but can tolerate level ground if soil is well draining. Protect from snails which can disfigure the attractive leaves.

Frost Tenderness

The plant is fairly hardy with foliage remaining undamaged down to 20° F and even resprouting from underground stems after colder temperatures but the winter flowers will freeze if temperatures drop much below 32°F. However, flowers were severely damaged.

Use in the Garden

Excellent specimen plant for both standard gardens and very steeply sloping ones (good one to plant so stems head downhill).

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The information on this page about Aloe rubroviolacea has been gathered and summarized from the sources below. Visit these pages to learn more.

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