Crocodile Aloe, Blue Aloe, Short Leaved Aloe
Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit
Aloe brevifolia Mill. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Crocodile Aloe. It was described by Phillip Miller in Garden Dictionary in 1771.
Accepted varieties of Aloe brevifolia: Aloe brevifolia var. brevifolia, Aloe brevifolia var. depressa (Haw.) Bake
The genus, Aloe L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. Plants of the World Online lists a whopping 575 species in the Aloe genus (as of 1-16-20 when I am updating this page.
Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page for further reading.
When I was buying plants at Lowe’s and Wal-Mart in Greenville, Mississippi in August 2012, I only wanted to pay up to $3.00 per tiny pot. There were a few bigger pots of Aloe brevifolia at Lowe’s, but they were around $10.00 a pop. SO, I took an offset and brought it home. That didn’t work so well because it soon died. Hmmm. Hardly ever happens. SO, after it died, I went back to Lowe’s and bought one of the larger pots… It was very overcrowded, so I put it in a larger pot…
I was doing some yard work for a friend in Mississippi and noticed she had this AWESOME Aloe brevifolia in a planter in her backyard. She said it overwintered there even though we were in USDA zone 8a.
Family: Asphodelaceae (Syn. Aloaceae)
Origin: Areas around Cape Town in South Africa.
Zones: USDA Zone 11 Hmmm…
Size: 1-2’ tall x 1’2’ wide.
Light: Information says to plant in full sun…
Water: Water occasionally when soon is dry.
*Soil: Well-drained soil. Does not like wet feet. Use a very fast-draining potting soil.
Flowers: Orange flowers on long spikes beginning in late spring.
*Aloe species are normally easy to grow in the ground where cold-hardy or in pots where they aren’t. There are a lot of potting soil recipes online and many people develop their own with experience and what is readily available. Read the ingredients on the bag and always start with a base of a reliable brand name potting soil. I always use either Miracle Grow or Schultz Potting soil because I can buy it in large bags. They also offer cactus soil in smaller bags with similar ingredients. I used 2 parts potting soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit. After reading that cactus and succulent enthusiasts were recommending pumice in place of perlite and grit, I decided to try it. So, in late in 2018 I purchased a bag of pumice online from General Pumice. I have been using a combination of about 50% potting soil and 50% pumice with favorable results.
I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013 and I brought most of my succulents with me. Most of my plants were in the back of a trailer and it was around 30 degrees the entire 8-9 hour trip. I had no idea what I was going to do with them when I arrived, so most of them had to go into the basement. Surprisingly, most of them did fine in the basement with low light and 65-degree temperature. The Aloe brevifolia not only didn’t like the trip, it didn’t appreciate the basement.
The Aloe brevifolia was so happy to be outside when spring came. Now we can all get used to a completely new environment. It asked me if it could be moved into a smaller pot, which I thought was weird. I never had a plant make such a request before since they are usually wanting a larger pot. So, I put it in a smaller pot…
Aloe brevifolia is native to South Africa north of Cape Agulhas to the east of Cape Town. Information suggests it gets most of its rain during the winter months. The area it is native to is being used more and more for agriculture, so it is listed as an endangered species. It now grows mainly in small areas on slopes and rocky areas where it has adapted to avoid fires.
I am not sure what the deal was with this plant. It was outside in a smaller pot but it was NOT happy. Maybe it needed more sun.
This species is a clumper that forms rosettes that seem to build on top of each other to about a foot or so tall.
It did start looking better toward the end of the summer, but then, colder weather was approaching.
SO, toward the end of October, all the potted plants outside had to be moved inside. Most of the succulents were moved to a table in my bedroom. Well, it didn’t like it…
I put an offset from the bigger plant on the kitchen windowsill with several other succulents.
I am not sure what happened, but there were no photos of my Aloe brevifolia in 2014. It is December 1, 2017, when I am writing this page so I just don’t remember. Someday, I may find another Aloe brevifolia to try, even though it does seem a little picky.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.