Aloe brevifolia-Crocodile Aloe, Blue Aloe, Short-Leaf Aloe

Aloe brevifolia as I bought it on 10-11-12, #121-1.

Crocodile Aloe, Blue Aloe, Short Leaved Aloe

Aloe brevifolia

al-OH  brev-ee-FOH-lee-uh

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 brevifoliaAloe 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.

Aloe brevifolia on 2-17-13, #139-6.

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…


A friends Aloe brevifolia on 11-9-12, #128-1.

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.

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cactus and succulents.


Aloe brevifolia on 4-18-13, #141-3. It measured 4 1/2″ tall x 8 3/4″ wide when this photo was taken.

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.


Aloe brevifolia-Crocodile Aloe on 6-1-13, #151-7.

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.


Aloe brevifolia on 7-14-17, #162-13.

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.


Aloe brevifolia on 10-7-17, #193-14.

It did start looking better toward the end of the summer, but then, colder weather was approaching.


Aloe brevifolia on 12-7-17, #208-5.

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…


Aloe brevifolia offset on 12-7-13, #208-6.

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.


2 comments on “Aloe brevifolia-Crocodile Aloe, Blue Aloe, Short-Leaf Aloe

  1. Luke says:

    I just purchased an aloe brevifolia from Home Depot. I cannot find anywhere on the web whether this plant would be good for external skin care, i.e., wounds and acne. One site I visited said it was mildly toxic, yet it didn’t specify internally, externally or both. Would you happen to know whether it could be used on the skin like traditional aloe vera?
    Thanks for your diligent work and wonderful blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Luke! Glad you found an Aloe brevifolia. HOWEVER, I would not necessarily use the gel on your skin. Aloe vera is the plant for that. Even so, part of that plant can also cause contact dermatitis. Like when you scrape the gel from the leaves, the gel is good but if you scrape to much you will get into other plant tissue that is not good. You are better off buying Aloe vera in a bottle from a reliable natural food store or at least check the ingredients for added stuff you don’t need. It also depends on what you are using it for, too. Aloe vera is not good for all skin conditions and can cause a rash in sensitive people. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment.


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