Aloe Brevifolia Care – All About Short-Leaved Aloe

Love aloe plants but short on space? Look no further. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of Aloe brevifolia care, the delightful dwarf aloe.

aloe brevifolia care

With its unique characteristics and easy care requirements, this succulent is perfect for small gardens or containers.

Get ready to discover everything you need to know about this captivating plant.

Aloe Brevifolia – A Plant That Speaks A Character

Aloe brevifolia, also known as the crocodile plant, is a sight to behold. To be honest, I like the fact that their leaves are so short chubby.

Standing at less than a foot tall, this succulent boasts thick, triangular leaves clustered in a rosette formation.

Its stunning glaucous green, blue, and gray color adds a touch of elegance to any space.

Whether you’re looking to adorn your garden or spruce up your indoor decor, the short-leaved aloe is the perfect choice.

aloe brevifolia care

Types of Aloe Brevifolia

While Aloe brevifolia is the most common variety, keep an eye out for these interesting subvarieties:

Aloe brevifolia f. Variegata

This form showcases non-uniform yellow and white stripes. It adds subtle color and charm to rock gardens.

aloe brevifolia care

Aloe brevifolia var. Depressa

Considered the largest type of Aloe brevifolia, this variety can reach up to a foot in height and features a more spread-out growth pattern.

The bottom leaves grow outward, creating a flower-like shape.

aloe brevifolia care

Aloe Brevifolia Care Guide

Aloe brevifolia earned its nickname, the crocodile plant, due to the “teeth” lining the edges of its leaves.

These soft spikes give the plant a crocodile-like appearance. But don’t be fooled by its charming looks.

While these spikes are harmless, the plant itself is mildly toxic and should not be consumed by humans or pets.

This aloe variety thrives best in outdoor environments within zones 9-11. It complements rock gardens and xeriscapes beautifully.

The short-leaved aloe’s clumping rosettes make it an excellent choice for small-scale groundcover.

And if you provide the right conditions, your aloe may reward you with a burst of vibrant colors.

The leaf tips turn dazzling shades of red, yellow, and orange in response to bright light.

aloe brevifolia care

Originating from South Africa, Aloe brevifolia experiences growth spurts in spring and fall, with a slowdown or dormancy period during summer and winter.

Its elegant flowers bloom in late spring, attracting birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden.

Light & Temperature

Aloe brevifolia thrives under sunlight. It prefers 6-8 hours of bright light daily. However, if direct sunlight is not available, partial sun will suffice.

When relocating your aloe to a new spot, introduce it gradually to the new light conditions.

The ideal temperature range for this plant is 70-80°F. If temperatures drop below 20°F, it’s crucial to bring your Aloe brevifolia indoors.

When grown indoors, place your crocodile plant in a sunny south-facing window. Consider using a grow light if needed to supplement natural light.

aloe brevifolia care

Water & Humidity

Aloe brevifolia’s leaves store ample water, making frequent watering unnecessary. Opt for the “soak and dry” method.

Give your short-leaved aloe a deep drink, then allow the soil to dry out for a few days before watering again.

For those prone to overwatering, fear not. Aloe brevifolia is forgiving but will not thrive with excessive moisture.

Watch out for yellowing and mushy leaves, as they signify overwatering. If this occurs, repot your Aloe brevifolia in dry soil and reduce watering.

During winter and summer, reduce watering to avoid rotting.


To keep your crocodile plant happy, plant it in well-draining soil. A mixture consisting of one-third sand, perlite, or pebbles is ideal.

If using specialty succulent soil, ensure proper drainage or add perlite if necessary.

Your soil should never retain excess water, even after a thorough watering.

aloe brevifolia care


Aloe brevifolia thrives without excessive fertilization. However, a balanced liquid fertilizer can benefit its growth.

Feed your plant 2-3 times during spring and fall, but avoid fertilizing in summer and winter.


The slow growth of the crocodile plant means repotting is not frequently necessary. However, if your plant outgrows its container, it’s time for an upgrade.

Select a slightly larger pot and fresh, dry soil for your short-leaved aloe.

After replanting, allow it to settle for a few days without water to adjust to its new environment.


Aloe brevifolia is proficient at self-propagation. It frequently sends out offsets, also known as suckers, making it an excellent groundcover.

aloe brevifolia care


To propagate through division, separate a portion of the plant by cutting it free from the parent.

After replanting, refrain from watering for a few days to allow the wounds to heal.

Dividing your Aloe brevifolia every few years invigorates the plant and encourages growth.


You can also propagate your crocodile plant from offsets. Isolate an offset, let the wound dry out for a few days, and then plant it.

Ensure the soil remains consistently moist until the cutting develops roots and establishes itself.

Unlike most succulents, Aloe brevifolia does not propagate well from leaves, as they tend to become mushy.


Pruning is mainly limited to removing dead flower stalks. Trim them at the base once the blooms have faded.

aloe brevifolia care


Short-leaved aloe is generally resilient against diseases and pests.

However, it’s always important to be vigilant and address any issues promptly for the well-being of both you and your plant.

Growing Problems

Most issues with aloe plants are a result of over or underwatering.

Overwatering can cause your crocodile plant to turn yellow and mushy. Prolonged exposure to water may lead to rot.

Switch to a sandier soil mix and ensure the soil dries out completely between waterings.

If your Aloe brevifolia’s leaves begin to wither or wrinkle, it indicates a need for more water. Give your plant a thorough drink, and it should recover.


Scale insects and mealybugs are common pests that can harm aloes.

aloe brevifolia care
Tortoise Scales Insects

Scale insects are tiny and usually white or brown, while mealybugs leave behind white, cottony nests resembling powdery mildew.

Prevent these pests by keeping your Aloe brevifolia dry and avoiding overfertilization.

If you notice a few insects, remove them physically or dab them with rubbing alcohol.

For larger infestations, consider using horticultural oil or neem oil. Applying a thin layer of these oils suffocates the pests.

Another effective option is spraying your plant with insecticidal soap.


Aloe brevifolia is resilient against diseases. However, like many desert plants, it can develop root rot.

Root rot occurs when the plant remains constantly moist, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

Rotting sections of your short-leaf aloe will appear brown or black and feel mushy.

Prevent root rot by watering correctly and selecting well-draining soil. If you notice signs of rot, take immediate action to prevent its spread.

aloe brevifolia care

Using sterile clippers, remove all rotted sections of your Aloe brevifolia.

If this means removing a considerable portion of the plant, it’s better to propagate healthy sections and discard the affected plant.

After removing the rotted parts, repot your short-leaved aloe in fresh, well-draining soil.

To mitigate any remaining rot, apply a fungicide to the soil. Allow your Aloe brevifolia to sit in dry soil for a few days before watering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Aloe brevifolia edible like Aloe Vera?

Unfortunately no, Aloe brevifolia is mildly toxic to humans and can cause severe stomach discomfort and nausea. For animals, most aloes induce vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. If your pet ingests aloe, seek veterinary assistance promptly.

Can Aloe brevifolia be grown indoors?

It is possible to grow Aloe brevifolia indoors, but outdoor conditions are preferable in most warm climates. If growing indoors, place your crocodile plant in a sunny, south-facing window and consider using a grow lamp if needed.

With its captivating appearance and ease of care, Aloe brevifolia is the perfect addition to any garden or indoor space.

Embrace the beauty and resilience of the chunky crocodile, and enjoy the wonders this unique aloe has to offer.