Aloe squarrosa

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Aloe squarrosa
Group: Angiosperms
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asphodelaceae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. squarrosa
Classified: Baker ex Balf.f., 1883
Propagation: From division, seed
Adult size: up to 50cm
Lighting: High
Watering: Let the soil dry completely before watering
Fertilization: Monthly during active growth
Soil: Extremely well drained
Humidity: Low humidity
Other information
Toxicity: Slightly toxic if large amounts ingested
Rarity: Uncommon
See more Aloe

Aloe squarrosa is a succulent in the Asphodelaceae family. They are adapted to long periods of drought and can make excellent, low effort houseplants. It is native to the island of Socotra.


Aloe is derived from the Arabic word “Alloeh”, meaning a “shining bitter substance” in reference to the sap of the plant.

Squarrosa from Latin 'squarrosus', or 'rough' - after the rough leaf surface.



A. squarrosa has thick and fleshy leaves with serrated edges and small white teeth that grow in an upright rosette. Often confused for Aloe juvenna..


A. squarrosa inflorescence

The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous and red.

Medicinal uses

Aloe sap has many uses in traditional and herbal medicine, including as a laxative, for soothing skin irritation and as an antiseptic.


A. squarrosa wants high light. As much direct light as possible should be provided, a south or west facing window (in the northern hemisphere) would be ideal. When placing this plant in direct sunlight it should be slowly acclimated over a few days to avoid the risk of leaves scorching or yellowing.

Use an extremely well draining soil mix (see succulent soil) and water thoroughly, allowing excess to drain. Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Allow the soil to dry through completely before watering again.

Sun Damage

Moving the plant from a low-light indoor aspect to a bright, south facing window or outside in direct sun will lead to leaves bleaching and scorching. When moving the plant outdoors, choose a spot in shade or that gets dappled or screened sunlight. Let the plant slowly acclimate to being outdoors and never move the plant into direct sun without slowly building up a tolerance first. Some direct morning or evening sun is fine but hot midday light will scorch the leaves without acclimatisation.

Slow decline

Succulent plants can experience a slow decline and death in the home. You are giving the plant lots of direct light and watering only when the soil is completely dry and yet the plant is still slowly dying. This is almost always because the soil and substrate the plant is in is too moisture retentive. The soil used by growers is often peaty and retains too much moisture, or becomes extremely difficult to rehydrate once it has dried through. This means your plant experiences extreme drought followed by long periods of being waterlogged.

Repot your plant using an extremely well draining succulent soil, stripping away as much of the existing substrate as possible. With a soil that is mostly inorganic minerals you can get away with watering your plant frequently, and knowing the substrate will be dry within a day or two. You should see an almost immediate change in your plants condition within a week or two.

Cold Damage

Exposure to the right temperatures can be the difference between a thriving plant and a plant that looks ugly and unhealthy. A. squarrosa will survive temperatures down to 5°C / 41°F. Daytime temperatures between 15°C and 26°C (60°F and 80°F), and night temperatures between 12°C and 21°C (55°F and 70°F) are ideal for healthy growth.


A. squarrosa is highly pest resistant, however it can be affected by spider mites and mealybugs.