Aloe humilis (AL-oh HEW-mil-is) is an evergreen, perennial succulent member of the Asphodelaceae (as-foh-del-AY-see-ee) family hailing from the Eastern and Western capes of South Africa.
Its common names include:
- Spider Aloe
- Blue Dwarf Aloe
- Hedgehog Aloe
- Dwarf Hedgehog Aloe
Aloe Humilis or Spider Aloe Care
Size & Growth
This compact aloe plant is short stemmed and low growing. This is a slow-growing plant that attains a height of about 8” inches. In some situations, it may grow to be as tall as 16” inches high.
Its pale, bluish green leaves grow in clusters of about a dozen rosettes.
Leaves may be either curved or erect, and they sport white, translucent teeth on their edges. Additionally, there are lots of prickly white nodules on the leaf surface on both sides.
The bumpy, pale bluish green leaves may transition to shades of red in the autumn months.
Flowering & Fragrance
Hedgehog Aloe’s blooms are quite large, especially considering the small size of the plant. The showy flowers appear, on inflorescence stalks, early in the spring and continue throughout the summer and into the winter months.
Colors vary. Look for blooms in shades of:
- Bright Yellow
The flowers are attractive to pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Light & Temperature
Blue Dwarf Aloe grows best in full sun, but can also do well in partial shade. It can tolerate full shade; however, these circumstances will make it more vulnerable to pests.
This succulent is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 13.
Water & Feeding
As with most succulents, it is very important to avoid overwatering. Allow the soil to dry almost completely and then water deeply.
Little or no fertilizer is necessary. Top dress with organic compost or worm castings early in the springtime.
Soil & Transplanting
For potted Spider Aloe, use a standard cactus or succulent potting mix. Alternately, you could mix regular potting soil 50-50 with coarse sand and/or pebbles.
In the landscape, be sure to plant in an area where water will not stand. Amend the soil with sand and organic matter so as to make it sharply draining.
Repot or transplant in the springtime. Natural, unglazed pots (e.g. terra-cotta) with plenty of drainage holes are recommended.
Grooming & Maintenance
Throughout the year, keep a close eye on your Dwarf Hedgehog Aloe and remove any shriveled or dead leaves or old stems. After the plant has finished blooming, remove the bloom spikes.
Other Dwarf Aloes:
How To Propagate Aloe Humilis or Spider Aloe
Aloe humilis can easily be propagated from leaves, but this probably isn’t necessary. As with all aloes, the plant creates offsets in great abundance.
You can simply separate one of the rosettes and repot it into its own pot. Begin treating it as a mature plant immediately.
Aloe Humilis or Spider Aloe Pest or Disease Problems
When kept indoors, Spider Aloe may fall prey to typical houseplant pests such as scale, spider mites and the like. Keep this under control by placing your plants on a pebble tray or keeping a humidifier in the room with them.
You don’t want to keep the soil especially damp, but excessively dry air increases your chances of getting spider mites. If spider mites do appear, wipe them off with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
Mix up a spray of rubbing alcohol and water, half-and-half. Spray the plants every few days until spider mites no longer appear. Continue to mist the plants with plain water daily to prevent further infestation.
When kept outdoors, Hedgehog Aloe may be bothered by snails and slugs during very damp weather. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the plants to discourage these pests.
Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, pets?
All types of Aloe contain a substance known as anthraquinone glycoside. These are purgatives and may cause diarrhea, indigestion, depression and/or discolored urine if ingested. Long-term effects may include tremors and/or anorexia.
Suggested Aloe Humilis or Spider Aloe Uses
This interesting, compact Aloe makes a wonderful house or office plant.
In warm climates, it grows beautifully in the garden and can make a nice addition to your rock garden, cactus garden, or any small garden setting.