Astroloba spiralis


Aloe cylindracea
Aloe imbricata
Aloe pentagona
Aloe pentagona var. spiralis
Aloe spiralis
Aloe spiralis
Aloe spiralis var. imbricata
Aloe spiralis var. pentagona
Apicra imbricata
Apicra pentagona
Apicra pentagona var. spirella
Apicra pentagona var. torulosa
Apicra pentagona var. willdenowii
Apicra spiralis
Apicra spiralis
Astroloba pentagona
Haworthia gweneana
Haworthia imbricata
Haworthia pentagona
Haworthia pentagona var. spiralis
Haworthia pentagona var. torulosa
Haworthia spiralis
Tulista spiralis


Astroloba spiralis is a plant that is native only to the southern regions of the Karoo in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa. It is found specifically in the area known as the “Little Karoo,” which is located on the southern border of the Karoo region. Its distribution stretches across the Little Karoo, starting from the Graaff Reinet District in the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo and reaching all the way to Oudtschoorn and Calitzdorp in the Western Cape. In the Western Cape, it transitions into a different species called Astroloba spirella.


Astroloba spiralis, a compact member of the Astroloba species, exhibits upright and erect stems that boast a dense covering of pointed succulent leaves. The stems stand upright but gradually become inclined as they age. They can grow up to 30 cm in length and have a diameter of 3.5-4 cm. The leaves are erect, crowded together, and have a smooth texture, unlike the tubercled leaves found in Astroloba bullulata and Astroloba corrugata. They are deep green in color, with blue-green to gray hues. The leaves are arranged in five rows forming a graceful spiral pattern and have a lanceolate-deltoid shape. Each leaf typically features an oblique keel near its tip. The leaves measure 3 cm in length and 15 mm in width near the base. The front surface of the leaves is almost flat, slightly curved inward in younger leaves. The edges and keel have very small triangular teeth. The blossoms of Astroloba spiralis typically emerge towards the end of summer, primarily from December to March. These flowers are the most notable characteristic of this species. Each flower displays an inflated and puffed-up outer part, known as the perianth. The perianth is white in colour and has a distinctive texture, being transversely rugose, resembling wrinkles similar to popcorn. It has green lines. The short segments of the perianth are a dull yellow shade, slightly spreading, and have blunt tips. It remains uncertain whether the plant’s tetraploidy, which refers to having four sets of chromosomes, contributes to the formation of these unique flowers.
Astroloba spiralis can be easily mistaken for its close relative, the rare Astroloba herrei. Both plants showcase inflated and puffed-up flowers, known as perianths. However, the flowers of Astroloba spiralis exhibit wrinkles (transversely rugose) instead of the smooth appearance seen in herrei. Additionally, Spiralis is genetically distinct as a tetraploid. Usually, spiralis also possesses more upright leaves, contrasting with the more spreading leaves of A. herrei. However, this characteristic does not always hold true, and only the flowers can be relied upon to distinguish these two species with certainty.


Astroloba spiralis, with its captivating charm, finds its purpose in a variety of settings. It gracefully adorns pots, bringing life to patios, terraces, and indoor spaces near sun-kissed windows. In regions blessed with frost-free climates, it becomes a delightful addition to rockeries and a natural cover for dry slopes, creating a picturesque landscape.
Embracing the sun’s gentle caress, Astroloba spiralis thrives in both partially shaded areas and under the full glory of sunlight, often revealing beautiful reddish hues. However, it’s important to note that this resilient plant cannot endure temperatures below 10 ÂșC, requiring a warm and temperate environment to flourish.
To create an ideal growing medium, blend equal parts of coarse sand and leaf litter, or opt for a high-quality commercial potting mix specially crafted for the needs of cacti and succulents. This well-draining soil composition ensures that excess moisture is efficiently managed, promoting the plant’s health and vitality.
When it comes to watering, exercise moderation, allowing the substrate to thoroughly dry out between each watering session. During the winter months, it’s advisable to reduce the frequency of watering to once a month, ensuring the plant experiences a well-deserved rest.
As the dawn of spring approaches, a single application of mineral fertilizer formulated for cacti will provide the necessary nourishment to fuel Astroloba spiralis’ growth and vibrancy, preparing it for the upcoming blooming season.
In the pursuit of visual perfection, it is recommended to prune wilted flower stems, maintaining a tidy and appealing appearance. This practice also encourages the plant’s energy to be redirected towards new growth and blossoming potential.
While Astroloba spiralis typically exhibits impressive resilience against common pests and diseases, it possesses a sensitive nature when it comes to excessive watering. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution and refrain from overwatering, ensuring a harmonious balance of moisture for its well-being and longevity.


Among the various methods, stem cuttings emerge as a reliable and accessible option. It’s important to note that patience is required during this process, as the cuttings may take several weeks to develop robust roots. The ideal time for undertaking this propagation adventure is during the revitalizing seasons of spring or summer, when the plant’s vigor is at its peak. For successful rooting, a small container with adequate drainage becomes the nurturing abode for the stem cuttings. A well-drained medium, such as sand, provides an ideal environment for the cuttings to establish strong root systems, ensuring their future growth and vitality. Alternatively, the propagation journey can also commence through the magic of sowing seeds. To embark on this method, spring or summer proves to be the preferred season. Seek a shady spot in the garden where the seeds can be gently placed in slightly acidic soil blended with sand, creating a favorable environment for germination. To provide the seeds with a cozy home, cover them delicately with a thin layer of sand, offering protection while encouraging their sprouting. Maintaining the right level of moisture is essential, ensuring that the soil remains moist throughout the germination process.


The genus name Astroloba, derived from the Greek words astro, signifying ‘resembling a star’ or ‘star-shaped’, and lobos, meaning ‘lobe’, is a homage to the remarkable form of its flowers. The name “spiralis”, instead, refers to the stem shape, sometimes taking on a spiral-like form.

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