Scientific: Aloe x 'Blue Elf'
Common: blue elf aloe, California aloe, blue boy
Family: Asphodelaceae (formerly Xanthorrhoeaceae)
Origin: All plants in the genus Aloe originate in south and east Africa. Blue elf aloe is a horticultural hybrid that is thought to have orginated in South Africa.

Pronounciation: AL-o BLEW ELF

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 8-9, 12-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Accent, border, edging, rock gardens, streetscapes, narrow planters, oasis or xeriscape design motifs, attracts hummingbird when in bloom.

Form & Character: Dwarf, clumping, diminuative, yet tough.

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial, succulent, low and slowly densely clumping to 2 feet wide, only 18 inches in height.

Foliage/texture: Stem less, rhizomes (stems growing just below ground), narrow succulent upright glaucous, acuminate narrowly-lanceolate leaves to 12 to 18 inches long, leaves turn slighly reddish purple when plant is under drought or cold stress; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Tubular orange red 1 inch in spiked racemes (flowers borne on a spike without pedicels) to 2 feet; fruit multicarpulate, seldom produced, green fading to light brown, ugly.

Seasonal color: Coral orange red flower stalks in January to March as weather warms.

Temperature: Very cold hardy to 20oF, but will suffer heat stress in Phoenix when ambient air temperatures exceed 112oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade. Surprisingly, blue elf aloe in Phoenix landscapes tolerates full sun with even some reflected light, EXCEPT when planted and grown in conjunction with heat-retaining inorganic mulches such as a gravel, rip rap, and river stones.

Soil: Tolerant

Watering: Regular supplemental irrigation is needed during the summer to keep blue elf aloe looking good. Foliage becomes flaccid and purple when drought stressed.

Pruning: Divide and thin crowded clumps about every 3 to 5 years to reinvigorate. Otherwise, remove spent flower stalks after bloom.

Propagation: Extremely easy by division.

Disease and pests: Root rot in poorly drained and excessively irrigated soil.

Additional comments: Blue elf aloe has quickly become very popular in Phoenix for use in small groups or masses to fill xeric landscape spaces. This is one pretty tough little hydrid aloe for those small planting spaces in Phoenix that aren't overly exposed to the blistering western summer sun. Aloe is derived from the Greek word 'alsos' which means the 'bitter juice from the leaves'.

Designer note of caution: In Phoenix, blue elf aloe is highly prone to lethal summer heat stress injury when planted in full sun interspersed amongst heat-retaining inorganic landscape mulch materials such as coarse gravel, rip rap, and larger river stones. This MUST must be recognized by landscape designers who tend to overuse their newly-found 'favorite" landscape plant 'elements' in landscape designs much the same as some people who overuse salt on their food.