Aloe barbadensis ‘Blue Elf’, commonly known as Blue Elf aloe, is a variety of beautiful, blue tinted aloe (a succulent) native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Blue Elf aloe’s bluish gray leaves make a striking contrast with their blazing orange blooms. Once established, their drought tolerant qualities make them a favorite in the cultivated landscapes of Southern California.


Aloe is well known as a low maintenance plant, and Blue Elf is no different in that regard. There are hundreds of species of Aloe with the genus. In our humble opinion, Blue Elf is one of the more striking varieties. Their native climate is fairly arid, much like Southern California in that sense, making them an excellent choice for our gardens. Their water needs are low once established, but they do best with periodic irrigation.


‘Blue Elf’ aloes mostly bloom in winter and spring, however one can occasionally find a single flower at any time of the year. These plants prefer full sun, but they can handle being planted in shady locations, although they will be a paler color, won’t grow as tall, and will rarely bloom.


Aloe ‘Blue Elf’ is known for its brilliant orange bloom and blue/gray/green leaves



Landscape Planting – Aloe ‘Blue Elf’Basics 


Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis var ‘Blue Elf’

Common Name: Blue Elf, Aloe

Type: perennial succulent shrub

Native Range: Madagascar, Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula

Size: 12 to 36 inches tall, 6 – 12 inches wide

Bloom Time: Winter and spring

Bloom Color: Orange, yellow, red

Sun: Full sun, partial shade

Growth Rate: Moderate

Water & Soil: Low water needs once established. Well-draining soil is a must, but they can grow well in soil with low organic material/nutrient content

Maintenance: Low maintenance requirements – occasionally remove dead/damage leaves

Suggested Use: Group planting, border plants, specimen planting



The tubular flowers of Aloe ‘Blue Elf’


For landscape planting, ‘Blue Elf’ grows best in full sun. They can grow in shady environments, but you will miss out on their most brilliant colors. Our landscape designers at Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to look over your property and determine areas that are optimal for these types of plants.


Our designers can take a look at your property and see if Aloe ‘Blue Elf’s’ needs can be met. We create a design plan for all of our consultations to determine what plants and needs match each individual property. ‘Blue Elf’ aloes make an excellent addition to colorful spring gardens (even winter) with their eye-catching orange blooms. Their long succulent gray/blue leaves can be incorporated into many different design types. Creative Concepts Landscape will help to determine the best location on your property, or create the conditions to promote a healthy, beautiful garden.


Aloes have low water requirements and prefer to stay in well-draining soil.  To look their best, they will need occasional supplemental water, but the soil should be completely dried out between waterings. Creative Concepts Landscape has installed many irrigation systems (drip and sprinkler), and we would be happy to take a look at your property to come up with a design that could meet aloe’s needs.


‘Blue Elf’s’ need well-draining soils, which much of the soil in Southern California is. They can grow without trouble in nutrient poor soils. Creative Concepts Landscape will determine what conditions would be best for aloe in your landscape and make the necessary additions or changes.



Aloe in a sidewalk planter in Soutern California. Aloes make great additions to water wise gardens.


Pruning & Maintenance 


Aloes have low maintenance needs. Any damaged, dead, or dried out leaves should be removed from the plant. These plants are drought tolerant, although they look their best with occasional irrigation. Providing supplemental water for these plants, especially while they are becoming established in the landscape, is often the highest maintenance requirement. Creative Concepts Landscape has been installing irrigation systems for over twenty years. We will be happy to schedule a consultation and come up with an irrigation system plan and install it. Creative Concepts landscape also repairs and refurbishes existing irrigation systems, so they are in optimal, efficient condition.


Creative Concepts Landscape has options for maintenance schedules. Many of our clients have us maintain their property weekly or two times a month, however we also offer periodic cleanups. These cleanups range from four times a year, twice a year, and sometimes once a year. We will be happy to talk with you and determine a maintenance/cleanup schedule that fits your property needs.


A look inside the bloom of Aloe ‘Blue Elf’


Landscape Uses 


‘Blue Elf’ aloes have such striking orange flowers next their bluesish leaves, that they can fit within many different landscape aesthetics, from desert themes to Mediterranean gardens. Creative Concepts Landscape gets many requests for garden installations, of which aloes can be a beautiful addition. Our team of designers and technicians has decades of experience designing and installing gardens.


Creative Concepts Landscape creates a landscape plan and design for your specific property characteristics along with your wants. Our highly experienced designers will be able to see what plant types and layout will complement your landscape’s existing features to come up with a planting design plan.


Aloe ‘Blue Elf’ makes a beautiful addition to many different garden aesthetics



Thank you for joining us again in this week’s horticultural adventures. Please come back next Wednesday for out next blog post, and as always, contact us for all your landscape needs!


By Daniel Williams

Client Liaison for Creative Concepts Landscape