The plant grows slowly and flowers when it is four to five years old. Flowering time is from winter to early spring (July to September in South Africa). Its large raceme is erect and may be branched or unbranched, and has tubular flowers that are orange or yellow.
Uniquely, the small flowers are each up-turned, with a distinctive bend. As this aloe species can sometimes look very similar to related species (e.g. Aloe excelsa or Aloe ferox), this feature is useful for identification.
The leaves are more messy or disorderly than the neat symmetrical rosettes of other arborescent Aloe species. They are arranged in a dense apical rosette and are spreading to recurved, firm linear-lanceolate, with a grey-green surface; each leaf’s margins are armed with small, reddish teeth, a feature common in the Aloe genus.