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Aloe vera (Barbados Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.

Common Names

Aloe Vera, Barbados Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Burn Aloe, Burn Plant, Chinese Aloe, Coastal Aloe, Common Aloe, First Aid Plant, Indian Aloe, Jaffarabad Aloe, Medicinal Aloe, Medicine Plant, Mediterranean Aloe, Miracle Plant, Savila, True Aloe, Wand of Heaven, West Indian Aloe


Aloe barbadensis, Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis, Aloe chinensis, Aloe elongata, Aloe flava, Aloe indica, Aloe lanzae, Aloe littoralis, Aloe maculata, Aloe perfoliata var. barbadensis, Aloe perfoliata var. vera, Aloe rubescens, Aloe variegata, Aloe vera var. chinensis, Aloe vera var. lanzae, Aloe vera var. littoralis, Aloe vulgaris

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Aloe


This species is native to the south-west Arabian Peninsula.


Aloe vera is a well-known, stemless or short-stemmed succulent that forms rosettes of green to grey-green leaves. It grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, freely offsetting to form clusters of rosettes. Leaves are fleshy, thick, and have serrated margins with small, white teeth. Yellow flowers are tubular, pendulous, and usually appear in spring and summer on up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall, sparsely-branched inflorescences.

The specific epithet "vera" derives from the Latin word "verus," meaning "true or real."

Aloe vera (Barbados Aloe)

Photo by ASU

How to Grow and Care for Aloe vera

Light: When growing Aloes indoors, place your plants near a southern or southwest-facing window that gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Soil: Plant Aloes in a well-drained soil specially formulated for cacti and other succulents or make your soil mix. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.

Hardiness: Aloe vera can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.

Watering: These succulents do need regular watering but are very tolerant of drought conditions for short periods. Water deeply, but only when the soil is dry. Cut back on watering during the winter months.

Fertilizing: Aloes generally do not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients.

Repotting: These plants are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot them in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.

Propagation: Propagating Aloe can be done by using the offsets, cuttings, or seeds from a mature plant.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.

Toxicity of Aloe vera

Despite its multiple health benefits, Aloe vera is mild to moderately toxic to cats and dogs.

Uses of Aloe vera

This succulent has been used as a traditional medicine in various cultures for millennia. References can be found in China, India, Japan, Greece, Egypt, and Mexico.

Learn more at The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera.


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