Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.
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
This species is native to the southwest 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 (VER-uh)" is the feminine form of the Latin adjective "verus," meaning "true" or "real," and refers to the status of the species as the "true Aloe."
How to Grow and Care for Aloe vera
Light: When growing A. vera indoors, place your plant near a window that gets plenty of bright indirect light. Rotate the pot once or twice a week so that all sides of the plant receive equal lighting. Outdoors, provide light shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
Soil: Plant A. vera in a well-drained soil mix specially formulated for succulents or make your own. Drainage is essential because too much moisture around roots can cause root rot.
Hardiness: When temperatures shift below 50 °F (10 °C), it is time to bring your plant back inside. A. vera can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b.
Watering: This succulent does need regular watering but is 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. Do not let water stand in the rosettes.
Fertilizing: A. vera generally does not require fertilizer but may benefit from the extra nutrients. Feed with a fertilizer for succulents in spring and summer only. Be sure to follow label directions.
Repotting: This plant is not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot it in the spring in a container a few inches larger in diameter every few years to keep it from becoming rootbound.
Propagation: Propagating A. vera can be done using the offsets, cuttings, or seeds from a mature plant. Remove offsets from the mother plant or take cuttings with a sharp knife in late spring or early summer. For best results, sow seeds during the warm months.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Aloe.
Toxicity of Aloe vera
Despite its multiple health benefits, A. vera is mild to moderately toxic to cats and dogs.
Uses of Aloe vera
A. vera 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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