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Aloe vera (Medicinal Aloe)


Scientific Name

Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.

Common Names

Aloe Vera, Medicinal Aloe, Medicine Plant, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, Burn Plant, First Aid Plant, Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Wand of Heaven, Miracle Plant, Savila


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

Scientific Classification

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


Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant up to 40 inches (1 m) tall. It spreads by creating offsets. The leaves are thick, fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small, white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall. Each flower is pendulous, with a yellow, tubular corolla up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The first step in Aloe Vera care is to realize that this plant is a succulent. Succulents do best in dry conditions. When growing Aloe Vera plants, plant them in a potting soil mix for succulents or a regular potting soil that has been amended with additional perlite or building sand. Also, make sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes. It cannot tolerate standing water.

One important thing in the care of Aloe Vera houseplants is that they have proper light. They need bright light, so they do best in the south- or west-facing windows. Another important part of how to grow an Aloe Vera is to water the plant properly. The soil should be allowed to go completely dry before being watered. When the plant is watered, the soil should be thoroughly drenched, but the water should be allowed to drain freely from the soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for an Aloe Vera.


This plant has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. From relieving heartburn to slowing the spread of cancer, researchers are only first beginning to unlock all of the powerful uses of this universal plant and its many amazing byproducts.

Learn more at 7 Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera.


Aloe vera is native to the arid regions of north-eastern and southern parts of Africa and Madagascar.


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