Types of Aloe Vera Plant

If you have ever had a sunburn, changes are you have used an aloe vera's gel to cool your reddened skin. There are more than 180 aloe species, all of which are succulents. You can grow aloe outside if there's no chance of freezing weather. According to the University of Arizona Extension, there have been references to the aloe plant throughout history in the Egyptian, Roman, Indian, Greek and Chinese cultures. It's a low-maintenance, tropical plant that also works as a houseplant.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a tender succulent and member of the lily family. It is native to northern Africa and the Mediterranean region. The moist gel inside the plant's leaves is often used to treat burns, especially sunburns. Aloe vera grows as a flattened rosette, forming 8- to 10-inch fleshy leaves with soft prickles. In the wintertime, it produces 1-inch-long, cigar-shaped, yellow flowers. Aloe vera requires full sun. It is somewhat drought resistant but needs regular watering as a houseplant. Aloe vera grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 10.

Soap Aloe

Soap aloe (Aloe saponaria) has a stemless rosette with small offset rosettes around the plant's margin. It grows to 18 inches tall and just as wide. Its lance-shaped, pale green leaves have white speckles and sharp, dark brown teeth. The soap aloe blooms throughout the summer by sending up a 2-foot purple-branched stalk with tubular red, orange or yellow flowers. It is drought tolerant and salt tolerant, making it a good choice for coastal gardens. Soap aloe does well in full sun or part shade and grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 11.

Tiger Aloe

Tiger aloe (Aloe variegata) is also called partridge breast. It grows to 12 inches tall with dark green, triangle-shaped leaves edged in white. The leaves reach about 5 inches long. Clusters of tubelike pink or red flowers bloom throughout the year. Like most aloes, it is drought tolerant and an excellent choice for xeriscaping. It requires full sun and well-drained, gravelly soil. Tiger aloe grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.

Keywords: aloe vera, types of aloe, aloe varieties

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years. Clarkson graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer."