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Aloe Plant Varieties

aloe image by Magdalena Mirowicz from

One of the major types of succulent and cactus plants, the aloe family has at least 300 members. While most gardeners can recognize aloe vera, the lesser known aloe varieties offer greater diversity in texture, color, size and flower. No aloes are cold hardy and all must be grown or moved indoors when temperatures fall under 40 degrees F.

Aloe Vera

Perhaps the best-known aloe plant, aloe vera features a soothing gel or sap that can soothe itching and burns. Aloe vera grows in rosettes and its leaves have soft spines. Young leaves feature dappled white spots while mature leaves are uniformly spring green. According to Union County College, aloe vera is native to the Mediterranean region. It can grow naturally in subtropical regions or can be grown indoors.

Aloe Arborescens

Commonly known as Krantz aloe, aloe arborescens develops bright red or orange flowers flowers that attract bees and birds. This aloe grows in shrubs forms that can reach nearly 10 feet tall. Its leaves are blue to grayish-green in color and have sharp teeth on the edges. A single plant produces many aloe rosettes. Native to Africa, this plant can grow outdoors in tropical and subtropical regions.

Aloe Aristata

Aloe aristata, sometimes called torch plant or lace aloe, ranges from 8 inches to 1 foot in height. The dark green leaves feature white dots and sharp white teeth on the edges. In the spring, aloe aristata produces bright red flowers that grow off a single stalk. Native to South Africa, aloe aristata grows out of doors in tropical or subtropical regions and prefers part sun to full sun.

Aloe Ferox

Aloe ferox, also called bitter aloe or red aloe, produces a hard black resin that can soothe arthritis and works as a laxative, according to PlantZAfrica, an online resource from the South African Biodiversity Institute. Native to Africa, aloe ferox grows in rosettes that can reach almost 10 feet in height. Each rosette produces three to five conical orange or red flower clusters. Aloe ferox features green leaves with blue or red striations.

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