We all know the aloe vera plant and its immense health benefits, but not its many different types. Read on to discover what these are.
Aloe vera has around 250 species, of which four are grown for their health benefits. Aloe Vera Barbadensis is the most cultivated of the species and is native to North Africa. Wild species of aloe vera can live for a century.
The plant produces two substances: the aloe vera gel, which is 96 percent water, and the latex, which is used as laxative. It is said that Cleopatra, known to be “a woman of surpassing beauty,” applied aloe vera gel on her skin as part of her beauty regimen.
Aloe capitata var. quartziticola
With tapered grey-green leaves that turn blue-grey when it’s cloudy and purple-tinged when it’s sunny outside, this aloe produces a flower stalk that gets up to 3 feet in height. The flowers have round heads and are bright-yellow with darker shades of orange towards the center. The plant can get up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and it is both deer-resistant and attractive to bees and birds.
Also known as the common climbing aloe, this plant is thin and tough and grows incredibly fast. It produces tubular flowers that are bright red-orange in color and have creamy-yellow tips. Bees and birds love it, and it makes a great garden plant for this and for many other reasons. The leaves are bright-green and have soft, hair-like teeth, and they perfectly complement the flowers when they are in bloom.
The aloe vera plant is known for its sap that is helpful in easing a sunburn and many other types of skin ailments. Because other aloe plants can be toxic, this one is the best one to use for medicinal purposes, and it is well-suited to being a houseplant. In addition, the Aloe vera does well in dry conditions with little light, although it is frost-tender, so it needs to be protected when it’s cold outside.
Aloe x principis
Growing up to 9 feet in height, this aloe produces spikes in the Winter that are bright scarlet or orange in color and therefore it brightens up any Winter garden. Native to South Africa, the plant is deer-resistant, attractive to birds and bees, and it looks beautiful in Mediterranean or succulent gardens, not to mention as accents or borders. Like most other aloe plants, this one does best in full sun and well-drained soil.
Arabian Aloe (Aloe rubroviolacea)
With thick, blue-green leaves that arch outwards, this aloe has reddish teeth and margins, and the leaves go from purple-tinged in the full sun to brilliant violet-red in Winter. Growing up to 3 feet high and 6 feet wide, the plant does best in soil that is well-drained and in bright, full sun. It can highlight rock gardens, borders, and succulent gardens, and tolerates soils with most types of pH balances.
Barbados Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
This type of aloe has a unique look, with its leaves facing upwards towards the sky and beautiful spikes in greenish-yellow that reach up alongside them. The leaves are light green but turn a reddish-purple in Spring and Summer when they are dry, and the plump leaves contain gummy sap that has been used for thousands of years for a variety of cosmetic and medicinal purposes, making this plant valuable as well as beautiful.
Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox)
Native to South Africa, this type of aloe consists of blue-green leaves that often have tinges of rose and get up to 3 feet long. When the older leaves dry out, they remain on the plant and form a petticoat on the stems. Bright red-orange, tubular flowers appear in the Winter, which perfectly complement the orangish teeth surrounding each stem. The aloe is known for its valuable gel and can get as tall as 9 feet high.
Cape Speckled Aloe (Aloe microstigma)
With blue-green leaves that turn reddish-brown when they are stressed, this aloe grows beautiful spikey flowers that get up to 3 feet tall and start out as red buds, then turn yellow-orange and orange in color later on. Their bi-color look makes them eye-catching and unique, and they are virtually disease-free but very attractive to birds and bees. They also make beautiful borders and accent plants, and deer will stay away from them.
Coral Aloe (Aloe striata)
Growing up to 18 feet high and 18 feet in width, this aloe has flat, broad leaves that are pale grey-green in color but which turn pink in the sun and a more bluish color in the shade. It has purple-pink margins and produces beautiful, tubular, coral-orange flowers in late Winter to early Spring. The plant looks beautiful in containers and in sunny borders, and it does best in well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade.
A beautiful dwarf aloe, this plant has long green leaves that contain translucent teeth along its edges. It gets up to 12 inches high and 15 inches wide, and it has fleshy leaves that get redder when it is sunny and hot. Tubular, bright-orange flowers grow on the stalks, which can brighten up any garden. A hybrid aloe, it is deer-resistant and virtually disease-free, lending to its popularity.
Fan Aloe (Aloe plicatilis)
Like its name suggests, this aloe consists of slender, long leaves that form a fan-like structure. The leaves are blue-grey in color and have bright-orange tips, and spikes of orange-red flowers grow in late-Winter to the Spring. Once you see this plant, you’ll understand why it has won several international flower awards. The plant grows to 8 feet in height and looks like a small tree, and it is both deer-resistant and virtually disease-free
Golden Toothed Aloe (Aloe nobilis)
This aloe has triangle leaves that are bright-green in color and include whitish teeth along the sides, and the leaves turn an amazing orange color when they are in the full sun. Bright-orange tubular flowers appear in the Spring, which can get up to 2 feet high, and the plant grows profusely to provide a very large display, making it perfect for groundcovers and borders. They do best in full sun and in soil that is sandy and gravelly.
Malagasy Tree Aloe (Aloe vaombe)
An unusually large aloe, it can get up to 12 feet high and 5 feet in width. Its leaves are fleshy and have white teeth, and they turn from dark-green to a vibrant deep-red when they are in full sun. They also produce beautiful red flowers that stand out, and because of their color they make beautiful focal points for any garden. They are native to Madagascar, and are virtually disease-free.
Mountain Aloe (Aloe marlothii)
This is a truly majestic succulent that forms a dense cluster of grey-green leaves that each taper to a strong point. With reddish-brown spines and tubular flowers that appear in the Winter, this aloe grows up to 10 feet high and is perfect for accents, borders, and containers. The flowers start out bright orange-red but turn to yellow or bright-red later on, and they are very attractive to birds and bees.
Red Aloe (Aloe cameronii)
With upright stems and graceful, curvy leaves, this type of aloe consists of colors that range from green to copper-red, with bright orange-red flowers appearing in early Winter. Growing up to 2 feet high and 4 feet in width, the Red Aloe looks beautiful in rock gardens and as borders, and because of the nectar it produces, birds and bees love it. It does best in full sun or partial shade and in soil that is sandy and gravelly.
Sand Aloe (Aloe hereroensis)
Both the leaves and the flowers of this plant are unique, with the leaves decorated with fine lines throughout and the flowers consisting of orange-red tubular flowers that have a tall, green, protruding center which often looks like a pine cone. A truly stunning plant, the Sand Aloe gets up to 2 feet tall and does best in soil that is alkaline and well-drained. Best if not over-watered, this aloe looks great in Mediterranean gardens and rock gardens, not to mention containers.
Short-Leaf Aloe (Aloe brevifolia)
These round-shaped perennials make a beautiful addition to your garden, especially if you have a dozen or so planted together. Their leaves are pale-blue in color but turn rose-pink and golden-yellow in the sun, so they are quite a spectacle. In late Spring, tubular flowers orange in color appear, and they can grow up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They are deer-resistant and virtually disease-free.
Snake Aloe (Aloe broomii)
This robust succulent is one of the most eye-catching aloes there are, getting up to 1 foot wide and consisting of long, beautiful light-green leaves. Reddish-brown teeth adorn the edges, and it takes roughly 5 or 6 years to reach its full size. Frost-resistant, the Snake Aloe is perfect for arid and semi-arid regions and makes a great focal point for anyone’s garden. it is virtually disease-free and perfect for sandy and well-drained soils.
Soap Aloe (Aloe maculata)
With sword-shaped leaves that are blue-green in color and covered with white blotches and white teeth on the edges, this aloe’s leaves get pink-red when it is in full sun. Hummingbirds and bees love this plant, and it is both salt- and drought-resistant. It grows up to 18 inches high and in the Winter, it sets tubular flowers in bright coral-orange that love to show off, as they often bloom several times throughout the year.
Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla)
The grey-green leaves on this aloe form a perfect spiral shape, and the leaves have white to pale-green spines along the edges and dark, purple-brown at their tips. Although it rarely flowers, when it does the flowers are salmon-pink and tubular. The winner of several international flower awards, the Spiral Aloe does best in full sun and is both drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.
Sunset Aloe (Aloe dorotheae)
Very colorful and eye-catching, this type of aloe has bright-green leaves that turn bright-red in the full sun. Getting up to 1 foot high and 2 feet in width, it produces spikes of greenish-yellow flowers when Winter arrives, and it looks beautiful in containers or as groundcovers. The Sunset Aloe also has flowers that produce nectar and therefore, it is attractive to bees and birds, and it is virtually disease-free as well.
Tilt-Head Aloe (Aloe speciosa)
This aloe has blue-green leaves that often have pink tinges at the tips and edges. The leaves are quite large, getting up to 3 feet in length, and from them grow thick, dense spikes that have colors such as deep-red, brownish-red, and creamy-yellow, giving it a beautiful tri-color look. The plant itself can get up to 10 feet high, and hummingbirds love it. Because of its size and beauty, the Tilt-Head Aloe makes the perfect specimen plant for gardens of any size or type.
Torch Aloe (Aloe arborescens)
This is a unique plant in that it has both attractive foliage and colorful flowers that attract attention. It has sword-shaped leaves with pale-colored teeth along the edges, and in winter it sets beautiful spikes in deep orange-red that perk up the foliage. Its shrubby habit grows to 10 feet high and 10 feet wide, and it makes a beautiful accent plant or border, as well as a great addition to any containers you may have.
Torch Plant (Aloe aristata)
A succulent evergreen, this type of aloe has incurved, lance-shaped leaves that are pale green but turn much darker when it’s sunny. Each leaf has white spots throughout it, as well as white spotty trim around the leaf, and it produces cone-shaped clusters of bright orange-red flowers in the Winter. Between its rose-like shape and its beautiful flowers, the Torch Plant is the perfect addition to any Winter garden.
Tree Aloe (Aloe barberae)
Tree aloes can grow up to 60 feet high and 10 feet in width, and they grow small red flowers with green spots during the Winter months. There are different types of tree aloes, including the Aloe pillansii, which grows to 30 feet in height and looks like a cactus; and the Aloe dichotoma, also called a quiver tree, which is one of the largest of all the aloe plants.
Van Balen’s Aloe (Aloe vanbalenii)
Looking similar to an octopus, this type of aloe has curling leaves that are bright-green with copper-red edges and which turn to dark-red when it’s sunny. It grows up to 3 feet in height and produces tubular flowers in Winter to early-Spring that are yellow or yellow-orange in color. The plant is native to South Africa and is attractive to bees and birds, and it is also deer-resistant.