Aloe vera plants are immensely popular, partly due to the fact that they are incredibly hard to kill. Since aloe vera plants require very little attention, that makes them the perfect plant for those with a black thumb. There are more than 300 species of the aloe plant, but Aloe barbadensis (aka aloe vera) is known for the skin soothing and smoothing gel produced in its leaves. They can be used as simple accent pieces in a window sill, brighten up an office cubicle, or fit nicely into a Southwestern style garden. The succulent also helps purify the air by removing remnants of formaldehyde and benzene often found in chemical-based cleaners, paints, and more. Looking for more reasons to acquire an aloe plant? No worries, we've got you covered!

Botanical Facts

  • Type: Succulent perennial herb.
  • Bloom: Tubular, yellow to orange-red, 1-2” long flowers are borne in spike-like clusters (racemes).
  • Foliage: Pale to gray-green, narrow, fleshy leaves containing mucilaginous sap.
  • Size: 8-36” H x 12-36” W (potted plants will be on the low end).
  • Light: Full sun, can tolerate light shade.
  • Hardiness: Zones 9-11.
  • Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to mealy bugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites.

Growing Aloe Vera Plants Indoors

Potted aloe plant indoors in apartment.
Shutterstock/Maridav

What You’ll Need

Instructions

Aloe plants thrive in a dry environment, which makes them the perfect low-maintenance plant for your home. You'll want to plant them in terra cotta pots with a removable tray. The terra cotta pot allows the soil to dry faster than glazed or plastic ones. The tray will easily allow you to remove excess water (aloe plants hate that). We suggest using a the Hoffman succulent mix, however, equal parts soil and sand will do! Be sure to place crushed stone at the bottom of the container.

Your aloe plants will need plenty of direct sunlight in order to grow. Without it, their growth will be stunted. Refrain from overexposing your plant to the sun during the first few weeks, moving it closer and closer to full sun. Your plant loves snug spaces, but if it becomes too large and starts to cause the pot to tip, you may want to relocate it to a larger one. When re-potting, choose a container that’s wider than the previous, not deeper, and with extra room equivalent to 3 to 5 times the size of the current root ball. Rules to watering your succulent are quite simple: water it heavily about once every two weeks, waiting until the soil dries out fully. You'll know you're overwatering if the roots begin to rot. This is detectable by brown or limp leaves.

Growing Aloe Vera Plants Outdoors

Aloe vera in plastic pot. Small plant for a balcony. Daylight.
Shutterstock/Camila Paez

Know Your Zone!

Aloe vera plants are prone to dying in colder climates. As mentioned, the best climates for these succulents are zones 9-11. Because they are composed of so much water, they also are extremely susceptible to frost. Freezing temperatures will kill the leaves, but you really have to worry about frozen soil, as that will kill the roots and no new sprouts will grow. Check your zone, and be sure you're in an acceptable range.

Instructions

If you live between zones 9-11, growing you succulent in your yard will be quite a breeze! The best time to plant outdoors is in late spring early summer months. When picking a spot, look for a well-drained bed. Again, you should incorporate sand in the soil. You won't need to water your aloe with the exception of droughts. If it hasn't rained in months, give it a good soaking and then let the soil dry out again. This succulent does not need much fertilizing and is prone to many pests.

Aloe Vera Uses

  1. Accelerate the Healing of Burns
  2. Heartburn/GERD Relief
  3. Keeping Produce Fresh
  4. Improve Skin and Prevent Wrinkles
  5. Soothe a Sunburn
  6. Remove your Makeup
  7. Use as Natural Lubricant

Recommended Varieties & Where To Buy

Close up of golden toothed aloe or aloe nobilis turned red by sun exposure.
Shutterstock/vasanty

1. Golden Toothed Aloe

"Has beautiful golden-orange tubular flowers seasonally. Hummingbirds will flock to this plant!" - The Succulent Source

closeup of spiral aloe polyphylla leaves plant on stones
Shutterstock/Max_555

2. Spiral Aloe

"Leaves form a unique clockwise or counterclockwise geometric spiral pattern as the plant ages." - Lowe's

Macro Lace Aloe
Shutterstock/Photograsmithy

3. Lace Aloe

"One of the few frost hardy aloes. Don't be fooled by its petite size, Lace Aloe is a vigorous grower! Since lace aloe grows in a variety of habitats, through South Africa and Lesotho, it can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions." - Mountain Crest Gardens

Grouping of orange Aloe Ferox succulent plans - Image
Shutterstock/Ken Wolter

4. Aloe Ferox

"A very splashy, showy Aloe that forms spectacular red-orange candelabra-like flowering stalks from Winter to Spring. Aloe ferox begin their life with very spiny reddish- brown toothed-edges and look like ferocious little monsters." - Etsy

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