Believe it or not, aloe vera isn't the only type of aloe out there! There are over 250 different species under the genus Aloe that can be found across the planet and in all kinds of weathers. A few of these green and big-leafed plants, much like their cousin, aloe vera, are exceptionally good for the health of your skin and the greenery in and around your home! These 8 types of aloe are great for growing at home, some indoors and some out, and come with their own range of benefits!
1. Aloe Arborescens
(By Andrew Massyn, Wikimedia Commons)
This medicinal plant, also known as the candelabra plant, aids in the healing of wounds in animals and shows action against harmful organisms. It was primarily used for healing burn wounds. It grows quite large, over 5 feet, but is extremely beautiful with bright red flowers.
It is also a great addition to any outdoor garden because it keeps the surrounding foliage healthy. These plants don’t shy away from the sun, and in fact, need no protection from direct sunlight. However, the candelabra plant is extremely sensitive to the cold and frost and must be maintained at temperatures above 40°F.
As these plants are more sustainable in tropical and sub-tropical climates, they require more frequent watering during the summer and only need water 2-3 times a month during colder seasons.
It is sufficient to grow these plants in a base made of gravel and equal parts sand, potting soil, and perlite. They require minimal regular maintenance, but make sure to keep an eye out for any leaves with red tips, or withering, as that could be a sign that your plant is thirsty!
2. Aloe Ferox
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Here’s another great outdoor plant. The seeds of this plant contain oil that provides high levels of fatty acids like linoleic, stearic and oleic. These oils are used in numerous different cosmetics and may offer a natural way to replenish the skin, without requiring any chemicals.
The plants themselves can grow up to 3 feet long with reddish-orange tube-like flowers and blue-green stems and are perennial evergreen plants. These plants, also known as cape aloe, are absolutely beautiful and also known for their valuable gel.
Cape aloe is easy to grow, even in fully sunny conditions, as long as the soil remains well drained (ideally with the use of gravel or something similar), as it is great for any type of big or small garden. While they can withstand drought-like conditions, they do thrive better with frequent waterings.
The great part about this plant is it’s virtually disease-free and also deer resistant, though bugs of a variety are attracted to it, which is fine for birds and bees but make sure to keep an eye out for mealybugs or scale insects.
3. Aloe Striata
(By Raffi Kojian, Wikimedia Commons)
This particular species is a perennial flower that survives in hot, dry environments, known for its ability to store water. It’s a hardy plant that grows to approximately 2 feet, which makes it great for gardens. According to recent research, this type of aloe is exceptionally good for digestion.
Purchasing the plant alone is sufficient to let your garden blossom into something magical on its own, as many smaller roses and buds will bloom from the base of the plant. This plant can withstand drier conditions, but nonetheless requires some light shade and frequent irrigation, though the soil must be properly drained.
This beautiful plant was originally found in the drier and elevated provinces of Western and Eastern South Africa, also known as Cape provinces. Cape aloe is largely low maintenance making it exceptionally great for beginners' gardens. It’s also extremely attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies, to give your garden the full natural experience.
4. Aloe Aristata
(By Chhe (talk), Wikimedia Commons)
Also known as Lace aloe, this aloe plant encourages the longevity of other plants in its immediate area. It’s an excellent plant for gardens, requiring little care, and promoting the health of all surrounding plant-life.
Lace aloe thrives in any moderate climate and doesn’t grow over one foot in height and length. It also has therapeutic roots and is used for healing wounds in Ayurveda. Although this plant enjoys warm and dry regions, it is best to make sure it avoids direct sunlight.
As its size can be contained, it can be a great addition to your indoor plant collection and an excellent office plant. Since this plant is drought-proof, it can be planted in any cactus soil preparations. The flowers of this plant bloom best during the fall season.
5. Aloe Polyphylla
(By Samuel Wantman, Wikimedia Commons)
This plant, known as the Spiral Aloe, is coveted for its beauty. The overuse of Spiral Aloe as an ornamental plant has greatly over-extended this particular species and has led to a severe decline in its population. On the rare occasions it flowers, the plant is lit up with tubular shaped salmon-pink flowers.
Its beauty has won this stunning plant several international flower awards. It is a great addition to the garden and beneficial not only to the aesthetics but also to the life of the rest of the garden. The Spiral Aloe does well in semi-warm climates, but not under direct sunlight.
It is quite durable and can handle a fair amount of frost and snow, though not extreme cold temperatures. Due to its dwindling numbers, the seeds of this plant are not easily purchased, but it's worth the effort as its a wonderful petite indoor plant and is both drought-tolerant and deer-resistant if kept outdoors.
6. Aloe Maculata
(By Stan Shebs, Wikimedia Commons)
This is an absolutely beautiful plant and a wonderful addition to the garden, also found in the Cape Peninsula. Hummingbirds and bees love this plant. This plant is especially unique because it is both salt-resistant and drought-resistant.
It grows up to 18 inches high and in the winter, bright coral orange tubular flowers can be brightly seen atop the tallest leaves, which can sometimes also bloom multiple times through the year. Its a much more common form of aloe and found more freely available than spiral aloe.
This is truly a boon because this type of aloe is great for planting at home, as it can tolerate almost any type of soil and moisture content. This aloe is an excellent anti-bacterial and has been used by numerous locals of sub-cultures found in the Cape Peninsula in making soaps.
7. Aloe Humilis
(By Stephen Boisvert, Wikimedia Commons)
Here’s an aloe whose gel has almost magical properties. The fresh gel of this particular plant is extremely beneficial to the skin and to healing wounds and has been shown to relieve sunburns as effectively as gels made from another popular aloe, aloe vera.
This is a must-have for the unseasonably tanned as it is easily grown in the summer. It can survive under light with shade but the plant truly looks and grows its best when left to grow in full sun. It requires minimal water and blooms beautifully in the summer.
This aloe is called spider aloe due to the elongated and thorny leaves of the plants. It only requires protection in the coldest parts of winter, to serve as your own source of homemade suntan lotion.
8. Aloe Barberae
(By Pamla J. Eisenberg, Wikimedia Commons)
This aloe is essentially a tree and can grow up to 50 feet tall, so needless to say, this is an outdoor plant. It grows quite quickly, about one foot a year, but that still makes this tree your homes companion for about 50 years.
These trees are topped with beautiful pink flowers, which also makes it a beautiful ornamental tree for any drought-filled landscape and eco-system. This type of aloe is incredible because it can be used to support your health in a number of different ways.
Research has shown that this type of aloe works overtime to battle some extremely harmful organisms that our bodies go up against. They also have soothing, calming and de-stress properties, which can help manage anxiety. The only catch with planting this big beauty is that it needs plenty of compost to grow best.