The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Liliaceae.

Aloe vera Aloe mitriformis
Aloe Genus of more than 300 species, plus many hybrids, of small to large, rosette, evergreen perennials, some are shrub-like or climbing, a few tree-like. They are found in the Cape Verde Islands, tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula. They require little water or care. Juice from the thick, pointed, sharply toothed leaves of some species is used in medicines. However, all Aloe leaves are toxic if eaten, so grow plants away from children. The green or lightly blotched leaves usually grow in compact rosettes or occasionally in spirals. Their lilylike flowers bloom atop tall spikes. Some types bloom every month. Easy to care for, as long as they get good drainage and enough sun. Remove flower stalks and old leaves after flowering.

Aloes are usually stemless rosettes but there are a few stemmed forms, including the Tree aloe Aloe arborescens (9 in. spiny leaves on tall trunks) and Aloe Ferox (18 in. spiny and warty leaves).

Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth from spring to autumn - minimum 50F in winter.Semi-shade or bright light. Provide some direct sunlight. Grow in soil-based potting mix. Keep compost moist at all time. In winter water very infrequently. No need to mist the leaves. Cuttings root easily. Take stem cuttings, offsets or leaf cuttings in spring or summer. It is vital to let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost. Water very sparingly and do not cover with polythene or glass. Sow seed at 70 F (21 C) as soon as ripe.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

9th Sep 2008
In our country aloe vera leaves are eaten by making a sweet dish out of it.
1st Oct 2008
I have had the same problem ever since I received an aloe slip from my daughter. It always tended to lean from one side or another. Solution: Go to the dollar store or out in the driveway and pick up some small rocks and prop the plant up. I bought some decorative rocks to match the pot when I repotted it this past fall(2007). Looks pretty neat. I have read where aloe's should be planted in cactus soil - but for now mine is in MiracleGro - potting soil. Plants do really well with this medium. Hope this helps.
23rd Aug 2009
I have several aloe, the oldest being over 3 ft tall, they do well in potting soil or cactus soil but I find that a mix of the two work best and provides good drainage. Mine also tends to lean so I sure my pots have tall lips to prop up the lowest of the leaves
22nd Aug 2010
I have a few small aloe plants that tended to lean...until I took them outside into brighter sunlight. Now they stand upright and look more like a plant.... I'm guessing the amount of light has a lot to do with things.
16th Mar 2012
I got one of these plants about 4 1/2 years ago from wal-mart and it was just this cute little thing, but now! It is huge and so far has only had one baby. I am very new to this plant thing, and recently just became interested in them. All I really did before was water it and just kinda have it there. But do i have to wait for the little babies to grow in order to get new aloe plants?
East coast USA
27th Aug 2013
Aloe is great for burns. If you get a burn while cooking cut a leaf off, split the leaf open and rub it on the burn. This will sooth the burn and help the healing.
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