Aloe vera is a large, thick-leaved succulent native to the Arabian Peninsula and some parts of North Africa. The plant was first taken to Europe and China during the 17th century and now it can be seen being naturalized in many parts of the world. Over 400 species of aloes are found today, mostly in the patches of Africa. However, of all these different types of aloe plants, just a few actually have medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic properties.
In this blog, we will introduce you to the different types of aloe vera plants out there and what benefits each of them provides. We will also give you some tips on how to grow aloe vera and other aspects of aloe vera plant care so you are still able to enjoy the health benefits of this wonder plant in case you cannot find the best aloe vera gel supplement on the market.
Types of Aloe Plants
1. Aloe Ferox or Cape Aloe
Also known as Tap Aloe, Red Aloe or Bitter Aloe, this aloe species is very popular due to its bitterness. These 10-feet long plants grow attractive spikey flowers that are orange and yellow-orange in color and could be 3 feet tall. Cape Aloes are often used in skin care products because the gel can nourish the skin and they also have medicinal benefits like natural laxative properties.
2. Aloe Aristata or Lace Aloe
This species is also called stemless aloe or guinea-fowl that has saw-toothed, deep green leaves with white speckles. A wide variety of insects and birds are attracted to its orange flowers, encouraging the health and longevity of this aloe plant species. In terms of health benefits, it is a great natural remedy for wound treatment that makes it an essential part of Ayurveda in the Indian subcontinent.
3. Aloe Plicatilis or Fan Aloe
This plant has the name fan aloe because it has fan-like leaves unlike other aloe vera plants types. Although Aloe Plicatilis is commonly used for decorative purposes, it also has many therapeutic and cosmetic properties. However, it is now considered an endangered aloe species and its common uses are now restricted because of this reason.
4. Aloe Marlothii or Mountain Aloe
This can be as long as 20 feet in height and its spiky green leaves, 5 feet. The flowers have a variety of colors, ranging from yellow to orange to red. Only recently it has been found by a study that Mountain Aloe is a great skin moisturizer and can improve skin health just like Aloe Vera.
5. Aloe Striata or Coral Aloe
Aloe Striata’s wide and smooth leaves have a pink tint that gives it the name Coral Aloe. This aloe species is much different from others considering the fact that it has no “teeth” or the small, spiky projections that are commonly seen in most aloe varieties. Wondering how it can be beneficial for your health? Researchers found that it may improve your digestive health to a great extent.
6. Aloe Humilis or Hedgehog Aloe
This aloe variety has long and narrow triangle-shaped leaves that are in line with white teeth, and its stem sprouts clusters of yellow, red, and orange flowers. Just like the Aloe Vera gel, the gel of Aloe Humilis is able to moisturize and soothe sunburnt skin.
7. Aloe Barberae or Tree Aloe
These trees could be 60 ft in height and 10 feet in width with red flowers having green spots that boom during winters. Tree Aloes are of different types, such as Aloe Pillansii or Giant Quiver Tree that is 30-feet tall and looks similar to a cactus. There is also the Aloe Dichotoma or Quiver Tree that is one of the largest types of aloe plants. Aloe Barberae is very effective in fighting harmful bacteria and has soothing properties.
8. Aloe Arborescens or Torch Aloe
This type is unique in the sense that it has both colorful flowers and beautiful foliage that are very attractive. Its leaves are sword-shaped with light-colored teeth. It can grow to up to 10 feet high and 10 feet wide. Of the different aloe vera types of plants, this particular one has a number of health benefits to offer, including but not limited to healing wounds, fighting against bacteria, supporting the function of the immune system, and even increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy for metastatic cancer.
9. Aloe Barbadensis or Aloe Vera
This is the most popular of the various types of aloe plants with fleshy and thick leaves and it grows up to 40 inches. Since other aloe species could be toxic, Aloe Vera is mainly used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes and consumed for its numerous health e.g. heartburn relief, sunburn relief, wound healing, treatment of many skin conditions, digestive help, and a lot more.
How to Grow Aloe Vera?
You might be interested in planting and growing this widely popular succulent plant right at your home to reap its benefits. Here is a quick guide on how to plant aloe vera and all aspects of aloe vera plant care.
Step 1: Prior to planting
- Choose a terracotta pot or one that’s made of a similar porous material so that the soil thoroughly dries out between watering sessions. The container should also be heavy so your plant does not end up tipping over. It will be better if there is a drainage hole on the pot that will drain out excess water.
- Get a well-draining potting soil, preferably made for succulents and cacti. Check if the mix has coarse sand, lava rock and perlite.
- There is no need to have drainage materials like clay balls or gravels in the bottom of the container because the drainage hole would be enough to drain excess water and these materials would take up space that the plant’s root could otherwise use.
Step 2: Planting Aloe Vera
- Fill one-third of the container with the potting mix and place the plant in the soil. Keep filling in the mix around the plant and don’t forget to leave a minimum of 3/4 of one inch of space between the pot’s rim and the surface of the soil.
- Never water the plant immediately after planting. In fact, you should not water it for a week so that the roots don’t rot and new roots are able to put out.
How to Care for Aloe Vera Plant?
If you are wondering how to take care of aloe vera plant to reap its all benefits, there is really nothing much to know since this plant does not require much maintenance and you will barely find any aloe vera plant care problems. But one thing you should be aware of is how fast does aloe vera grow? This aloe species usually takes 2- 3 months to grow but the plant should be at least 3 years of age to have medicinal properties. Just following these steps and your plant would grow out just fine.
- Place the plant in bright and indirect sunlight if outdoors or artificial light if the plant is kept indoors. We recommend a southern or western window because aloe vera plants kept in low light could grow leggy.
- You need to keep your room temperature between 50° and 75° F if you are growing aloe vera plants indoors.
- Water the plant infrequently, but deeply. Be careful that your plant does not sit in water and to ensure that, let the soil dry 1 or 2 inches deep between watering.
- When it’s winter, water every three weeks and before watering, test the dryness of the soil using your finger. If you notice the soil is wet, don’t water because the roots could otherwise start to rot.
- Apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month at 1/2 strength.