Types of Aloe Vera Plant: 15 Most Popular Aloe Vera Varieties
Identify the kind of aloe vera you have!
When you hear succulents, aloe vera is probably the first plant that comes to your mind. But did you know that the genus aloe consists of hundreds of other species other than aloe vera?
The genus aloe contains more than 560 types of aloe vera plants in form of perennials, trees, and shrubs. These species can be distinguished based on height, rosettes, leaf arrangement, and bloom, etc.
These exotic plants usually feature thick, uniquely arranged leaves. While some of these species grow only a few inches in height, others can reach a few feet tall. Depending on the variety, aloe plants can be grown indoors as well as outdoors.
To choose the right aloe to bring home, it’s important to learn more about the different aloe vera varieties. So, keep reading to find out!
- Is There A Difference Between Aloe and Aloe Vera?
- Types of Aloe Vera
- How Do I Identify My Aloe Plant?
- How To Take Care of The Aloe Vera Plant?
- How Long Do Aloe Plants Live?
- Plants That You May Confuse With Aloe
- Facts and Questions
- To Sum Up…
Is There A Difference Between Aloe and Aloe Vera?
Yes! Aloe vera is the name of a specific plant, which is scientifically known as Aloe barbadensis miller. It belongs to the family Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) and is just one of 400+ aloe species. Aloe is a genus and aloe vera is a particular species.
Different Types of Aloe Vera Plants and Their Features
Here are a few outdoor and indoor aloe varieties that you can consider bringing home!
1. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)
When people talk about aloe vera, they are probably referring to this variety. This species has fleshy, lance-shaped leaves that form large shrubs along with large red to yellow-orange blooms. The plant generally grows up to 3 feet in height.
This plant thrives in sandy and acidic soil and prefers full to partial sun. It requires little watering and almost no fertilizing. If you are new to gardening, this might be a good choice to start with.
2. Lace Aloe (Aloe Aristata)
This popular indoor aloe variety comes with globular rosettes with pointy leaves that are green in color. Interestingly, in the beginning, the leaves are a very light shade of green but eventually turn darker.
Another unique feature of lace aloe (Aristaloe genus) is the white, snowflake-like spots on the leaves. It can grow up to 10 inches in height and bears orange and red flowers.
This variety likes dry weather and thrives in full sun to partial shade. however, it is better to keep your lace aloe away from direct sunlight. Also, this variety has a low tolerance for cold. It has regular water needs for a succulent and does well in dry, well-draining soil.
3. Guido Aloe (Aloe ‘Guido’)
If you are looking for indoor aloe species, Guido Aloe is the perfect choice for you. This small hybrid variety can grow to 8 inches tall. It features rosettes of very attractive foliage with a green base and elongated creamy white markings.
Guido Aloe is heat and drought-tolerant. It needs full to partial sun and has very little watering requirements. It grows well in loose, rocky, or sandy, fast-draining soils.
4. French Aloe (Aloe Pluridens)
Next up on our list of different kinds of aloe vera plants is this giant variety. French aloe can attain a height of 20 feet, given the right conditions. It features single or multiple stems and graceful backward-bending leaves that grow in large spiraled rosettes.
Instead of falling off, the old leaves create a ‘skirt’ around the stem, below the leaves. The plant has a somewhat tropical appearance. The bright red flowers grow on the stem above the rosette. This species does well in sunny or semi-shaded spots and can tolerate a range of soils as long as it is well-draining.
5. Green Flowered Aloe (Aloe Viridiflora)
What’s unique about this aloe species is pretty obvious from its name – it bears globular groups of flowers that are completely green. The light green to blue-green leaves of this plant appears to be very hard and sharp. They grow in rosettes under the flowers.
These can grow up to be about 5 feet in height and can be kept indoors as well as outdoors. It prefers dry weather, partial sun, and well-draining soil. You need to provide bright indirect light when keeping it indoors and partial shade when keeping it outdoors.
6. Sunset Aloe (Aloe Dorotheae)
This small aloe variety gets its unique name from its bright crimson leaves with regularly arranged teeth along the edges. Initially, the leaves are bright green but eventually turn to bright red, especially when there is ample light.
When the plant blossoms, it usually bears orange, red, or yellow flowers that are green at the tips and are very pretty to look at. Sunset aloe can grow up to about 1 foot in height. It requires full sun, has low watering needs, and does well in loam or sandy, well-draining soil.
7. Spiral Aloe (Aloe Polyphylla)
Spiral aloe features rosettes with short and pointed leaves, arranged in a very symmetrical spiral. The thick, slightly curved green leaves feature big teeth along the edges. It can grow up to be 1 foot tall and is perfect for keeping indoors.
This aloe plant requires full to partial sun exposure and sandy, acidic, well-draining soil. Spiral aloe is sensitive to several environmental factors including humidity, temperature, and watering. All these factors need to be just right for this plant to grow well.
8. Flexing Aloe (Aloe Flexifolia)
This aloe variety has large rosettes of flexible, bendy leaves that are bluish-green. The floppy leaves have a very soft and smooth appearance. The flowers that grow on short stems right above the leaves are bright orange-red.
Different kinds of aloe vera plants grow up to a certain height. This variety can grow up to be as tall as 3 feet. Although it can be kept indoors, it does better outdoors. The variety does well in full sun.
9. Snake Aloe (Aloe Broomii)
Snake aloe features a large, short, and dense rosette of green, triangular leaves. The edges of these leaves are covered in reddish brown teeth, The plant bears pale lemon flowers that are hidden by extended bracts.
The plant can grow up to about 5 feet in height. This low-maintenance succulent has low watering needs and grows well in loamy, gravelly, or sandy, well-drained soil. It requires full to partial sun and is frost resistant.
10. Carmine Aloe (Aloe ‘Carmine’)
Another aloe species that can be grown indoors is carmine aloe. It comes with grey-green leaves that are ridden with bumps or warts. The edges of these triangular and pointed leaves feature bright orange teeth.
The plant can grow up to be anywhere between 8 to 10 inches in height. This slow-growing succulent requires full sunlight or partial shade, little watering, and porous and well-drained soil.
11. Torch Aloe (Aloe Arborescens)
This giant aloe variety can grow up to be as tall as 10 feet if given the right care. It features branching stems holding decorative rosettes of long and somewhat twisting leaves. The leaves of all types of aloe vera plants are usually green but may turn purple and red in string light.
What makes torch aloe stand out from the rest of the varieties is its attractive foliage and colorful flowers.
This variety grows well in well-drained moist or dry, sandy or gravelly soil. It prefers full sun or light shade and has low watering and maintenance needs.
12. Tiger Tooth Aloe (Aloe Juvenna)
This decorative aloe species is a good choice for urban gardens, gravel gardens, and even indoor spaces. It can grow up to 1 foot or more in height. The leaves of the plant seem to be stacked to form a rosette. The spotted leaves are triangular, bright green (or reddish brown if it receives ample sunlight), and have brightly colored teeth along the edges.
The flowers grow on long stems and are red with greenish-yellow mouths. These species thrive in warm and dry climates, with full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
13. Grass Aloe (Aloe Albida)
This grass-like aloe species features green, thin and long leaves that do not grow in regular rosettes, unlike most aloe varieties. The color of the flowers that grow on these dwarf aloe vera varieties are snow white!
Grass aloe can reach a height of about 6 inches and thrives in light shade and well-draining soil. You can use soil that is specially formulated for succulents and cacti. Like other aloe varieties, this species also has minimal watering requirements.
14. Uitenhage Aloe (Aloe Africana)
Uitenhage aloe can grow up to be as tall as 6 feet and features a beautiful apical rosette of leaves located at the end of green stems. The leaves are green in color with red tips and lateral teeth.
This aloe variety is a common choice for parks, patios, and gravel gardens. The plant bears thickly packed, tubular bright orange to yellow flowers. The -plant requires full sun, light watering, and well-drained sandy soil.
15. Mountain Aloe (Aloe Marlothii)
Another huge aloe species, this plant can grow up to be as tall as 10 feet. When in bloom, the plant features thick inflorescences that are cob-shaped and horizontal, growing on several branches. The branches stem from a central branch. The greyish green leaves of mountain aloe are broad (with a pointy end) and hard. This plant thrives in full sun, and well-drained soils and have low watering needs.
How Do I Identify My Aloe Plant?
Thanks to their distinctive appearance, identifying an aloe plant is not that difficult. Different types of aloe vera plants may have varied features but the basic features remain somewhat similar. Here is what you need to look at to figure out whether your plant is an aloe plant.
- Aloe has thick, tongue-shaped, pointy succulent leaves. These leaves are arranged in a rosette. Depending on the species, the color may vary from shades of green to reddish or purple.
- The texture of aloe leaves is soft and rubbery.
- The leaves may have teeth along their edges. However, that’s not the case with all aloe species.
- When broken, aloe leaves have juicy and slimy flesh inside.
- Many aloe vera plants usually feature tubular flowers that come in bright colors. These flowers grow in groups on the stems.
- The unique shape of the flowers makes reaching the nectar quite difficult for insects and birds. One bird species that can reach the nectar of aloe flowers is the hummingbird. So if your plant attracts a lot of hummingbirds, chances are it is an aloe plant.
How To Take Care of The Aloe Vera Plant?
Different types of aloe vera plants may have different requirements. Here’s what you need to keep in mind while taking care of your aloe vera plant:
- Temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for your plant. You may want to bring it indoors if the temperature drops during the winter months, especially during cold nights.
- Keep your aloe in bright and indirect light. You can also use artificial light.
- A little fertilization (probably once a month or less) can boost the growth and health of your plant. Make sure to add fertilizers only in summer or spring.
- Repot your plant if it becomes root bound.
- Avoid overwatering your aloe vera plant. It should be watered deeply but infrequently.
How Long Do Aloe Plants Live?
Usually, larger varieties have a longer life. Larger aloe varieties that are grown outdoors are known to live over two decades. Given the right care, indoor aloe plants may live for 10-12 years approximately.
Plants That You May Confuse With Aloe
A few plants that look alike and can be confused for aloe are yucca, maguey, agave plant, gasteria, and haworthia. These plants are succulents featuring rosette leaves growing around the stem. Some of the plants have leaves with spines along the edges, just like aloe vera varieties. Moreover, their growing needs are also quite similar to aloe.
Facts and Questions
Q. How to identify the medicinal aloe vera plant?
Ans. True Aloe or Aloe barbadensis miller offers maximum medicinal properties. To identify aloe vera, look for wide, thick, and fleshy leaves that grow upright narrowing towards the tip. The leaves, arranged in a circular rosette, are usually grey-green. These leaves are filled with a thick, slimy gel. Younger aloe vera leaves have markings, which disappear as the leaf ages. Aloe vera produces yellow blooms.
Q. Which type of aloe vera is poisonous?
Ans. Aloe species like aloe ruspoliana, aloe ballyi, and aloe elata are poisonous. Although these varieties – Aloe elata and aloe ballyi are not widespread.
Q. Which is the best variety of aloe vera?
Ans. Experts are of the view that aloe barbadensis miller is the best variety of aloe vera as it offers a range of medicinal, skincare, and haircare benefits. It can be used both internally as well as topically.
Q. Which aloe species is best for skin?
Ans. Aloe vera (aloe barbadensis Miller) is the best aloe species for skin, offering a myriad of benefits ranging from treating acne-prone or dry skin to healing sunburn and small abrasions.
To Sum Up…
If you are looking for a succulent that not only looks beautiful but is also fast growing, and easy to care, then different types of aloe vera plants should be on your watch list. Knowing more about different aloe species can help you choose the right one for your space and care for it the right way.
However, if you want to be able to use your aloe plant and not just keep it for aesthetics, it’d be best to stick to true aloe or aloe barbadensis miller!