Aloe vera


Aloe barbadensis
Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis
Aloe chinensis
Aloe elongata
Aloe flava
Aloe indica
Aloe lanzae
Aloe maculata
Aloe perfoliata var. barbadensis
Aloe perfoliata var. vera
Aloe rubescens
Aloe variegata
Aloe vera var. chinensis
Aloe vera var. lanzae
Aloe vera var. littoralis
Aloe vulgaris


Aloe vera is deemed to be native to northern Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and the islands of Madeira, Canary, Cabo verte), though its actual origin is still uncertain. It’s widespread and cultivated all around the world: its popularity made it a naturalized species in wild habitats all over the world. Its preferred habitat are hammocks, rocky outcrops or sandy soils at an altitude rang between 0 and 1300 meters above the sea level. It enjoys sunny spots and warm climates.


Aloe vera is a rosette-forming succulent plant, with elongated, triangular leaves, bluish-green in colour and sometimes covered in white spots. It’s very popular among succulent lovers, mainly because of the healing properties of the jelly substances contained in its leaves, but also because it is a fast-growing and little demanding ornamental plant, looking gorgeous in a rocky garden or either in a pot. If it stays healthy, it might reach 50-100 centimeters in height. The translucent gel contained in its leaves is deemed to have rejuvenating and wound-healing and anti-rush properties, and it is used in cosmetics to make hand soaps and shampoos. We now come to the morphological description of the plant: it consists in rosettes of alternate leaves, 10 to 50 centiemeters long, bluish-green, mottled with purple or white bands/spots, occasionally with spiny edges (but it depends on the cultivar/subspecies). The inflorescence is an elongated spike, sprouting from the central part of the rosette, up to 1-1.5 meters tall, covered in scaly, pale bracts (modified leaves present on flowers of different plant species), ending in a compact raceme (cluster), that actually looks more like a spike,of showy, tubular flowers, 2-3 centimeters long and variously coloured depending on the variety: most of them have orange/coral flowers. Blooming may occur in any period of the year, if the plant is happy, though its actual blossoming season is in Spring – early Summer. Flowers turn into kinds of fruits called capsules, elongated, 4 centimeters long.


Aloe vera is considered an easy species to grow, being particularly undemanding and fast-growing. Here below are our cultivation tips:

It needs bright light, though it enjoys some shade in the hottest hours of the Summer. During the summer, in fact, an excessively direct exposure to sunlight might cause a change in the colour of the leaves, that turn deep purple. It is a sign that the plant is suffering, and that you should move it in the shade at least during the central hours of the day.
Aloe vera enjoys warm temperatures: it thrives at 20-24ºC. Its minimum tolerable temperature is around 5 to 8ºC above zero. In Winter, we advise to place it indoors, also to avoid winter rainfall that may cause root rottings.
Water regularly and abundantly in Spring and Summer, which is its growth season. As Autumn approaches and temperatures become cooler, reduce the watering frequency until suspending completely any irrigation in Winter. The root system of Aloe vera is fragile and subsceptible to rot: wait always for the soil to dry up completely before each watering. If the soil gets too wet, the plant stops its growth, but it usually manages to recover well, being a very hardy plant.
Choose a well-drained substrate to host its fragile roots: a specific mix for succulents will do good, or either a standard soil with some sandy matter or perlite added.
Fertilization can be carried out once a year with a product specifically formulated for succulents: rich in Nitrogen and poor in Phosphorus and Potassium.
The additional task required for the maintainance of Aloe vera are the removal of the numerous offsets that sprout in Spring, that tend to occupy the entire space of the pot and may hamper the growthin size of the main plant; and the removal of old flower stalks.
Repotting should be carried out every Spring, as Aloe vera is a fast-growing species and needs space to develop. Choose wide, shallop pots, better if in clay rather than in plastics.


The easiest method of propagation of Aloe vera is the division of the clumps. This species tends in fact to propagate horizontally by forming numerous lateral offsets. It will be sufficient to detach one of these with its own roots and replanting it in a separate pot. Also sowing is a viable method, though division is much easier and faster.


Aloe vera is popular for the medicinal properties of the gel of its leaves, that contains many vitamins and other active ingredients. Leaves from plants more than two years old were traditionally detached and rubbed on excoriations, burns, dermatitis lesions, chapped skin, and on dry skin, where they express their surface emollient and anti-inflammatory properties. Nowadays, the jelly substances contained in their leaves are the base of many cosmetic and herbal products.

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