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Aloe barbadensis miller

Aloe Vera: Aesthetic Houseplant with Medicinal Benefits

Known for the soothing gel contained in its leaves, aloe vera is a common houseplant that's both aesthetically pleasing and medicinally practical. The plant is considered a part of the succulent family, making it relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow.

Other names for this plant...

Babosa Barbados aloe Cape aloe Curaçao aloe

About Aloe Vera

Aloe vera's name comes from the Arabic word "alloeh," meaning "shining, bitter substance" and "vera," which means "true" in Latin.

There are hundreds of types of aloe plants, though only a few species contain the medicinal and healing properties that "true aloe" contains. Aloe vera is an excellent plant at home because it boasts many health benefits. Aloe vera gel contained in the plant's leaves can help with several skin irritations and ailments, including:

  • Sunburn

  • Insect bites

  • Psoriasis and eczema

  • Acne

  • Dry Skin

  • Minor burns

  • And more

In addition to its use in skin care, consumption of aloe vera gel also has several health benefits, including:

  • Reducing dental plaque

  • Boosting memory

  • Reducing blood sugar

  • Intake of antioxidants

Aloe vera gel has many uses outside of being an attractive houseplant.

Botanical Name

Aloe vera belongs to the Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family, and the botanical name is Aloe barbadensis miller.

Plant Type

Aloe vera is a succulent plant. Succulents are any plant with thick, fleshy leaves that store water.

Aloe is considered to be an angiosperm plant because, in the right conditions, it will flower. Aloe vera leaves are made of three different layers:

  1. An inner gel that is comprised of water with glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins making up the rest

  2. The yellow sap in the inner layer, which is latex and contains anthraquinones and glycosides

  3. The thick outer layer, which protects the plant and synthesizes carbohydrates and proteins


Aloe vera is native to Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.


Most aloe plants boast a rosette of triangular, fleshy green leaves that fan out from the plant's center, and many have toothed edges. Some aloe vera plants retain dead, brown leaves around the bottom of the plant for protection against the heat of wildfires.

Some species will bloom tubular flowers in the right conditions, which can be yellow, red, or white. The pointy leaves are typically green but sometimes appear to have a grey hue to them and may also contain white spots.

It is a unique-looking plant, making it a great decorative indoor plant.

Aloe vera has thick, fleshy leaves to store water.

Types Of Aloe Vera Plants

The aloe genus contains many other types of plants besides aloe vera. There are over 500 aloe plant species, and almost all of them can be cultivated as houseplants. Here is a look at some of the aloe varieties:

  • Aloe vera

  • Aloe arborescens

  • Aloe aristata

  • Aloe polyphylla

  • Aloe ferox

  • Aloe mitriformis

  • Aloe variegata

  • Aloe aculeata

  • Aloe plicatilis

Aloe Vera Plant Styling 

Aloe vera plants can make beautiful decorations. These medicinal plants are practical and aesthetically pleasing and can be styled in many ways. Small terracotta or wooden pots can be a nice way to bring a simple, classic style to your house.

Aloe vera also looks great in a terrarium with air plants, orchids, and baby tears (a moss-like creeping plant). A different and fun way to bring some personality to your house is by using "head" planters (made to look like a person's head), as the aloe plant's spiky leaves look like a 90s hairstyle.


Aloe vera needs a bright area where it gets indirect sunlight. You want to avoid direct sun. Setting the pot on a western or southern-facing windowsill is ideal. Artificial light could also work for your plant. If your plant receives too much full sun, it could get a sunburn.


When it comes to watering, aloe vera can be tricky. You always want to avoid over-watering them. They need to be watered deeply but infrequently, meaning that the soil should be moist after you have watered your plants, but you should let it dry out completely before watering again.

If you water too frequently, you can cause root rot in your plant’s root system, eventually killing it off. Generally speaking, you should water your plant once every 2-3 weeks, though this may vary depending on your plant.

If your pot has a drainage hole and the water runs out of the bottom of the pot, you should let your plant sit in the water for 10-15 minutes before dumping out the excess.


Aloe vera plants like temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. An advantage to having your aloe vera indoors is that most houses or apartments fall within that range of temperatures year-round.


This plant is very tolerant to dry conditions and is sensitive to excess water and humidity, both of which can lead to root rot.


Aloe vera grows best in relatively dry and well-draining soils. You can use cacti or succulent soil mix or combine regular potting soil with sand, perlite, pumice, or another similar material to create your own potting mix.


Regular pruning is not required except to remove the brown leaves.


Aloe vera does not require a fertilizer to grow, but if you are going to use one, use it sparingly. Make sure not to fertilize more than once a month, and only use a half-strength fertilizer.

Height & Growth

The size of your aloe vera plant depends on several environmental factors. The average mature aloe vera plant will reach about 2 feet tall under normal household growing conditions. However, this may vary depending on direct sunlight versus indirect sunlight, pot size, amount of water, and other factors.


Although aloe vera is used both topically and orally and has many health benefits and healing qualities, some concerns have been raised about how safe aloe consumption is.

In recent years, there have been several studies conducted about the relationship between aloe vera and carcinogenic activity. Because of the increased popularity and use of aloe vera products, more in-depth studies need to be conducted to investigate possible adverse side effects and toxic or carcinogenic effects.


Aloe vera is highly toxic to pets and should be kept away from them.

Common Problems 

  • Root Rot - This is typically caused by overwatering and can be avoided by allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings.

  • Low Light - Though they do not like direct sun, your aloe vera plant should receive bright light via indirect sunlight or artificial light.

  • Waterlogged - The soil mix should be well-aerated and drain easily. It should not retain too much moisture.

  • Too Much Light - While you want to ensure your plant is receiving enough light, it can burn if it is located in a hot window. Placing your plant in a west- or south-facing window is ideal.

Aloe likes to be slightly root bound and doesn't need to be repotted often.

How To Propagate Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe vera propagation is easy, as the mother plant produces new plants (offsets) as it matures. Separating these offspring using a garden trowel and repotting them in a separate pot is the easiest way to propagate the aloe vera plant.

They can also be propagated via seeds, though this process is more tedious. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do indoor aloe plants live? 

With proper care, indoor aloe plants can live up to 12 years, give or take a few years.

Where should I put my aloe vera plant in my house? 

Placing your aloe plant in a pot in a westward- or southward-facing window is best because this gives them enough natural light without burning them.

Should I water my aloe vera plant from the top or the bottom? 

Water your plant from under the leaves so that the water reaches the roots. Pour slowly and consistently until water emerges from the drainage holes.

Is my aloe vera plant pet-friendly? 

No, aloe vera is highly toxic to animals and should be kept out of their reach.

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