What comes to your mind when you hear the term “aloe”? I bet you think of “aloe vera,” right? But did you know that aloe is a vast genus of succulent plants consisting of more than 500 species? These plants are known for their medicinal properties, beauty, exotic personality, and long-lasting blooms. The shape of different aloe plants is relatively similar even though there are distinguishable features in their leaf shape, flower color, and plant size.
So, what are some of the best aloes for your garden? Some of the best aloe species include aloe vera, aloe ferox, aloe aristata, aloe arborescens, and aloe marlothii. Aloe vera is the most popular of all the aloes because it has a wide range of medicinal uses and is also used in many beauty products. Aloe ferox is known as bitter or cape aloes and is native to South Africa. It has laxative properties and is often used in traditional African medicine.
This blog post thoroughly explores some of the best aloe species for your garden. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Identifying Different Types of Aloe Plants
The aloe genus features approximately 560 different aloe species. The durability and beauty of aloe plants make them ideal for diverse climates.
The succulent can thrive in almost every location if you provide the right growing conditions. In fact, aloe is usually considered an invasive succulent species since it blooms anywhere.
While most aloe plants have relatively thick, fleshy, and pointed leaves, the exact shapes and sizes of the leaves vary based on the species.
Moreover, they come in various colors ranging from grayish-green to dark green. The plant size varies significantly, too, depending on the species.
Some species have tongue-shaped leaves arranged in a rosette, while others have leaves clustered together in a stemless form.
The leaves might have a soft and rubbery texture since they are made of rubber material. Most of them have juicy flesh that is quite distinctive, depending on the aloe species.
Which Aloes Are Best for Your Garden?
Now that you know the basics of aloe plants, let’s explore some of the best species for your garden. Here are some of our top picks to consider:
It makes sense to start with the most popular aloe species; aloe vera. We all know about aloe vera, which we must have encountered at one point.
We find it in medicines, drinks, cosmetics, and even toilet paper! It is almost everywhere, but most of us only know the image of its thick green leaves.
This succulent has incredibly massive blooms and can survive on rocks, slopes, and even terraces.
The color of its flowers ranges from yellow to red via orange. Some even produce flowers of two different colors on the same plant. The blooms usually last several months, especially in relatively warm and dry weather.
Aloe vera grows to about three feet tall and 100 meters wide. It can even reach up to five feet tall in some cases. It is suitable for indoor spaces but prefers outdoor gardens where it can grow to its full potential.
The succulent usually flowers in summer, but it can bloom all year round depending on the climatic conditions.
Aloe ferox is a species native to South Africa with thick grey-green leaves. Its leaves are covered in white spines, which adds an extra layer of protection and makes the plant look stunningly unique.
This aloe grows up to five feet tall and produces orange-red flowers in the winter, making it an excellent choice for gardens in all seasons.
Aloe ferox also has a wide range of medicinal uses and is often used in traditional African medicine. It has laxative properties, so you should be careful when using it to treat ailments.
The aloe ferox prefers full sun and well-drained soil, with plenty of organic matter added to help retain moisture.
The succulent can tolerate drought but will not thrive in waterlogged soils, so paying attention to drainage when planting aloe ferox in your garden is essential.
Aloe arborescens are commonly referred to as the Krantz aloe. It is also called the candelabra aloe in some parts of the world thanks to its candelabra-shaped leaves/branches emerging from its woody trunk.
This aloe is one of the few tree-like aloe species that can grow up to two meters tall. It usually forms several pseudo trunks with small leaves that form a rosette at its end.
This aloe usually forms a stem from each leaf rosette, from which beautiful and scent-filled flowers emerge.
The Aloe arborescens are less popular than the aloe vera, but it is one of the most beautiful aloe species you will come across.
And if you keep your aloe arborescens long enough and provide it with the right growing conditions, it will produce numerous side shoots that make it relatively easy to propagate the plant.
This aloe is highly tolerant to short periods of frost and has excellent healing properties. You can apply it to your skin to alleviate itching or burning sensations.
However, medical experts warn against consuming it without proper processing since it can be toxic.
This aloe species is a great decorative addition to Mediterranean gardens and makes a beautiful bonsai.
The most common variety of the Krantz aloe is the “miller aloe,” characterized by its striking, bright orange/red flowers.
The Aloe variegata is a rare and unusual aloe species with beautiful patterns on its pale green leaves. This succulent plant is native to South Africa and can grow up to one meter tall and wide.
Its foliage is characterized by yellowish-white stripes running from the bottom to the top of each leaf, making it look unique compared to other aloe species.
The Aloe variegata is easy to grow and makes a great addition to the garden or indoors.
Its flowers are yellow-green, with each flower producing several seeds. The Aloe variegata prefers well-drained soil and full sun exposure for good growth and blooming.
It is drought-tolerant and can thrive in a wide range of soil types. The Aloe variegata is ideal for rock gardens or as an ornamental plant in containers and should be planted where it will receive plenty of natural light to help it reach its full potential.
With proper care, this aloe species can live up to 25 years and provide you with lovely, unique foliage for many years.
The scientific name of spiral aloe is Aloe Polyphylla. The succulent is native to the mountains of Lesotho in the Southern parts of Africa and is famous for its unique rosette shape.
The leaves of the spiral aloe are thick, fleshy, and rigid, with sharp edges that form a perfect spiral pattern as the plant grows.
The colors range from light to dark green depending on how much light exposure it gets and can sometimes have a reddish hue on the edges.
The succulents usually resemble short Roman swords and are slightly curved with thick leaves. The flowers form on their long stems, usually orange, red, or yellow.
The spiral aloe is easy to care for if it receives enough light and water. It also needs well-drained soil so that it doesn’t suffer from root rot. It can tolerate some frost but cannot withstand temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re looking for a great aloe to add to your collection, then the spiral aloe is a great choice. With its unique shape and striking colors, this aloe species will undoubtedly be a conversation starter in any garden.
The aloe aristata is also known as the guinea-fowl aloe or lace aloe. The plant is distinctly spherical and has tightly packed leaves that form an almost flat top. The aloe aristata is native to South Africa and can grow up to 30 cm tall.
Its foliage resembles a lattice of tight ropes, hence the name lace aloe. It’s also characterized by white spots on its dark green leaves.
This plant produces small yellow flowers in the summer and likes full sun exposure to reach its full potential.
The aloe aristata is well-suited for container planting or as an ornamental addition to your garden. It needs a well-draining potting mix and can tolerate short periods of drought.
Unfortunately, lace aloe is highly toxic and has no health benefits. Therefore, you must keep it away from children and pets.
Aloes are a great addition to every garden. From the ever-popular aloe vera to spiral aloe, there’s undoubtedly one out there that is perfect for your space.
As with any garden addition, research and ensure each plant will thrive in your climate before purchasing.
With the right plan and patience, you’ll have a beautiful array of aloe plants blooming in your garden.
Last update on 2023-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API