Aloe vera

Aloe vera

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Aloe vera is commonly grown as a houseplant and gained favor because the gel from its leaves makes a soothing skin salve (although some people are actually irritated by the gel).

There are over 300 species of Aloe vera, but the one most commonly grown as a houseplant is Aloe barbadensis miller. It has thick, succulent leaves that are plumped up with a watery gel. The leaves grow from the base of the plant, in a rosette, and have jagged edges with flexible spines. It's a fast-growing succulent, taking three to four years to reach a mature size.


Aloe Vera needs to be in a place that's bright with indirect sunlight: Direct sun can burn its tender skin. Water only when completely dry. Can also be grown outdoors year round in California in partial shade.