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Aloe barbadensis (A. vera)
For color and textural contrast, grow several of the more than 300 perennial species of succulent aloe. The long, tapering leaves are ornamented with soft spines and contain a medicinal as well as cosmetic gel.
Best Climate and Site
Zones 9-10. Prefers full sun but tolerates light shade.
Ideal Soil Conditions
Well-drained soil low in organic matter; pH 6.7-7.3.
Separate new shoots from established plants. In cool climates, plant in pots and move them indoors in winter. Aloes thrive with little attention. Indoors, avoid overwatering and mix coarse sand with potting soil to facilitate good drainage.
Variable height; stemless rosette of spiny, tapered leaves.
Rarely flowers in cool climates; drooping, tubular,yellow to red blossoms atop a tall stalk.
Pest and Disease Prevention
Spray with insecticidal soap to control mealybugs, or purchase biological controls like mealybug destroyers, or green lacewings. Control insect pests before bringing pots indoors.
Harvesting and Storing
Cut leaves for gel as needed; remove outer leaves first.
Grow on sunny windowsills in the kitchen and bathroom.
Unsafe to use internally.
Other Common Names
First-aid herb, healing herb, medicine plant.