The Versatile and Healing Power of Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world due to its versatile properties and healing abilities.
The clear gel found in the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant contains over 200 active constituents that have been shown to benefit skin health, digestion, immune function, and much more.
I have witnessed firsthand how Aloe Vera has helped to heal burns, cuts, and rashes on both myself and family members over the years.
Beyond its therapeutic uses though, Aloe Vera is also a lovely ornamental succulent that comes in an amazing diversity of varieties suited for various garden and landscape applications.
An Overview of Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
While the ubiquitous green Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller is likely the most commonly cultivated variety, did you know there are over 500 recognized Aloe Vera varieties today?
In this article, I seek to explore and showcase some of the diverse and intriguing varieties of Aloe Vera plants beyond just the common green type.
We’ll cover variations in size, coloration, leaf shape, growth habit, intended uses from medicinal to ornamental, and more.
I hope learning about different Aloe Vera varieties will inspire you to consider incorporating more of these beautiful and beneficial succulents into your own green space.
|Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller, Aloe Vera Chinensis, Aloe Vera Perryi
|Classic green coloring, large leaves, cold hardy
|Aloe ‘Delta Lights’, Aloe ‘Twilight Zone’, Aloe ‘Pink Blush’
|Small stature, colorful leaves
|Aloe Vera ‘White Beauty’, Aloe Vera ‘Zebra’, Aloe Vera ‘Lizard’
|Striking leaf patterns in white, yellow etc.
|Ornamental accents, landscaping
|Aloe Vera ‘Medicinal Healing’, Aloe Vera ‘Medipal Plus’, Aloe Vera ‘Medicine Plant’
|High gel yields, disease resistance
|Medicinal extracts, lotions
|Aloe Vera ‘Black Gem’, Aloe Vera ‘Coral Fire’, Aloe Vera ‘Blue Elf’
|Unique leaf colors like blue, purple etc.
|Garden beds, planters
Common Aloe Vera Varieties
Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller
Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller is often considered the “generic” Aloe Vera variety. Its thick lance-shaped leaves grow in rosettes up to 2 feet tall and emit a grayish-blue tint when young that fades to a vibrant glossy dark green as the leaves mature.
Its growth habit is upright and clumping, making it well-suited for larger landscape applications. Thanks to its hardiness in zones 7-11, this variety continues to be one of the most widely cultivated Aloe Vera plants for its healing gel and other uses.
It holds up well in full sun and average garden soil.
Aloe Vera Chinensis
Aloe Vera Chinensis has fleshy tapered leaves that are blue-gray when young and turn olive-green as they age.
With its lower growth height of 1-2 feet, it tends to spread more horizontally than vertically over time. Native to southern China, this variety prefers consistently warm temperatures and tolerates partial shade better than its Barbadensis cousin.
Its compact form and glaucous foliage make it an excellent choice for growing in large containers on patios.
Aloe Vera Perryi
Also known as the ‘Lily Aloe’, Aloe Vera Perryi has striking smooth paddle-shaped leaves that emerge reddish-brown at the tips and slowly transform to green along the inner portions.
When mature, its leaves can reach over 3 feet in length emanating from a thick rhizomatous rootstock. Unlike other Aloe varieties, Perryi is monoecious meaning its flowers are borne on the same inflorescence rather than in clusters.
While a tropical plant at heart, it has some cold tolerance and thrives in zones 9-11 when given bright light and well-draining soil.
Miniature Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe ‘Delta Lights’
A charming dwarf variety, Aloe ‘Delta Lights’ grows only 4-6 inches tall and wide, making it perfect for tight spaces like fairy gardens. Its miniature tapering leaves emerge lime green with a yellow border then mature to a lime color throughout.
In spring and summer, it produces bright yellow tubular flowers on short stalks. ‘Delta Lights’ performs well in full sun or light shade, spreads gently, and looks dazzling when grown in grouping.
Aloe ‘Twilight Zone’
With leaves no more than 2 inches long, Aloe ‘Twilight Zone’ truly epitomizes a mini aloe. Like ‘Delta Lights’, its sculptural bluish-green foliage has a soft yellow margin. But this variety has a more quilled leaf shape and tightly clustered rosette form.
I find the color contrast especially striking when grown in small pots. Provide ‘Twilight Zone’ ample sunlight for vibrant hues and protect from excess water which can cause rot in its shallow roots.
Aloe ‘Pink Blush’
Soft pink blush coloring accents the tips and edges of Aloe ‘Pink Blush’s otherwise lime green leaves. Measuring 3-5 inches tall, this pretty miniature variety holds its petite roses upright on short stems.
To maintain its attractive flush of pigmentation, position ‘Pink Blush’ in full sun and keep soil well-draining. It looks lovely spilling from containers, lining walkways, or as a unique addition to succulent dish gardens and arrangements.
Variegated Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe Vera ‘White Beauty’
With cream and white variegated leaf margins, Aloe Vera ‘White Beauty’ stands out dramatically from other varieties. Its rosette of thick leaves grows 8-12 inches tall and wide, each blade edged in bright white.
The white patterning intensifies in full sun, creating a lovely high-contrast plant. While the leaves lack some of the hardy Barbadensis type’s cold tolerance, ‘White Beauty’ thrives in warmer zones 8b-11. Use this striking variety as a focal point specimen or to brighten up shaded spots in the garden.
Aloe Vera ‘Zebra’
Resembling leafy zebra stripes, Aloe Vera ‘Zebra’ draws attention with its whimsical foliage pattern. Dark green centers fade into broad alternating cream and yellow bands, giving each succulent rosette a two-toned appearance.
With compact rosettes 8 inches tall, this variety lends visual interest to containers, rock gardens, or edging walks. Provide ‘Zebra’ with consistent moisture and bright light for strong variegation, though some sun Stress will also intensify its colors.
Aloe Vera ‘Lizard’
Aloe Vera ‘Lizard’ got its name from its unique scale-like leaf mottling. Dark green “scales” border light green and yellow flecks in a wild unpredictable fashion akin to a lizard’s skin. Measuring 1 foot tall, it forms a tidy clumping habit perfect for the front of borders.
I find this variety’s organic blending of pigments allows it to complement a wide range of companion plants in the landscape. ‘Lizard’ thrives with average water and full sun exposure to highlight its marbled foliage markings.
Medicinal Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe Vera ‘Medicinal Healing’
While showier varieties may attract more attention, aloes like ‘Medicinal Healing’ were specifically bred for maximum medicinal gel content. Its broad 15-inch leaves contain twice the amount of active components like polysaccharides, anthraquinones, and vitamins compared to standard aloe.
With a disease resistant nature and fast growth rate, ‘Medicinal Healing’ is well-suited to large scale cultivation. I’ve used its extra potent gel to treat minor burns, sun damage and obtain other health benefits with noticeable results.
Aloe Vera ‘Medipal Plus’
Another variety offering enriched medicinal value is Aloe Vera ‘Medipal Plus’. Developed by researchers, its gel contains particularly high levels of polysaccharides and anthraquinones that give ‘Medipal Plus’ strengthened antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound healing abilities over typical Aloe varieties.
Like ‘Medicinal Healing’, it forms a dense rosette up to 2 feet wide perfect for bulk extraction. While less showy than other cultivars, this variety pays dividends for therapeutic applications.
Aloe Vera ‘Medicine Plant’
With thick fleshy leaves up to 18 inches long, Aloe Vera ‘Medicine Plant’ can yield sizable amounts of gel for medicinal use each harvest.
Its gel content boasts above average concentrations of minerals like magnesium, manganese and zinc as well as salicylic acid known for pain relief.
Hardy to zone 8, this variety takes well to semi-shade and average garden conditions after establishment. Its low maintenance qualities along with high pounded gel yields make ‘Medicine Plant’ an excellent choice for homegrown natural remedies.
I’ve used gel from my own ‘Medicine Plant’ specimens to successfully treat minor burns, skin irritations, and cuts over the years.
The generous harvests have more than paid off the small footprint it requires in my subtropical apartment balcony garden.
Ornamental Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe Vera ‘Black Gem’
Earning its name, Aloe Vera ‘Black Gem’ contrasts strikingly with deep violet-black leaves that gleam like obsidian in the sunlight. Growing 8-12 inches tall with dusty plum flowers, it brings edgy drama to the succulent landscape.
To maintain ‘Black Gem’s rich pigmentation, position in full sun and allow soil to partially dry between waterings. This show-stopping variety makes a lasting impression paired with silvers and grays or as a focal accent plant.
Aloe Vera ‘Coral Fire’
Few aloe varieties match the blazing orange-red hues of Aloe Vera ‘Coral Fire’. In fall and winter when sunlight touches its rosettes, the leaves ignite like flickering flames truly living up to its name.
Reaching 1-2 feet tall, ‘Coral Fire forms dense rosettes perfect for the garden border. While their intense coloration may fade slightly in shade, this tropical hybrid thrives in zones 9-11 with warmth and bright light. Used to draw the eye or infuse beds with an invigorating pop of chroma.
Aloe Vera ‘Blue Elf’
As its name implies, deep navy coloring transforms each of Aloe Vera ‘Blue Elf’s 2-inch leaves into little elf-like figures. In contrast to red or orange hued varieties, ‘Blue Elf’ brings soothing cool tones to the landscape.
Short stalks hold up the rosettes for close inspection of their peacock green windowing. Very slow-growing yet drought tolerant once established, this enchanting mini variety makes an ethereal addition to fairy or succulent gardens. Give ‘Blue Elf’ protection from harsh sun to preserve its unique leaf pigments.
Rare and Unique Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe Vera ‘Lemon Frost’
A truly singular variety, Aloe Vera ‘Lemon Frost’ boasts leaves splashed in soft lemon yellow pigment like frost on green grass. As an added quirk, pinkish buds emerge at the leaf tips in spring.
With rosettes 8-10 inches wide, its soothing palate cleansing colors stand out in any collection. While reaching only 1 foot tall, ‘Lemon Frost’s rarity and unusual yellow variegation make quite an impression. Great for indoor pots or rock gardens in its tropical hardiness zones 10-11.
Aloe Vera ‘Silver Tooth’
Sharp triangular teeth line the blue-green edges of each puckered leaf on Aloe Vera ‘Silver Tooth’, giving it a menacing prehistoric appeal. Maturing 24 inches tall with white-spotted flowers, this exotic variety harkens to an earlier geologic era.
Its saw-toothed leaves and silvery teeth will certainly spark conversation! Recommended for zones 9b-11, provide ‘Silver Tooth’ full sun to maximize its sculptural qualities. Also known as ‘Flint Edge Aloe’, it adds intrigue to arid themed beds.
Aloe Vera ‘Snow Storm’
Resembling lace for the landscape, Aloe Vera ‘Snow Storm’ produces frosty white flecks across blue-green leaves dusted in powdery farina. In mature rosettes up to 1 foot across, the organic white speckling imitates freshly fallen snow.
A tropical jewel for zones 9b-11, this variety drinks in the sunshine and needs winter protection from frost. Use ‘Snow Storm’ to accent a white color scheme or incorporate its ethereal aesthetic to themed winter container displays and winter gardens.
Hybrid Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Aloe Vera ‘Sunset’
As a hybrid cross between Aloe Vera plant and Aloe arborescence, Aloe Vera ‘Sunset’ flaunts brilliant shades of coral, orange and salmon across each leaf. Reaching 2 feet tall with lovely tubular red-orange flowers, it truly evokes the glory of sunset skies.
While more vigorous than many succulents, ‘Sunset’ tolerates partial shade when young. Fantastic for bringing tropical flair, use in mass plantings, borders or as a standalone statement piece to soak up the sun’s last rays.
Aloe Vera ‘Firecracker’
Bold splashes of cherry red and tangerine dazzle on Aloe Vera ‘Firecrackers broad bumpy leaves, giving this hybrid an truly explosive name. Much showier than typical aloes, ‘Firecracker’ makes an ideal 4th of July or summer birthday plant at 1-2 feet tall.
Offer full western sun to maximize its fiery colors. Fast-spreading but not invasive, this exuberant hybrid adds vibrant pop wherever you place it. Use to light up any landscape!
Aloe Vera ‘Rainbow’
As its name suggests, kaleidoscopic streaks and blends of color from neon oranges to lime greens, pinks and yellows characterize the leaves of this mesmerizing hybrid variety. Formed by crossing several Aloe species, no two rosettes of Aloe Vera ‘Rainbow’ are exactly the same in their variable pigmentation.
Growing 1-2 feet tall, this colorful chameleon is certain to spark delight. Give ‘Rainbow’ a spot in filtered sun to appreciate its watercolor leaf display.
Choosing the Right Aloe Vera Plant Variety for Your Needs
Considerations for Growing Conditions and Climate
When selecting an Aloe Vera plant variety, one of the first factors to consider are your garden conditions and hardiness zone. Standard green varieties like Barbadensis tend to be the most cold hardy down to USDA zone 7, while others may only thrive in tropical or Mediterranean climates.
Pay attention to each variety’s recommended zones. Other important conditions to match include light requirements, drought tolerance, and preferred temperatures. Miniature and ornamental varieties often tolerate partial shade better than medicinal types.
Assessing the Desired Uses and Benefits
Think about what purposes you want an Aloe Vera plant to fulfill whether medicinal, decorative, or companion planting. Varieties bred for high gel yields such as ‘Medicinal Healing’ clearly suit extracting aloe for lotions or consumption. Dwarf kinds like ‘Delta Lights’ excel for tight spaces.
And showstoppers like ‘Black Gem’ stun as specimen plants. By assessing your intended uses first, it’s easier to select varieties with aligned attributes. Don’t forget to consider growth habits too for permanent landscape placement.
Matching Aesthetic Preferences and Garden Design
Visual impact matters greatly in ornamental gardening. If color is a high priority, look no further than ‘Coral Fire’ or ‘Rainbow’ for vivid seasonal pops. Want an artistic accent, try ‘Zebra’ or ‘Lizard’ with their distinctive foliage patterns.
Limited space calls for miniature varieties. And those hunting rare beauties may enjoy ‘Lemon Frost’ or ‘Blue Elf’. Examine your personal design tastes and identify complementary aloe varieties to achieve balance, flow and creativity within your outdoor oasis.
Caring for Aloe Vera Plants
Soil and Water Requirements
Most Aloe Vera Plant thrive in well-draining potting mixes or sandy loam garden soils with a pH between 5.5-8.0. Water thoroughly until draining from the bottom when the top inch of soil is dry, then allow to dry fully before rewatering.
Most enjoy infrequent deep soakings versus constant moisture. Cut back water in winter when growth slows. For container culture, use cactus or succulent soil mixes retaining just enough water and oxygen for roots.
Sunlight and Temperature Considerations
Full sun suits most Aloe Vera Plant varieties best, providing a minimum of 6 hours direct rays daily to retain foliage pigments and promote compact growth. Miniatures perform well in partial shade.
Daytime temperatures between 60-90°F allow peak performance, while nighttime dips into the 40s won’t harm all but tropical types. Provide frost protection below 30°F. Choosing a location mimicking their native subtropical or arid climate boosts your Aloe’s thriving.
Propagation and Maintenance Tips
Aloe Vera Plant readily propagates from offsets, root cuttings, or leaf separation with a clean blade. Use fresh potting mix and provide shade until new growth ensues. Prune off unsightly or damaged leaves as needed with sterilized shears.
Fertilize in spring and summer with dilute balanced products to enrich potting soils and stimulate compact growth without overstimulating. Staking may stabilize tall varieties during storms or after flowering. Check for pests and yellowing leaves as signs of stress.
Showcasing Aloe Vera Plant Varieties in Gardens and Landscapes
Creating Aloe Vera Displays
Grouping three or more of a single Aloe Vera Plant variety creates visual impact, whether in themed beds or along a walkway edge for continuity. Blending different kinds of similar size but varying colors likewise produces stunning vignettes for the landscape.
For a maximal show garden or conservatory, combine miniatures creeping along the front with eye-catching vertical accents towering above. Consider maintaining your favored varieties in dedicated Aloe beds to spotlight their forms, textures and hues together.
Combining Aloe Vera Plant with Companion Plants
Beyond solitary specimens, aloes partner beautifully with other succulents, cacti, drought tolerant flowering perennials and tropical. ‘Firecracker’ energizes pairs with fiery orange Angelonia’s or Coppertone foliage plants.
Miniatures like ‘Pink Blush’ complement diminutive stonecrops and sedums. And statuesque palms offset giant ‘Lily Aloe’ along a patio wall beautifully.
Edging beds with ‘Zebra’, a border pergola becomes even more whimsical. With matching light and water needs, aloes integrate seamlessly wherever their bold foliage tones can shine.
Highlighting Creative Uses and Arrangements
From dish gardens to windowboxes, aloes adapt creatively. Mini ‘Pink Blush’ spikes the tops of birdbaths and terra cotta pots with pastel charm. Tablescaping with low ‘Delta Lights’ brings close texture inspection and fragrance.
Or try wilder drifts of ‘Coral Fire’ and partners swirling soft like flames down dry creek beds. Towering standard ‘Berrydensis’ or ‘Perryi’ make solitary sentinels for entry features.
And architectural ‘Lizard’ perfectly bridges gaps in stone paths with its organic patterning. Through thoughtful placement, aloes contribute handsomely in any green space.
Exploring the Diverse World of Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
In wrapping up our tour of Aloe Vera Plant diversity, I hope you know better appreciate the immense range of forms, colors, sizes and applications embodied within this healing genus.
From commonplace greens to exotic hybrids, each variety offers unique contributions for gardens, medicine or landscape accents promising years of low maintenance enjoyment.
While the iconic common Aloe holds enduring virtues, branching out to explore new kinds promises new joys of nature to discover.
In choosing varieties aligning to your growing conditions and design preferences, aloes will surely shine for many seasons to come.
Selecting the Perfect Aloe Vera Plant Variety for Your Green Oasis
Whether your focus lies in gardening for optimum wellness, beautifying your landscape or simply collecting one-of-a-kind plants, I hope this article has provided helpful guidance in envisioning where aloes may flourish within your own outdoor spaces.
Remember to assess both your needs and the characteristics of different cultivars when making selections.
By pairing specific Aloe Vera Plant varieties to the right growing environments, applications and companions, you can truly display them to their maximal potential for delighting the senses.
I wish you the very best in creating uniquely lovely green nooks with these versatile succulents.
Frequently Asked Questions on Aloe Vera Plant Varieties
Q. What is the best variety of aloe vera plant?
The most common and easy to grow variety is Aloe barbadensis Miller, or pharmaceutical aloe. It’s used widely for its healing gel.
Q. How many kinds of aloe vera plants are there?
There are over 500 known species of aloe plants, but the most popular for medicinal use and consumption is Aloe vera.
Q. How do I identify my aloe vera plant?
Identify your aloe by its smooth gray-green leaves arranged in a rosette form and yellow flowers. Look for gel inside.
Q. Are there any poisonous types of aloe vera?
No aloe vera types are considered poisonous. Some non-Aloe varieties contain anthraquinones and should not be ingested.
Q. Can you eat all types of aloe vera plants?
Only the clear gel from the inner leaves of Aloe vera can be eaten. Others may be toxic or lack nutrients.
Q. What is the fastest growing aloe?
Aloe brevifolia and Aloe ferox grow rapidly. Aloe arborescens spreads quickly but has lower gel content.
Q. Which type of aloe vera Cannot be eaten?
Some non-Aloe types like Aloe saponaria cannot be safely eaten due to toxic compounds.
Q. How can I tell if my aloe vera plant is edible?
Only eat gel from plants you’ve researched and know to be edible Aloe vera types like Aloe barbadensis Miller.
Q. What aloe vera can you not eat?
Avoid any types with bitter sap, yellow or dark colored gel as they may lack nutrients or contain toxins.
Q. What is the lifespan of an aloe vera plant?
Aloe Vera can live over 20 years indoors or out. It’s a succulent that’s drought tolerant once established.
Q. How many years does aloe vera plant last?
Aloe Vera can live over 20 years indoors or out. It’s a succulent that’s drought tolerant once established.
Q. What is the best place to plant aloe vera?
Place Aloe Vera in a sunny, well-draining area for best growth. It thrives in containers, gardens or greenhouses.