Aloe is a large genus of very diverse plants comprising around 450 species, many of which have been adopted as medicinal plants since ancient times. Most are from Africa, Arabia and Madagascar. Aloes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the small grass aloes to those many metres tall. The spiky leaves and the bitter tasting sap prevent animal and insect attack. The leaves are waxy with sunken pores to prevent water loss.
Aloes are essentially easy plants to grow. They are summer growers requiring light shade to filtered sun, reddening with more light exposure. Water regularly in summer but keep drier in winter during their dormant period. Grow them in light, fertile, well-drained, moderate soils, with a slightly acidic pH (5-6). Drought tolerant. Frost sensitive.