© RHS / Tim Sandall



Botanical name: Aloe

Aloes are sculptural plants that usually form compact, spiralling rosettes of leaves. They are easily grown in containers and are great in conservatories or as houseplants and for placing outdoors during summer. A few species that are more tree-like or grow as climbers have been removed from Aloe (now called Aloidendron), so not included here.


Aloes have fleshy, triangular, green or bluish-green leaves, often toothed along the edges, sometimes with a warty surface. Clusters of yellow or red tubular flowers are produced at the ends of tall leafless stems in summer or autumn.


To grow aloes in containers, use a cactus compost or other good quality compost with added sharp sand or grit to improve drainage. Place in full light with good ventilation.


Aloes will not grow well in continuously wet compost or in shade. They dislike humid atmospheres and cannot withstand freezing temperatures.

Did you know?

Commercially, sap is extracted from the of leaves of Aloe vera for use in the manufacture of cosmetics, medicines and drinks. A piece of leaf is also often used to apply to burns because of its cooling soothing properties.

Growing guide

Aloes we recommend

Useful advice

Greenhouse: ventilation and shading

Greenhouse: ventilation and shading

Houseplants for different locations

Houseplants for different locations

Leaf damage on houseplants

Leaf damage on houseplants

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