Aloes are native to southern and eastern Africa. They range in size and form, from small groundcovers such as Aloe aristata, 'grass aloes' such as Aloe thompsoniae, low growing aloes such as Aloe maculata, single trunked aloes such as Aloe thraskii to large tree aloes such as Aloe bainesii which may grow to 15m (H). In total about 380 species. Most of the aloes flower during winter. The flowers are tubular bell shapes on long spikes and range from cream and green to yellows and reds. Aloes are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, from full sun to shade, but all generally need good drainage. Most benefit from being watered in the summer especially Aloe plicatilis which can suffer from blackening of the tips if kept dry too long. Aloes make excellent pot and container plants needing little maintainence. Aloes hybridize readily in the wild and there are many popular hybrid forms in cultivation.

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