Identifying and Growing Edible Aloe Vera

edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller

Aloe vera is a hardy succulent semi-tropical plant which is native to North Africa and the SW Arabian Peninsula, but at the present time can almost be found worldwide. It’s a very tough plant which will grow in poor soil and hot, dry sunny locations, but can also be grown as an indoor plant near a window with bright natural light

The thick leaves contain a gel which is commonly used externally to treat skin irritation, minor burns, sunburns, itching due to allergies and insect bites, sores and skin ulcers. Aloe vera is possibly the oldest and the most used medicinal plant worldwide, its recorded medicinal use dates back historically to well over 2,000 years. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) where it is known as lú huì 蘆薈.

There is a growing interest in the health benefits of Aloe vera juice currently, and as a result some people are deciding to grow their own plants for the purpose. It’s important to understand that there are different varieties of Aloe vera, and the common variety for burns is not meant to be eaten, it’s just meant to be applied to the skin.

Lets look at the differences between the Aloe vera varieties, so we can distinguish the edible variety from the non-edible one.

Which Aloe Vera Variety is Edible?

There is more than one variety of Aloe vera, and Aloe vera barbadensis Miller variety is usually mentioned as the most beneficial variety of Aloe vera, and as the edible one. Trying to find this Aloe vera is made much more difficult thanks to the botanists who have made a complete mess of the names!

To quote the San Marcos Growers website article on Aloe vera:

“The scientific name assigned to this aloe has been changed several times in the last few years from Aloe vera to Aloe barbadensis and then back to Aloe vera. It seems that this controversy dates back to the two names being published a couple weeks apart back in April of 1768. In “The Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” (Edited by Urs Eggli, Springer-Verlag 2001) L.E. Lewis, the author on the section Aloaceae, lists the plant as Aloe vera (Linné) Burman and notes that Linné (Carl von Linné or Carolus Linnaeus) did not pubish the combinations of Aloe vera as a numbered species and that Gilbert Westacott Reynolds in “The Aloes of tropical Africa and Madagascar” (1966) argued that the name should be A. barbadensis but had overlooked the combination published by N.L. Burman (not later than April 6, 1768), which has priority over Miller’s name [A. Barbadensis]. Lewis cites as reference for this information L.E. Newton’s article “In defence of the name Aloe vera” in the the “Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain” (1979:41-2).”

Currently, according to botanists, all these names refer to the same plant:

  • Aloe vera
  • Aloe barbadensis
  • Aloe vera barbadensis Miller
  • Aloe vera var. barbadensis
  • Aloe vera var. chinensis

When a plant botanical name has a person’s surname name after it, such as Aloe vera barbadensis Miller, this is the name of the person/s who first made the original description in a published journal or book. They are referred to as the ‘author’ for that plant name, and their name follows the genus and species in a full citation.

In the real world, horticulturists and growers differentiate the edible and non-edible Aloe vera varieties in a much simpler way, even if it’s not supposedly academically correct.

  • Edible Aloe vera is referred to as Aloe vera barbadensis, Aloe barbadensis or Aloe vera barbadensis Miller.
  • Non-edible Aloe vera is referred to as Aloe vera var. chinensis

How do we tell the different Aloe vera plants apart?

How to Identify Edible Aloe Vera

Aloe vera barbadensis Miller has thick, wide, fleshy upright leaves which are gray-green in colour, and are arranged in a very distinct circular rosette form.

The younger leaves are spotted with white flecks or streaks, just like the non-edible variety, but these markings disappear as the leaves get older. The mature leaves are plain in colour, without any white spots or streaks.

This variety produces yellow flowers, which are different from the non-edible variety that has orange flowers.

edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller has a green to grey-green colour and a very distinct circular rosette form
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller closer view of the plant
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller showing thickness of leaves
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller showing width of leaves, exceedingly broad at the base
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller showing width of leaves from underside
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller plant structure, with few very thick leaves forming a rosette shape
edible Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller plant, showing the distinct difference between the spotted younger leaves, and the mature leaves, which have no spots.
Aloe vera barbadensis Miller produces yellow flowers, different from the non-edible variety which has orange flowers.

How to Identify Non-Edible Aloe Vera

Aloe vera var. chinensis has narrow spotted leaves that are a blue-green in colour, and and are arranged in a flatter and stacked form, rather than a round rosette form kike the edible variety.

Both the young and older leaves are spotted with white streaks or markings, which are retained right through to maturity, and never disappear

This variety produces orange flowers, which are different from the edible variety that has yellow flowers.

This is the Aloe vera variety that is commonly sold for treating burns.

Aloe vera var. chinensis has a blue-green colour (not shown well in these photos) and a very different form, somewhat flatter and stacked rather than a rosette
Aloe vera var. chinensis non-edible
Aloe vera var. chinensis closer view of the plant
Aloe vera var. chinensis non-edible
Aloe vera var. chinensis showing both the mature and young leaves are spotted, leaf markings are retained right through to maturity.
Aloe vera var. chinensis produces orange flowers, different from the edible variety which has yellow flowers.

The tubular yellow or orange flowers of Aloe vera plants are grown high on long stems in spring to summer once the plants reach a certain level of maturity, usually when they’re around four years old.

A more definite way to identify the Aloe vera barbadensis Miller variety is by comparing the young and the mature leaves, they will look different. The pups (baby plants growing at the sides of the parent plant) and young leaves on the mature plants will be ‘spotted’, they will have many white or pale green markings, which will vanish as the plant matures and the leaves get larger and thicker. The leaves are also green or grey-green in colour.

With Aloe vera var. chinensis the spotted leaves will not change as they mature, the young and the mature leaves look the same, with the only difference being in their size. The leaves are a different colour, more of a blue-green.

As a side-by-side comparison, I cut a mature leaf of Aloe vera var. chinensis (it’s the narrow leaf, the non-edible variety that’s applied to the skin only), against a mature leaf of Aloe vera barbadensis Miller growing in a large pot.

Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller comparison vs Aloe vera var. chinensis
On the left, a leaf of non-edible Aloe vera var. chinensis compared to a leaf of edible Aloe vera barbadensis Miller. Note the difference in thickness, colour and the leaf markings.
Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller comparison vs Aloe vera var. chinensis
On the front, a narrow spotted mature leaf of non-edible Aloe vera var. chinensis compared to a much wider plain-coloured mature leaf of edible Aloe vera barbadensis Miller behind it.

How to Grow Aloe Vera

Aloe vera grows in full sun to part shade, is very drought tolerant, and will tolerate cold, it’s hardy to -2°C (28°F). It grows naturally in hot, humid climates with high rainfall, in well drained soils with high organic matter. It does best with an annual rainfall of 500mm or more.

Even though Aloe vera will grow in most soil types, it doesn’t like ‘wet feet’, where the soil stays wet and soggy for long periods, especially during colder weather. Dig in compost before planting to help with drainage in clay and other water-retentive soils.

In locations which are too shady, Aloe vera plants becomes weak and vulnerable to disease, so it’s best to ensure they get sufficient light when grown outdoors.

When growing Aloe vera in a pot or container, it’s important to use a very well draining potting mix such as ‘cactus and succulent mix’, and most gardeners use terracotta pots to grow them in because they drain much better. Water frequently in hot, dry extreme weather as Aloe vera plants growing in pots can get quite burnt and wilted if they are in a harsh, exposed open position and their water supply runs short.

Growing Aloe Vera Indoors

Aloe vera is often grown indoors in the kitchen or bathroom, where it can be readily used for small emergencies such as minor burns and skin irritations. It will grow well near a bright window which receives midday and afternoon sun. Let the pot dry out before rewatering, and ensure that the pot doesn’t sit submerged in a saucer of water. Avoid placing plants too close to the glass as there isn’t much air circulation and a lot of localised heat build up when a strong sun shines through. The non-edible Aloe vera var. chinensis is a much better plant for growing indoors on a kitchen bench, as it’s a much smaller plant and can be kept quite compact.

With both Aloe vera varieties, harvest the older outer leaves when required. If you need to create more plants, give the plants time to grow and they’ll multiply prolifically, whether in a pot or in the ground. Gently pull up the offshoots or pups growing around the parent plant and repot them, that’s all there is to it! Propagating Aloe vera is very easy and enjoyable, and a great way to create an endless amount of plants!

You might also like these other articles on Aloe vera plants:

91 thoughts on “Identifying and Growing Edible Aloe Vera

  1. Excellent comparison of varieties. Thank you for sharing with us!

    Living here in Florida, we see both, and I think I have both varieties in the yard (haven’t tried to eat them LOL!) But use them for sunburn from time to time. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks! They both work great for sunburn, you get quite a large amount of aloe vera gel from the huge thick leaves of the edible variety!

      1. Dear Sir there is Aloe vera with yellow flowers … but barbadensis from Barbados dont exist… just mislabeled. the var sinensis is just a clone of aloe masswanensis from east Africa and is not aloe vera at all…. by the way Miller is botanist and not a variety so there is not var miller… thank you for your attention.

      2. Thanks for your comment. In this article I explain the differences between the edible and non-edible varieties of Aloe vera so that people don’t accidentally eat the wrong one, and I do point out the confusion around the names. The names I use are what people know them as, and I use those names for practical purposes rather than academic ones.

        As a working horticulturist, I’m all too familiar how we have to deal with confusion around the botanical names of plants. Botanists every now and then discover some minor genetic differences between plants and decide to reclassify a plant to a different genus or species, sometimes even to a whole different family. We have to deal with the real-world confusion when people ask for plants by botanical name, sometimes using the former names rather than the current ones.

        Please realize that plant botanical names are essentially human abstractions and nature doesn’t fit into neat categories that the human mind prefers for convenience. Don’t forget that Aloes hybridise readily, just like many other plants, which throws human conventions of reductionist categorisation into disarray, as genetic diversification through reproduction is an essential survival strategy of many plants. Also, in taxonomy there is no total universal consensus or agreement about how we classify living organisms, and depending on which sources you consult, there will be different opinions. When reviewing government science publications for my article Australian Native and Exotic Fire Resistant Trees and Plants for Fireproof Landscapes, I found that the taxonomical classifications for certain native trees varied from one state government to another within the same country, depending on which convention they chose to use!

        The reason why traditional societies use only common names for plants is to have sense of shared meaning that they all agreed to, and that’s it. Botanical names try to do much more, they attempt to explain where the plant fits in on the taxonomical tree and how it is related to other plants, which most people couldn’t care less about, except for botanists and horticulturists. For all intent and purpose, when we use the term “edible Aloe vera”, we use it as a common name so we know which one to eat! The botanical names I have supplied are the ones that production and retail nurseries sell them as, so people can know what to ask for when they go out and buy them. They do sell them as Aloe barbadensis var. miller, and if you do an internet search for plant sales, you’ll see that’s the case. Names also differ between nations with different languages, and I’m sure that in North Africa they have their own name for the edible variety of this plants, as they would in the SW Arabian Peninsula, and in China if you ask for the traditional Chinese medicine plant l hu you would get the right one.

        If names were sufficient, then I would not have needed to write such a long article with so many pictures to help people identify the plant! 🙂

      3. Hello Angelo,
        thank you for your time to post this article, it is very helpful and easy to understand. It is been a long time I am looking for edible variety seeds, can’t find any online store to buy. Can you please suggest me reliable online stores to buy, or send me some seeds please? thank you, will be waiting for your reply.

      4. It’s great to hear you liked this article, you’re welcome! 🙂
        I live in a temperate climate and Aloe vera does not produce seeds here because it is not warm enough. I don’t know of any reliable online seed stores that sell Aloe vera Barbaradenis seeds, but if any readers here can recommend any, that would be really helpful.

      5. Bugger, I’ve been eating the Aloe Vera I grow on my balcony here in Sydney for the last couple of years, this is the first year it got a flower stalk, and the flowers are orange, had a few issues with Nausea sometimes a few hours after eating, but apart from that no known issues, it does taste bitter, but I like the bitter taste, very similar bitter taste of raw rhubarb, I’ll have to get the officially edible species of Aloe Vera, and compare the tastes.

  2. Thanks for this article. It’s quite thought-provoking to me as a dog owner and a sometimes dog-blogger. There’s often discussion about the use of aloe vera for treating dog skin problems, because it’s almost inevitable that the dog will lick the sore spot and ingest the aloe vera gel. I’ll be looking more closely now at my own plant, as I use it often on my own dog. As far as I can remember, there’s some issue also about whether the dog owner used the thick gel on the dog’s skin, or the thinner more liquid part that lies directly under the leaf covering. (I can’t quite remember the details of that discussion.)

  3. These Aloe vera can be SO confusing! I see them in stores labeled as Aloe vera, but they are various species, including Aloe arborescens, and even Bulbine caulescens!

    1. So true, common names of plants are used so loosely they create lots of unnecessary confusion, something you’d appreciate as a fellow horticulturist.

      1. It is getting so much worse with the disregard of proper nomenclature, and all these new introductions that lace species names.

    2. aloe arborescens is the king of medicinal aloe when it comes to cancer treatment. It is the species from the popular recipe of Father Romano Zago

      1. I’m also growing Aloe arborescens, which is also known as candelabra aloe. There has been lots of interest around its theraputic benefits, I’ll have to write an article about this plant and how to identify it!

      2. ?! I was not aware of that! It is one of the more common types here, and is quite common on the coast a few miles away. It happens to be one of my favorites, and I do not mind using it as Aloe vera.

      3. Just be aware that Candelabra aloe is a different species, and while the gel can be used for various skin conditions, it contains additional active compounds which serve other therapeutic purposes. I’ll write an article on this soon!

      4. Oh, I am aware of that. However, I am not certain if I have ever seen a real Aloe vera. I have seen many that are labeled as such, but they are all something else.

      5. Totally agree with you on that Tony. i will soon post up pictures of teh Aloe vera flowers of the two varieties to make identification a bit easier for people! Thanks.

      6. That will be interesting, because I really have no idea what it looks like or if I had ever seen it before. It would be totally funny if the Aloe vera that is outside is the real thing!

  4. Thank you so much, is the Aloe vera var. chinensis actually toxic or poisonous when you say non-edible, what would be the symptoms of eating it, and what colour are the flowers.

    1. Flower colours described in the article, the non-edible variety is not considered toxic but it’s a strong laxative and was historically used for that purpose! I’ve avoided describing medicinal uses and alleged toxicity of various compounds in Aloe vera plants other than in a historical context as I’m not providing health advice.

      1. Thank you, i think i have both varieties, when i cut one and placed in water it turns dark red then turns a dark purple almost do you know if this is Aloe vera barbadensis it looks the same yet hasn’t flowered yet for me to confirm, the other variety stays clear once the aloenin has all come out in water.

  5. I took young plant from aloe vera that doesn’t have spots, but it has spots even when matured. The flowers are pink in colour. I assume this is not edible?

    1. If the Aloe leaves have spots or streaks when they are mature then the plant is not the edible one. There are lots of other Aloes which are not Aloe veras.

  6. Thanks so much for this post, that really helps to explain a couple of things. Are both aloe vera varieties equally ok and good for using on the skin? I’ve tried to find info regarding the use of other aloe species, but so far to no avail. Have you come across any books or studies about the family more generally?

    1. Both varieties of Aloe vera are excellent for using on your skin, they work really well! Most other Aloe species don’t have any uses other than as garden ornamental plants, the only other useful Aloe is the Candelabra Aloe (Aloe arborescens), which has anti-cancer properties.

  7. Good info! But the aloe that grows in my front yard in Arizona is green with a slight pink color. I have used it on sunburns but want to use it for heart burn. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Colleen, the very large growing Aloes, Bitter Aloe (Aloe ferox) and Candelabra Aloe (Aloe arborescens) can be used medicinally as an ointment, with the gel applied to the skin for burns and skin other irritations, much like regular (non-edible) Aloe vera. They are definitely not edible in the regular sense, I believe that they’ve been used traditionally as laxatives but contain harmful potentially compounds that can affect health detrimentally with continued use – don’t eat them!

  8. I was SO happy to find your article amongst the plethora of Google options! Thank you for clear photo comparisons and cutting the confusion. I live in israel and there are SO many similar plants. Inherited a place with lovely aloe barbadensis.
    Though I’ve eaten it for a while, can you recommend a reliable link for preparation?
    (I do want to be wise though I’m very adventurous:)

    1. Hi Cindy, you’re welcome! I’m not sure how to prepare edible Aloe vera, I just grow them!

  9. Very useful info especially appeciate the photos that shows the diffeence between the edible and non edible variety. Wish I had read this article before purchasing my first aloe vera, I hadn’t known there was a difference! Also never knew they could flower till mine did. I’m on the hunt for the edible variety now and know what to look for thanks to you. Plants sold here in Borneo are usually never labelled.

  10. Thank you very much for such a detailed comparison of the 2 varieties. Ive been searching for such comparison endlessly and gave up hope when I stumbled upon your article.
    Very well written and described. You have cleared all my doubts about the different names given to the same species which created all the confusion the more I read about it on the other sides.
    Thank you so much.

  11. Have you got photos of the edible Aloe vera flower . I have a photo of mine, it is kind of orange /pink with green tips… Can I send you the photo. A part from that, the leaves look like yours and make nice little jelly like cubes after being stripped and washed. I would just like confirmation that I am not poisoning my family!!!

    1. Hi Vronique, my plants have produced flower buds and I’m waiting for them to open. As soon as they do, I’ll post it up the pictures.

  12. Aloe plants are no different than any other commercially grown plant unless its certified organic bought from the farm itself. Fungicides and insectacides are not in your best interests and levels could shock you. Many edible plants have toxic qualities such as cherry pits/apple seeds and rice. Slight usage on a dogs skin could irritate the spot like any mammal not updated for geographical orgin of what they might be exposed to. Same with you and honey of unknown origin. A slight lick will update old codes just like you getting allergy shots or eating honey locally processed. But you must know and trust plants orgin and authenticity. Most people buy dog food loaded with synthetic toxins and dogs today are in great distress the average owner or breeder/trainer handler isnt schooled in. My best friends family has a very large up to date animal hospital with 100 plus staff. The dog or pet food subject is industrial physics on a few levels human hospitals call a specialist for. I dabble more than most, odd but a hobby near 40yrs now. A holistic healer naturalist of sorts. I am up on modern day issues pets people and what to do cheaply.

    1. Thanks James, the benefit of growing your own food and herbs is that you get to decide what goes into the soil and onto the plants, and any sensible person would not want to put anything harmful to their health onto something they would want to eat or use on their bodies! Grow your own, grow organic, keep the planet and the people healthy! ?

  13. Thank you so much for this information. I now understand clearly which variety is edible. I do have a question. Is the edible variety useful for cuts, burns and minor skin irritations also? The reason that I am asking is because my apartment is so big!

    Thank you

    1. Hi Micheline, yes, the edible variety of Aloe vera is also excellent for cuts, burns and skin irritation.

  14. Can you please tell me the name of aloe Vera that I can eat and where to buy it and can I put the aloe Vera in a blender thank you so much I m I right in saying the plant is good for skin ??????

    1. Hi Valerie, that’s what the whole article was about! 🙂
      Aloe vera barbadensis miller variety is the name used for the edible variety of Aloe vera, and it’s excellent for use on your skin too.
      I’ve included pictures in this article to help with its identification.

  15. Great information, thank you so much! I am wondering about the fruits of Aloe’s…do they have a fruit ?! What does it look like?
    Thanks again for a very helpful article!

    1. Hi Emma, if the flowers of Aloe plants are pollinated, they produce seed pods which eventually dry out and release the seeds.

      Pollination is carried out by long-beaked nectar-feeding birds, such as sunbirds in Africa, and hummingbirds in other parts of the world.

      Aloe plants can’t be self-pollinated because the flowers are protandrous (which means ‘first-male’), as the male parts of the flower, the anthers, ripen first and release pollen before the female part of the flower, the stigma is receptive to be fertilised by the pollen. Multiple plants are required for pollination, and if different varieties of Aloes are grown nearby, they will be cross-pollinated, and the seeds produced by the plants will be hybridised.

  16. Angelo!!! You legend! this article was illuminating! I grew chinensis for years thinking that was the real mackoy, luckily at that time, eating and drinking aloe wasn’t common. Then a few years back my friend sold me an aloe vera and said this is the “real” Aloe vera! LOL!!! and instinctively I used it to drink (by that stage aloe concentrates (loaded with sugar) had come out). Now I’m writing an article on Aloe vera, and your info has just made my article that bit more factual… I have mentioned and thanked you in it. Do you think I can use your photo showing the difference between the two? I would take my own pics but my aloe went mushy and died (too humid or maybe ants) I do have a chinensis as well but yours looks much healthier. Let me know if it’s okay thank you soooo much. I’m totally sharing your site on facebook. and adding you to my favourites bar!

    Thanks love kim berrie

    1. Thanks Kim, you’re welcome! 🙂
      As you have asked for permission to use the photo showing the difference between the plants, you have my permission to, as long as you include appropriate credits and a mention that it’s being used with permission, something along the lines of “photo credits – Deep Green Permaculture, used with permission”.
      Anyone else reading this, please be aware that all images on this site are copyrighted, so you need to ask permission first, and I have to agree before using any images from Deep Green Permaculture!

  17. I have both Aloe Vera varieties and I consume them both. The chinensis variety you featured above looks that way because it is most probably placed indoor, as it is a little sensitive to sunlight compared with the barbadensis variety. But if you place it outdoor and let it adapt to the sunlight for a time, it will grow bigger and have thicker leaves like that of the barbadensis and that white spots will be totally gone.

    Also, Aloe Vera isn’t the only edible species of Aloes – many are. One that is getting more popular and is widely cultivated is the Aloe Arborescens. It is studied that Aloe Arborescens features a concentration of active ingredients three times higher than that of Aloe Vera and so also a higher therapeutic activity.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I should have mentioned that I have two pots of each variety, and they are all growing outside against a west facing brick wall, where they get full midday and afternoon sun.The two varieties really do look quite different!

      I do have an article on Aloe arborescens and its medicinal benefits, and it also contains a section with the tile Which Aloe Varieties are Edible? which lists five varieties of edible Aloe, please check out these articles. 🙂

  18. Dear Angelo,
    I read read your article on the difference of edible and non edible with much interest. However, I beg to disagree with you the the Chinensis variety is not edible. What happened if you eat the Chinensis variety? I had both the varieties planted and found that the Aloe vera barbadensis var. miller give an odor while the Chinensis Var ( though smaller) is more pleasant in taste and smell. Of course both are bitter. I have planted almost a hundred plants of the Chinensis var. and have been eating them for past forty years. I am now 78. How do you explain that? I eat them when I have upset stomach, flu, cough etc and found them to be very effective cures. I cannot be mistaken as the plant has white spots and orange flowers.

    Philip Loh – Malaysia.

    1. Hi Philip , thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience, you inspired me to do some searching through research literature to try answer your question.

      I aim to take a scientific approach to my work, as my background is in pharmacology, toxicology and biochemistry. My assumption was that the non-edible Aloe species would contain chemical compounds that would make them inedible, and if I would be able to tell you that the reason other Aloe species can’t be eaten is because they contain this or that specific compound. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any such research, it all appears to about the edible varieties, or the bitten resin which is extracted from several edible and non-edible Aloe species for use as a laxative.

      If I had to make an educated guess, I suspect the reason there isn’t much scientific literature on the chemistry of the non-edible Aloes is because this genus of plants contains so many active compounds, and they are being studied over time to determine their properties. The book by Rafael Minjares-Fuentes, Antoni Femenia, “Nonvitamin and Nonmineral Nutritional Supplements”, from 2019, citing previous research states that “Aloe vera gel consists of about 98.5%99.5% water with the remaining solids containing more than 200 different components, polysaccharides being the most abundant compounds (Femenia et al., 1999). Other interesting chemical compounds such as soluble sugars, glycoproteins, phenolic anthraquinones, flavonoids, flavonols, enzymes, minerals, essential, and nonessential amino acids, sterols, saponins, and vitamins, have also been identified (Eshun and He, 2004; Rodrguez et al., 2010).” Some of the active compounds would vary between different types of Aloes, and that was the information I was looking for.

      The Aloes that are deemed edible are probably the ones that people have traditionally eaten, as the use of Aloe predates any scientific research by thousands of years. I don’t doubt your experience, I just wish I had a more definitive answer. I am curious though of how you prepare and use Aloe vera chinensis, how much you use and how often, but only if you wish to share that information. Really appreciate your excellent question!

      1. Usually the leaf is about 3″ broad. I will cut about 3″ of it and eat it raw. for upset stomach I will take twice in two days. For herpes 9which appear once in 9 months to a year) I will take the amount raw for two to three days and it will subside within two to three days, It must be note here that you have the take the aloe vera the moment you feel the severe itch. occasionally when i have a viral attach where my whole body aches and and feel lethargic. The same dose for two days will bring immediate cure.

        PS. How do I post a picture of the Aloe vera Chinensis?

        [I just added your image below, thanks!]

        Aloe vera

      2. Hi Phil, thanks for that information. My comments section doesn’t allow others to post a picture, but if you email it to me (from menu on webpage – Home-> Contact Us) and I will add it to your comment.

  19. Admin where can I buy the seeds for

    Aloe vera
    Aloe barbadensis
    Aloe vera var. barbadensis

    Not the
    Aloe vera var. chinensis

    1. Sorry, I don’t know where you would buy seeds from. In temperate climates where I am Aloes don’t produce seed, we propagate plants by division, and buy young plants for growing.
      See if you can find a reputable seed supplier online, and avoid seed sellers on e-bay as there are many questionable sellers on there claiming to supply seeds of many plants that are in demand, hard to get or extremely rare, but send nonviable seeds or any random seeds, so be careful.

  20. Thank you so much for this information! I live in Ireland and bought an aloe plant 3 years ago which has now multiplied to 6 hefty plants. Having read your detailed article, Im delighted to discover that my aloe plants are of the edible kind! I will be adding some aloe to my morning smoothie! Thank you ??

  21. So interesting, thanks for this!

    Ours (we have dozens of them) might be a bit of mystery because it fits your description (rosettes, thick leaves that arent spotted when mature) of Miller, except that they have orange flowers!

    1. Aloes can cross-breed in warmer climates where they form seeds, and do produce hybrids. There are also around 580 Aloe species, most look quite different from Aloe vera, but there are many out there!

  22. Usually I’d reserve my comments either because I have nothing worth saying positively or I’m more confused after going through an article.

    But not this time, as the saying goes, ‘credit should be given when credit is due’. For just a lay person like me who wants to know more about the Aloe Vera plant, your article has been exceedingly knowledgeable and explicit especially with images for necessary illustration. You’ve provided a straightforward, no-nonsense approach. Furthermore, it’s unquestionably important, in my opinion, that writers are responsible for whatever they post online, and here you have proven so with your answers to questions and sometimes funny comments from your readers, not to mention your attention to research pertaining to your specialty.

    I’m happy I found your article and website, and thank you so much for your kind share.

    Greetings from Malaysia.

  23. This is all too confusing to me. Never knew there was but one plant. But maybe I can learn as I go.
    Someone bought me 2 plants. So gonna try to raise them.

    1. Thanks Norma, there is indeed more than one variety of Aloe vera plant, and this article was written to help gardeners tell them apart.

  24. Well presented. Although I have both the edibrl and the non /E. I can now distinguish between the both of them. Good Job,,!

  25. Please answer where I get this Aloevera which gives yellow flower. Can someone please guide or send me if they have. I am okay to pay for it. I tried everywhere online and offline but couldnt get it. Does aloevera in India give orange flowers because I see orange flower everywhere around me

  26. Yesterday I had a very strong pain (not the first time and it is not psychosomatic!) in my upper arm. Pealed a small 1×1 inch edible aloe vera at one side and massage my arm with its exposed part on my skin.

  27. After that supported the rest of it on my arm. In 5 minutes the pain was gone and I canceled the visite to orthoped

  28. I have both Aloe vera and Aloe barbadensis and both have been grow well bare rooted in a tub full of water. The lady that gave them to me over a year ago had them for years growing in water and that is how she received them. Will they suffer if I plant them in the garden?

    1. Hi Belinda, if you move them outside to the garden, you’ll need to gradually acclimatise them by exposing them to outside conditions gradually if there’s a big difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures and humidity levels. Try moving them into pots on a protected balcony are or something similar, leave them there for a week or two, then to the east side of the house perhaps where they will get mainly morning sun and then move them out to a more exposed garden position. The process of moving plants gradually from protected indoor or greenhouse conditions to fully exposed outdoor conditions gradually is known as ‘hardening off’.

  29. Thank you for this article. I live in Colorado where we have very hot and dry summers and cold snowy winters. I want to grow some Aloe Vera Barbadensis. I have 2 plants one I brought up here from my Florida garden and I think it is the Barbadensis, but it hasn’t flowered yet. The other is the skinnier leaf. My question is can I grow this indoors to the large size leaf that I see in the stores for sale for eating? Do I need a really large shallow pot?

    1. Hi Laura, Aloe vera will grow fine in a pot that’s around 25cm (10″) wide, and even a standard plastic pot will do. In winter, place the pots indoors close to a bright, sunny window that gets midday and afternoon sun. Make sure they’re not too close to the glass as it can get very hot during the day and cold during the night. Keeping the plants around 30cm (12″) from the windowpane. They just grow a bit slower indoors, I gave one plant to a friend in a plastic pot, and even though it’s kept indoors all the time, the plant grown to produce quite large leaves.

      1. Thank you for answering my question. I have one more. My plants are at the top of the soil and are spreading out like a rosette, but most of the pictures that I see online show them growing upward. Should they be planted deeper?

      2. You’re welcome! Don’t worry about the growth shape of the Aloe vera plants, you don’t need to do anything. The non-edible Aloe vera chinensis tends to grow flat and as such is more upright, but as the pot fills out the leaves will lean over sideways a bit on their own. The edible Aloe vera barbadensis has very thick, heavy leaves which will begin fairly upright but then spread out slowly into a very definite rosette shape under their own weight.

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