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Aloe vera is an architecturally attractive succulent plant that is particularly associated with herbal remedies, as extracts are used in the treatment of skin complaints and burns. The fleshy leaves can be broken off and the gel within applied directly to bites, sunburn etc for relief from itching and to aid recovery.
The plant itself has no stem, or a very short stem with the thick leaves growing in a strap-like formation from the plant, and it can reach up to 100cm. The leaves are grey green or green in colour, and can have white flecks on the upper surface, with the edges of the leaves showing toothed/serrated edges. In the summer, the aloe vera will flower, sending up a long stem, upon which a yellow tubular flower corolla is seen.
To grow Aloe vera, it is important that they are kept warm, minimun temperature of 10'C is recommended and they should be kept dry, with watering restricted, especially in Winter. Aloe vera does not tolerate frost and should be brought indoors in the colder parts of the year. As they reproduce by producing offests (small plants from the original plant), these can be removed and potted on, ensuring a constant supply of leaves.