Belonging to the Asphodelaceae family, Aloe is a genus of about 450 species of succulent plants. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and Arabia, Aloes are evergreen succulents with usually spiny leaves arranged in neat rosettes, and spectacular, candle-like inflorescences bearing clusters of brilliant yellow, orange or red, tubular flowers. They exist in a wide range of sizes, colors and offer an amazing array of leaf shapes. Some make incredible landscape specimens, creating year-round interest. Smaller varieties are ideal to add drama, texture and color to containers. Easy care, waterwise, they brighten up the dull winter landscape and are fascinating.
Easy to grow, Aloes generally require soils with good drainage and do best in warm climates. Very low maintenance once established, they are well-adapted to arid conditions. Their succulent leaves enable them to survive long periods of drought. However, Aloes thrive and flower better when given adequate water during their growing season.
Most Aloes are frost tender and cannot handle a hard freeze (several hours below 25ºF or -4ºC). The fluid within their succulent leaves would freeze and rot. However, there are some Aloes that are remarkably hardy and can handle temperatures as cold as 20 ºF to 25ºF (-6ºC to -4ºC).
Below is a list of Aloes considered the hardiest. However, keep in mind that to survive cold temperatures, most Aloes must be planted in an area with excellent drainage. Few Aloes, such as Aloe arborescens or Aloe brevifolia, can tolerate wet soils. Therefore, dry soils during the winter months are critically important.