Aloe is a large family of perennial, succulent, flowering plants that have characteristically fleshy leaves edged with spikes and arranged in rosettes. Many are native to Africa; some are tree or shrub-like and other species have climbing habits. Succulents are a good water-wise choice. The leaves are fleshy, water-holding and when cut, release a gel containing over 75 active constituents, including multiple vitamins! Aloes are also popular houseplants - particularly in cooler zones - due to their ease of care, attractive leaves and bright flowers. They have warm orange, red or yellow blooms in winter that are bell-shaped to tubular in appearance and form clusters atop simple, leafless stems. These flowers are nectar-rich and can provide food to many insects and birds, inviting welcome visitors to your garden and adding diversity in warm climes. Aloes differ in their temperature requirments, some doing better in full, direct sunshine while others prefer bright, indirect light. Aloes need to be planted in well-draining soil and watered only when the soil has thoroughly dried out, for best results. The famous Aloe vera species also have many medicinal and cosmetic applications.