Aloe vera is commonly grown as a houseplant and gained favor because the gel from its leaves makes a soothing skin salve (although some people are actually irritated by the gel).
There are over 300 species of Aloe vera, but the one most commonly grown as a houseplant is Aloe barbadensis miller. It has thick, succulent leaves that are plumped up with a watery gel. The leaves grow from the base of the plant, in a rosette, and have jagged edges with flexible spines. It's a fast-growing succulent, taking three to four years to reach a mature size.
The spiky flowers appear on tall stalks, in shades of yellow, red, or orange. Young plants don’t generally flower, and aloe grown as a houseplant can take years to produce a flower stalk.