Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac
How to Care for Aloe Vera Plants
The aloe vera plant is an easy, attractive succulent that makes for a great indoor companion. Aloe vera plants are useful, too, as the juice from their leaves can be used to relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Here’s how to grow and care for aloe vera plants in your home!
Aloe vera plants have thick, variegated leaves that fan out from the plant’s central stem. Keep the aloe vera plant in a pot near a kitchen window for everyday use.
Please note: Aloe vera leaves should not be ingested by humans or pets. They can cause unpleasant symptoms and may be toxic in larger quantities.
Plant aloe vera in wide containers with a well-draining potting mix, such as those made for cacti and succulents. Aloe vera plants are hardy, but a lack of proper drainage can cause rot and wilting, which is easily the most common cause of a death for the plant.
Place in bright, indirect sunlight or artificial light.
Aloe vera do best in temperatures between 55 and 80°F (13–27°C).
Water aloe vera plants deeply, but in order to discourage rot, allow the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings.
Water about every 3 weeks and even more sparingly during the winter. Use your finger to test dryness before watering. If the potting mix stays wet, the plants’ roots can begin to rot.
Fertilize sparingly (no more than once a month), and only in the spring and summer with a balanced houseplant formula mixed at ½ strength.
Repot when root bound, using a well-drained potting mix designed for cacti and succulents.
Aloe vera plants produce offsets—also known as plantlets, “pups,” or “babies”—that can be removed to produce an entirely new plant. Find where the offsets are attached to the mother plant and sever them with a knife. Allow the cuts on the offsets and the mother plant to callus over for a day or two, then pot them in a standard succulent potting mix. Put in a sunny location. Wait a week to water and keep the soil on the dry side.
Aloe vera plants are susceptible to common garden pests, such as mealybugs and scale.
Common diseases include:
Fungal stem rot
Avoid overwatering to keep these conditions from developing.
Aloe Vera Gel
To make use of the aloe vera plant’s soothing properties, remove a mature leaf from the plant and cut it lengthwise. Squeeze the gel out of the leaf and apply it to your burn, or simply lay the opened leaf gel-side–down on top of the affected area. Learn more about aloe vera’s healing properties.
Especially attractive Aloe varieties include:
Tiger or Partridge Breasted Aloe (Aloe variegata)
Lace Aloe (A. aristata).
Wit & Wisdom
Aloe vera will decorate a kitchen shelf with quiet grace while doing double duty as a self-regenerating first-aid kit. Read more about the natural health benefits of aloe vera.
One of aloe’s most famous uses is to soothe sunburnt skin, and it can be also used for cold sores.