Easy Ways to Grow and Care for Aloe Vera Plants
- What Is Aloe Vera and What Are Its Benefits?
- Is Aloe Vera Plant Safe?
- How Fast Does Aloe Vera Grow?
- How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant Indoors?
- How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant Outdoor?
- How Often You Should Water Aloe Vera Plant?
- How Much Sunlight Does an Aloe Vera Plant Need?
- Common Pests and Diseases
- Propagating Aloe Vera
- Harvesting Aloe Vera
Mainly used for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, aloe vera has been renowned since ancient times. It is believed that Cleopatra had used aloe vera gel in her beauty regime. Native to the Arabian peninsula, the plant now grows all over the world. This sturdy succulent can be easily cared for and stores water in its leaves without too much fussing. It is found in different varieties with interesting textures. The plant is also an excellent addition to your collection of plants as it looks pleasing to the eye.
Aloe vera watering is easy, and one can easily make the mistake of overwatering. The soil and roots need to dry out completely before watering them again. One needs to stick their finger in to see if there is any moisture left before watering it. However, the plant needs watering once every two or three weeks. If you notice leaves browning, turning inwards, and looking limp, then it probably needs a drink. It is an indoor plant and does not need to be sustained by direct sunlight. While it needs to be placed in a bright spot, ensure that the sun’s rays do not hit it directly.
What Is Aloe Vera and What Are Its Benefits?
Aloe Vera resembles a cactus but is not a member of the cacti family. Derived from the Arabic word “alloeh,” it means “shining bitter substance,” and the Latin word “vera,” which means “true.”
The plant has long, thick leaves with very short stems. Consisting of 99% water and various enzymes, lipids, and vitamins, it makes for a medicinal plant used for various purposes. The aloe vera plant can decorate the kitchen sill with subtle grace and serve as a first-aid kit.
One of the most widely used benefits of aloe vera is its ability to soothe sunburnt skin and treat cold sores. The plant is a key ingredient in many creams for cosmetic purposes. It is also known to purify the air around it.
Nowadays, aloe vera is also used as a supplement in health drinks and other supplements. It is also said to aid digestive health and promote oral health. Aloe vera toothpaste is excellent for oral hygiene, while aloe vera gel can clear acne problems.
Is Aloe Vera Plant Safe?
It is safe to use aloe vera for most individuals for minor skin irritation ailments. It is generally well-tolerated and not advisable to use on severe cuts and burns. It is important to note how one’s body reacts to it. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are advised to refrain from consuming aloe vera.
How Fast Does Aloe Vera Grow?
In a sunny garden, aloe vera can grow much faster than when grown indoors as a houseplant. If you want your aloe vera in the pot to grow faster, leave it outside in the summer. Do make sure the pot has holes to drain the water.
How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant Indoors?
If you live in a cold or tropical climate, it is advisable to grow your aloe vera plant indoors. For growing the plant indoors:
- Place the plant on a window facing the south where it gets the sun.
- Aloe vera will go dormant during the winter months and will not require as much care as Spring and Summer.
- Although an indoor plant, aloe vera could benefit from being placed outside during the hot and sunny weather.
- Make sure to bring it in before the frost appears.
How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant Outdoor?
Perennial succulents, aloe vera plants can be grown indoors and outdoors. If you live in a place with an arid climate, you can plant them outdoors. For growing the plant outdoors:
- Soil for aloe plants must be well-draining and not retain a lot of water.
- If you keep the plant indoors during the winter, be careful not to expose it to harsh sunlight immediately.
- Acclimatize it to the sun slowly and gradually so that the leaves do not get sunburnt.
- A pot made from terra-cotta or porous material is recommended as it drains water completely.
- The container must be wide and deep. Opt for a well-draining potting mix suitable for cacti and succulents.
- If your plant has gotten too long or large, then repotting aloe vera is recommended.
To learn how to repot the plant, follow the below steps:
- Prepare the pot by giving it a quick rinse and letting it dry completely. Place a piece of screen over the drainage hole to prevent the soil from falling out and drain the water properly. A paper towel or newspaper could work but could break apart over time.
- Prepare your plant by removing it from the current pot and remove any excess dirt from the roots. Be cautious and not damage the roots. Remove any pups from the plant.
- Trim the stems if they are too long. Cut off a part of the stem and place it in a warm area with no direct light. Once the callus forms over the wound, it is an indication that it is ready to be repotted.
- Fill the pot with a potting mix that drains well and place the plant in the soil. Fill the soil around the plant and leave about ¾ inches of space between the top and the rim of the pot. The leaves at the bottom must rest just above the soil. Do not water after planting for about a week. This will reduce the chance of decay and let it shoot new roots.
- Leave the plant in a place where it gets bright and indirect light.
How Often You Should Water Aloe Vera Plant?
Watering an aloe vera plant is an essential aspect. The succulent needs sufficient water to keep its thick leaves healthy. A few techniques that will help are:
- Water it thoroughly but not frequently. The soil must feel moist after watering and must be let to dry completely before watering again.
- Let the top one-third portion of the soil dry out before watering again.
- Water the plant every 2-3 weeks in the Spring and Summer and double the water in the Fall and Winter. For example, if you water every two weeks in Summers, water every week in Winters.
- When you water, excess water runs out the bottom of the pot and lets the plant sit in this water until the soil absorbs as much as needed. Drain the excess after 10-15 minutes.
How Much Sunlight Does an Aloe Vera Plant Need?
The second most important thing for the aloe vera plant after water is adequate lighting. They grow best when there is a lot of light but not too harsh. Without sufficient lighting, the plant could become too tall and leggy. This could be a challenge when growing indoors.
Thus, a south-facing window sill is an ideal spot for an aloe vera plant left indoors. If there is not enough sunlight, then a grow light could help. Outdoors, the aloe vera plant enjoys full sunlight. However, a location with some shade could help in places with extremely hot climates.
Caring Tips for Aloe Vera Plant
Super easy to grow, the aloe vera plant does not need a lot of attention. These simple instructions could help for best results:
1. Ensure ample light
Place the plant in bright, indirect, or artificial light. A south or west-facing window is the best place.
2. Maintain optimal temperatures
A temperature of 55 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for the plant. The aloe vera plant could be left outdoors between May and September. The plant must be bought indoors when it gets cold during the night or in Winters.
3. Use supplements accordingly
Fertilize the plant sparingly with a well-draining potting mix in the Spring and Summer.
4. Repot to control growth
Repot the plant when it grows too much.
Common Pests and Diseases
Aloe vera plants are susceptible to the most common plant pests that infest indoor plants. Mealybugs and scale are the most common ones. A few common diseases are:
- Root rot
- Leaf rot
- Soft rot
- Fungal stem rot
Adequate lighting, well-drained soil, and good watering habits could help in reducing the attack of pests and diseases.
Propagating Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can be grown from seed, but the process could be long and tricky. Maybe you want to grow the Aloe in a new pot or want to gift it to someone and are wondering – “how to replant aloe?” The easiest and simplest way would be to remove and repot offshoots from established plants. Propagation becomes easy as it spreads by growing offshoots, often called “pups.” These give a whole new plant when they are cut and planted separately.
Harvesting Aloe Vera
The aloe vera plant does not require regular harvesting – you can simply cut the leaves as and when you need fresh aloe vera.
- To make use of the properties, cut a mature leaf from the plant lengthwise.
- Squeeze the gel and apply to the affected area.
- You could also leave the open side of the leaf with the gel and place it on the affected area.
- Avoid consuming the gel as it may cause unpleasant symptoms.
Growing and caring for an aloe vera plant is not that difficult. It involves minimal effort and just a few essential steps of caring to grow successfully. It is a wonderful succulent that grows well indoors and outdoors. It is a plant that can be grown for its medicinal properties and its beauty.