Aloe Vera Care
A Beginner's Guide to Aloe Care
Common Name: Aloe, True Aloe, First Aid Plant
Botanical Name: Aloe
Aloe vera are some of the best indoor plants for beginners because they require very little care. Oftentimes, the hardest part about caring for an Aloe vera plant is making sure to leave it alone. This plant is commonly known as an effective home remedy for minor burns, but Aloe vera has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes dating back to the Egyptians.
In nature, this succulent thrives in arid environments, although it can be found in tropical and semi-tropical areas. The upright spike-like leaves of the Aloe plant grow in a rosette formation and provide a stark architectural look when plant styling.
These plants like lots of bright indirect light, so they do best on a sunny shelf or near a window. While Aloe plants definitely like the bright light they can receive from a south- or west-facing window, make sure they are not so close that they receive any direct light as this can cause burns.
Aloe plants certainly need water, but they prefer to wait between waterings and they don’t mind if you’re sometimes a few days late with water. Let the soil completely dry out before you water your Aloe vera plant. Lots of factors, like light and humidity determine how often an Aloe vera plant will need water, but it is normal for this plant to go a couple of weeks between waterings.
When you do give water your Aloe plant, make sure it receives a nice long drink. If your plant is in a pot with drainage then water your Aloe until water runs straight through. Make sure not to leave standing water in a cache pot or tray. Keep in mind that your Aloe vera may need less water during the colder months.
Since it hails from warmer climates, the Aloe vera prefers warmer temperatures. Generally, temperatures between 55-80-degrees F, or comfortable room temperature is ideal. Aloe are cold sensitive, making them better suited as houseplants and not ideal for placement outdoors in most areas. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause significant damage, so Aloe plants placed outside in the warmer months will need to be brought inside before chilly weather rolls in.
Dry environments are ideal for Aloe to thrive and no extra humidity is needed. Try to place Aloe plants in areas with low humidity and avoid placing them in kitchens or bathrooms which can have more dampness in the air.
Aloe vera are low maintenance plants in all regards and that includes fertilizing. Give your Aloe a boost of nutrition in the spring with a diluted complete liquid fertilizer and it should be good for the year.
- Aloe vera plants can be propagated by cuttings or through division. If propagating cuttings, let the cut ends callous over before placing the cut end in soil. An Aloe plant is ready for division when you see small plants, or pups, growing alongside the mother plant.
- Given the right conditions, mature Aloe vera plants can bloom. The plants send up tall, thin stalks with clusters of tubular flowers known as an inflorescence. Aloe plants need lots of bright indirect sunlight to bloom.
- While the gel found in the leaves of Aloe vera is safe to use on burns and cuts and it is even used in some recipes for consumption, there is a thin layer known as latex that separates the gel from the exterior part of the plant. The latex layer can be harmful and potentially fatal if ingested.