Aloe vera plants are popular succulents anyone can grow. Succulents are growing in popularity because they make amazing houseplants for the forgetful gardener.
Aloe vera is one of these plants that thrive on neglect and depending on the humidity in your home can even be flat-out neglected for a long time before it has issues.
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How to Care for an Aloe Vera Plant
The most important part of choosing a container for your aloe vera is to ensure that your plant has plenty of drainage in its pot. This helps to keep the soil dry enough to protect your aloe plant from being overwatered.
Choosing a terracotta or porous clay pot is a great way to ensure that your plants will dry out enough between waterings. When choosing a pot for your aloe vera look for a pot that is about as wide as it is deep.
If your aloe plant has a stem you want the container to be deep enough to bury the entire stem of the plant to help stabilize it and encourage root and pup growth.
Choose a well-draining potting mix designed to fit the needs of a succulent.
Avoid using average pouring soil or gardening soil that is too thick and heavy allowing it to hold more moisture. Look for a mix that contains perlite, lava rock, or even chunks of tree bark to break up the soil mix.
Aloe vera is content with indirect sunlight such as that going through a south-facing window. If not provided with enough light your aloe may become leggy.
Aloe is a succulent and as such prefers a warmer temperature. While it can grow well out on your covered porch in the summer it is best kept in your kitchen or bathroom with plenty of artificial light and humidity over the winter.
The humidity in the bathroom and kitchen is much higher than in other rooms in the home making it the perfect place to let your aloe rest over the winter and reduce the need for extra watering due to the heat being on.
Your aloe vera plant will do just fine without any fertilizers. If you wish to fertilize your aloe you can no more than once a month during the spring and summer when rapid growth is to be expected.
Watering your aloe is easy. Avoid watering your aloe until the soil you can feel has completely dried out. once every 2 to 3 weeks is sufficient.
If water drips out of your aloe plant let the pot sit in the tray with the water for 10-15 minutes allowing the soil mix inside to soak up some of the excesses before tossing the rest of the drainage into another plant.
How to Propagate and Care for an Aloe Vera Pup
The best way to propagate aloe vera is through caring for and transplanting the pups the mother plant produces.
Aloe vera plants produce pups when they are content and growing in the right environment. Often those growing in the smallest of containers are more likely to put off these small offshoots to produce more aloe plants.
While you do want to transplant your aloe vera to encourage your plant to grow larger you can leave it in smaller pots if your goal is to produce more aloe vera plants to add to your collection or even sell.
Carefully remove the pup from the mother plant. A great way to do this is to slightly un-bury the pup and use clean sheers to cut the pup away, keeping as much of the stem and any roots on the pup as possible. Some pups will easily split from the mother plant with a simple pull and twist.
If your pup does not have any roots allow it to sit out of the soil for a few days to form a callous to help protect the plant while it works on forming roots.
Place the pup in a pot with the same conditions as the mother plant and place it in a sunny location. After the soil has dried out water and continues to treat your new plant the same way you do the “mother plant,” after a few weeks it will be well established.
How to Prune and Harvest Aloe Vera
Pruning your aloe vera plant is a great way to help keep your plant healthy. You should regularly remove old stems and blooms after they die off.
When pruning your plant remove leaves and stems that show signs of discoloration or rotting such as brown spots and indentations.
When you need a piece of aloe you can gently cut away a leaf from the outer edges of the plant to use the gel inside for healing purposes. These older outer leaves will have the most healing gel.
When harvesting aloe vera, mind the 1/3 rule and never take more than a third of the plant to ensure its survival after harvest.
Aloe Vera: Quick Care Guide
|Common Name||Aloe Vera|
|Botanical Name||Aloe barbadensis|
|Time to Maturity||3-4 years|
|Light||Bright indirect light|
|Water||Once every 2 to 3 weeks when soil dry|
|Temperature||Prefers a warmer temperature|
|Soil||A loose, sandy, well-draining soil|
|Fertilizer||Fine without any fertilizers|
And for more information about how to grow succulents, check out these guides next: