Ultimate Beginners Guide for Growing Aloe Vera and Taking Care of It
Aloe Vera has been popular for thousands of years. It is easy to care for and offers a plethora of medicinal properties.
Today, you will learn everything you know about growing this incredible plant In your home.
The first thing you must know is that it has a quick leaf multiplication and how to take care of the plantlets known as ‘babies’ that can be removed to yield entirely new plants. This means that once your plant reaches maturity, you will be able to harvest aloe vera leaves continuously.
The aloe vera is excellent for wound healing and moisturizing the skin, which is why it is widely included in cosmetic products. But, it can also be consumed orally as it is considered to be a superfood.
Growing Your Own Aloe Vera
The most important thing is the soil and location of the plant. Whether you choose to grow it indoors or outdoors, it is important for the plant to receive plenty of sunshine. But, this is kind of tricky as too much direct sunlight can dry out the plant, whereas too little sunlight can impede its growth. Furthermore, don’t leave the plant outside during winter. That’s why you should choose a pot you can move when needed. If you keep it indoors, south or west-facing windows are ideal.
Now, about the soil; The plant requires dry soil, so choose cactus potting soil mix. When planting your aloe vera, make sure to position the plant so it is upright, and cover the base and roots with the soil. Also, give your aloe vera a bit of space because the mother plant will offset the “babies” from the outer base.
When it comes to the planter, go with a medium or large and make sure it has good drainage. The plant won’t grow if there’s standing water. When you water the plant, the soil should be damp, not soaking. Feel the plant leaves every few days, as long as they feel cool or moist, the plant has enough water. If the leaves feel dry or brittle, first examine the sunlight conditions, then adjust water as needed. Make sure the soil is completely dry before you water the aloe vera again. During cooler months, it will need less water.
Harvesting Leaves from Your Aloe Vera Plant
The harvest begins once the plant reaches full maturity. That’s when additional leaves or shoots have grown from the center of the plant.
Start by selecting mature leaves from the outermost section of the plant. Cut these from as close to the base as possible, but be careful not to disturb the roots. The plants or “babies” can easily be removed by carefully uprooting them, detaching from the parent, and re-planting on their own.
Additional Considerations for Your Aloe Plant
While caring for your aloe vera plant is not difficult, there are few things you must keep in mind:
- Aloe does not need fertilizer. If you want to, or think it needs a little extra food, use a phosphorus-heavy, water-based fertilizer at half-strength.
- If the leaves become thin and curled, it needs more water.
- Aloe vera leaves grow upward from the base. If the leaves droop or lie flat, it probably needs more sunlight.
- Your plant will grow towards the sun; if in a pot, rotate as needed to keep the plant leaves upright.
These could be the issues if your plant grows slowly:
- The soil is too alkaline. This can be corrected by adding a bit of soil sulfur.
- The plant has too much water, the soil is too damp, or it holds too much water. This can be corrected by modifying the amount of water added to the plant.
- It needs more sunlight. This can be remedied with a simple change of scenery.
- It has too much fertilizer. In this scenario, you can simply repot the plant with more soil.
- The plant needs a bigger pot for its roots. Eventually, all healthy aloe vera plants will probably reach this point.
Things to Watch Out For
Aloe vera isn’t immune to bugs, diseases and fungus on its stem or roots. The most common problem are the mealybugs and scale, which are small, flat tan or brown bugs that suck the sap from aloe, Leaf rot is also very common.
To protect it from fungus, keep the plant and the soil dry. And you can use a natural pesticide that will protect it from pests.
To avoid fungus, keep the soil and plant dry.
Getting Something in Return from Your Aloe Vera Plant
You can use its inner leaf gel as a topical remedy for burns and sunburns, cuts, and other skin irritations. This gel can be also consumed for collagen support.
Supplementing Your Diet with Aloe Vera
When it comes to the consumption of the leaves, make sure you don’t consume the outer leaf because it contains aloin, which can act as a harsh laxative.
Overall, the plant is a natural source of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and enzymes, all of which support healthy immune function, soothe and cleanse the digestive tract, and support the circulatory system.