The Aloe vera plant is an evergreen perennial that thrives in tropical climates. It has been long known for its medicinal purposes and is still often used as a topical treatment for burns and rashes.
You don't have to live in a tropical region to grow Aloe vera, though. No, this useful plant can easily be grown indoors almost anywhere and will do just fine as long as you take care of it properly.
If you are interested in growing Aloe vera plants for their medicinal uses, or simply want to have them as an ornamental addition to your indoor garden, you're in the right place. Read on for plenty of handy tips and tricks on how to take care of your Aloe plant.
1. Choosing a container
When you are preparing to plant or repot your Aloe, you need to be wise in choosing your pot or container. Allowing excess water to drain from the plant is important as it helps to prevent rot.
To do this, you'll want a container made of porous material, like a terra cotta pot. Additionally, you will want there to be a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Try to use a pot that is as deep as it is wide, in order to properly accommodate the size of your Aloe plant.
When you are ready to pot your plant, fill your container about one third of the way with a potting mix that drains well. Place the root of your Aloe plant in the soil and fill in around the plant with more soil. Be sure to leave almost an inch of room between the top of the soil and the top of the container.
No just leave your plant be for a bit. For the first week, don't water your Aloe plant or mess with it. Just let it get used to its pot and put in roots. The only thing you need to ensure is that the plant stays warm and gets enough sun.
2. Temperature and humidity
Aloe plants are succulent plants and they need a bit of special treatment when it comes to their preferred temperature and humidity levels.
Because succulents are desert plants, Aloe does best in areas that mimic its natural environment. These plants like it warmer during the daylight hours and cooler at night.
Aloe V vera era plants fare best when they are kept in a temperature range of 55°F/13°C to 80°F/27°C.
Dry heat is not a problem for these plants but try to keep them away from chilly drafts.
When given ample amounts of bright, direct sunlight Aloe vera plants will grow well. However, when the plants don't get enough light, they grow tall and quite leggy. When they aren't getting enough sun exposure, the leaves of the Aloe plant will begin to droop or flatten. This reduces their attractiveness as an ornamental plant as well as their usefulness as a medicinal one.
When planted outdoors, Aloe vera can tolerate being planted in areas of partial shade as well as full sun.
Growing Aloe indoors can be a bit of a challenge. The ideal spot for an Aloe plant is in a window that is south facing. If there just isn't enough light getting into your home for your plant, Aloe also does well when grown under artificial grow lights.
Once your Aloe plant has had time to dig its roots in and find solid ground in your planting container, you can begin watering it.
Remember that Aloe is a succulent ad a desert plant, so it is used to not getting much water. The thick gel found in the leaves of the Aloe plant is comprised mostly of water that the plant has taken in.
When watering your Aloe plant, do so sparingly. The number one killer of these plants is root rot that is caused by continual over watering. Once the root rots, your plant will slowly die from the bottom up. Your Aloe plant does not require daily watering and can often go a surprisingly long time without needing to be watered.
In the summertime your Aloe plant will need more consistent watering than it will during the winter months. Aloe plants live in a dormant state during the winter, so they don't need as much water as they do when they are actively growing through the rest of the year.
No matter what time of year it is, though, you need to allow the soil to dry out completely before watering your plant again. This is one reason we advise planting your Aloe in a porous container. A clay container, like a terra cotta pot will allow the moisture to leave the soil, protecting against root rot.
To see if your plant needs watering, check the soil. In order to do this, you'll need to get a tiny bit dirty. Stick one of your fingers into the soil, about an inch deep. If the soil is dry one inch down, then it is likely your plant is thirsty.
When you water your Aloe plant, make sure you give it a good soaking. Allow all the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot before you place it back in its sunny window spot.
5. Pests and diseases
Though it isn't likely to happen a lot, Aloe vera plants are at risk of developing pest infestations from mealybugs and scale, as well as other common garden nuisances. Check your plant for these pests occasionally and wash them away if they become problematic.
The most common diseases that will affect your Aloe plant are leaf rot, stem rot and root rot. The simplest way to avoid these problems is to be careful not to over water your plant.
6. Other care
To prolong the life of your plant as well as to simplify care, be sure to use a well-draining soil for your plant. You can also purchase a potting mix made specifically for succulents and cacti.
Aloe plants don't often need fertilizing, but if you wish to do this task make sure to do it sparingly. During the spring and summer, use a half strength houseplant fertilizer and feed it to your plant no more than once a month.
7. Final word
Aloe plants are not only incredibly attractive, they are also useful to have in your home garden.
They are simple to grow and difficult to kill.
If you don't yet have an Aloe vera plant, you can find one at a local garden supplier or you can purchase one online.