How to Grow Aloe vera?

How to Grow Aloe vera?

  1. Plant Aloe vera plants in a terra cotta pot or a garden spot.
  2. Ensure that the pot or the garden spot is well-drained.
  3. Mix sand and potting soil or a special succulent potting mix in an online nursery.
  4. Give the plant a lot of space.
  5. Place it in a sunny place with bright sunlight. It may grow in indirect sunlight or light shade or partial shade. But a bright sunny spot in a warm location and hot climates are well suited for Aloe Vera. You can grow Aloe indoors as well by a sunny window which receives a few hours of light.
  6. Water it heavily once in two weeks. But, avoid excess water. It is a desert plant and grows better in dry conditions and will have sufficient water in the succulent leaves.
  7. Wait till the soil dries out fully before watering again as a rule of thumb.
  8. Avoid keeping the soil moist always as it will cause root rot.
  9. Watch out for limp or brown leaves which are signs of over-watering.
  10. Cut the leaves when they are six inches tall. Aloe Leaf is thick and juicy with its gel.
  11. Squeeze the gel out and store it for your use.
  12. Repot if the plant starts tipping.
  13. Don't let the leaves touch the ground; they'll rot.

How to Care for an Aloe Vera Plant?

  • Aloe vera needs lots of light. It is best grown in a sunny location.
  • Keep the soil moist but not wet.
  • Do not water the plant during dry spells.
  • If the plant starts wilting, give it more water.
  • Remove dead leaves regularly.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut off the leaves.
  • It is recommended to repot the plant after three years.
  • The plant can also be divided into smaller plants from the parent plant.
  • You can keep them indoors until they reach maturity.
  • When planting aloes outdoors, make sure that the roots don't get too much moisture.
  • Aloe needs sufficient hours of sunlight.
  • If it is growing as a potted plant, ensure that the drainage hole is functional and the soil is well-drained.

When to transplant Aloe Vera?

  • Transplant aloe vera when it reaches 6 inches in height.
  • Make sure that the roots have enough space to spread.
  • Potting soil should be used for this purpose.
  • Mulch around the base of the plant to prevent weeds from growing.
  • After 3 months of growth, remove the mulch.
  • Pinch back the tips of the leaves to encourage branching.
  • Repot the plant after 2 years.
  • Propagate by dividing the plant.

How to Propagate Aloe Vera?

  • Divide the plant in spring or fall.
  • It can be propagated from stem cuttings, leaf cutting. You can also propagate aloe from pups.
  • Dig up the plant carefully.
  • Separate the baby plant from the adult plant. 
  • Take care of each piece separately.
  • Gently pull apart the leafless stem.
  • Separate the pieces into smaller parts.
  • Replace the pieces into separate pots filled with fresh potting soil.
  • Cover the pots with clear plastic bags.
  • Keep the pots in a warm area.
  • Check the pots daily.
  • Water the pots thoroughly.
  • Feed the plant with fertilizer according to the instructions given on the package.
  • Repot the plants once in two years.
  • Keep the plants away from direct sunlight when moving from indirect light indoors to outdoors.

What Kind of Soil to Use for Aloe?

  • Aloe vera likes acidic soils with high organic matter content.
  • They prefer sandy loam, clay loam, and peat moss mixes.
  • Soil pH ranges between 5.0 and 7.5.
  • Add some lime (calcium) to increase the acidity.
  • Fertilize the plant with liquid fertilizers at regular intervals.

How to Water Aloe Plants?

  • Water deeply once in four days.
  • Let the soil dry completely between watering.
  • Never allow the soil to become soggy.
  • To avoid over-watering, check the soil level periodically.

How to Harvest Aloe Vera?

  • Entire plant Aloe Vera contains a clear gel.
  • Aloe vera is a medicinal plant. Aloe vera leaves contain a gel which is a popular home remedy for healing wounds, reducing acne and redness.
  • Snip off the entire leaf as close to the stem as possible and let it sit for a few minutes to drain the aloe latex. Ingestion of aloe latex can cause irritation of skin.
  • Rub the juicy end on a sunburn or a sore spot.
  • Slit the spike lengthwise using a clean knife and scoop out the aloe gel contents with a spoon.
  • Store the aloe gel in a container in a refrigerator. You can make Aloe Vera juice from it, too, or use it as a hair conditioner for daily care.
  • Healthy aloe plants will keep producing green leaves and fleshy leaves for you. All it needs is adequate sunlight.

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Happy Gardening!
Dr. Vandana K.