Aloe vera is a succulent plant native to Africa and Asia. It is known for its thick, fleshy leaves and its gel-like substance, which is often used for medicinal purposes. Aloe vera is also easy to care for, with a few tips.
Aloe vera plants are popular indoor houseplants for a reason. They’re statement plants that are low maintenance and have a variety of uses, including medicinal and cosmetic.
Aloe Vera Care Guide
Here are some tips on how to care for your aloe vera houseplant:
Aloe vera plants need bright, indirect light. A south- or west-facing window is ideal. Avoid placing your plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.
Aloe vera plants are succulents, which means they store water in their leaves. This means that they don’t need to be watered very often. In fact, overwatering is the most common cause of aloe vera plant death.
To water your aloe vera plant, saturate the soil completely and then allow it to dry out completely before watering again. This can take anywhere from a week to two weeks, depending on the climate and the size of the plant.
Aloe vera plants need well-draining soil. A cactus mix or a mixture of potting soil and sand is ideal. Avoid using heavy potting soil, as this can retain too much moisture and lead to root rot.
Aloe vera plants don’t need to be fertilized very often. You can fertilize your plant once a month during the spring and summer months with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Avoid fertilizing your plant in the fall and winter months.
Aloe vera plants are slow-growing, so you don’t need to repot them very often. Repot your plant every two to three years, or when it outgrows its current pot.
The leaves of an aloe vera plant can be harvested at any time. To harvest a leaf, simply cut it at the base of the plant with a sharp knife. Be sure to leave at least two inches of the leaf attached to the plant so that it can continue to grow.
Aloe Vera Uses
Aloe vera gel can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as sunburn, cuts, and scrapes. To use aloe vera gel, simply cut a leaf open and apply the gel to the affected area. You can also store aloe vera gel in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Propagating Aloe Vera
Aloe vera plants are easy to propagate. There are two main ways to propagate aloe vera houseplants: by division and by leaf cuttings.
Aloe Propagation by Pups or Division
Pups are small, new plants that grow at the base of the mother plant. They are a great way to propagate aloe vera plants because they already have roots, so they are more likely to root successfully.
Propagate Aloe Vera by Pups
To propagate aloe vera by pups, follow these steps:
- Gently remove the pup from the mother plant, being careful not to damage the roots.
- Allow the pup to callous over for a few days before planting it in a well-draining potting mix.
- Water the pup lightly and place it in a bright, indirect light location.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- The pup should root within a few weeks. Once it has rooted, you can begin to water it normally.
Propagation by Leaf Cuttings
To propagate aloe vera by leaf cuttings, follow these steps:
- Choose a healthy leaf from the mother plant.
- Cut the leaf off at the base with a sharp knife.
- Allow the leaf to callous over for a few days before planting it in a well-draining potting mix.
- Plant the leaf cut-side down, burying the bottom inch or so of the leaf in the soil.
- Water the cutting lightly and place it in a bright, indirect light location.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- The cutting should root within a few weeks. Once it has rooted, you can begin to water it normally.
Tips for Propagating Aloe Vera Plants
Here are some additional tips for propagating aloe vera plants:
- Use a sharp knife to make clean cuts. This will help to prevent the spread of disease.
- Allow the cuttings to callous over before planting them. This will help to prevent rot.
- Use a well-draining potting mix. Aloe vera plants are susceptible to root rot, so it is important to use a potting mix that drains well.
- Water the cuttings lightly and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Place the cuttings in a bright, indirect light location.
With proper care, your aloe vera cuttings should root successfully and you will have new plants to enjoy!
Common Aloe Vera Problems
If your aloe vera plant is starting to turn brown, it’s likely due to overwatering or sunburn. If the plant is overwatered, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. If the plant is sunburned, move it to a spot with brighter, indirect light.
If your aloe vera plant is starting to stretch out and become leggy, it’s likely due to lack of light. Move the plant to a spot with brighter, indirect light.
Aloe vera plants are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but they can be susceptible to mealybugs and scale. If you see any pests on your plant, treat them immediately with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
More Tips for Caring and Growing Aloe Vera
- Be careful not to place aloe vera plants in direct sunlight, especially if you live in a hot climate.
- As well, these plants are sensitive to cold temperatures, so keep them away from drafts and vents.
- If you are not sure when to water your aloe vera plant, it is better to err on the side of caution and water less often.
By following these tips, you can keep your aloe vera plant healthy and thriving for many years to come.