Aloe Vera Plant Care

Have you ever considered growing your own aloe vera plant? This semi-tropical succulent plant is not only attractive to behold, it is also well known for its medicinal uses.  For thousands of years, aloe has been used to promote health and wellness. The gel from the aloe plant's leaves is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, cuts, rashes and burns. The gel is used directly from the plant as needed. Simply pick a leaf, slice it open and squeeze out the gel. While growing an aloe vera plant is not difficult, there are a few things you need to know in order to have a healthy plant.

Growing Aloe Vera Plant
If you happen to live in a semi-tropical climate, where there is no danger of frost, you can use aloe plants to enhance your landscape. Aloe plants prefer full sun, and they require well-drained soil. Once they are established in a sunny spot with good soil, care of aloe vera plants is fairly minimal. Water your aloe thoroughly and frequently during the warm summer months, but be sure to let the soil dry out before watering again. Grown outdoors, some aloe plants can grow as large as two feet tall, and will sometimes produce flowers on a large spike.

The aloe plant reproduces by sending out offsets around the base of the plant. When these offsets are at least a couple of inches tall, they can be removed and replanted.

Aloe Houseplants
If your climate is not appropriate for growing your aloe plant outdoors, you can grow yours indoors as an attractive and useful houseplant. Since aloes have a shallow root system, it is best to place your aloe vera plant in a wide, shallow pot. It is essential that your plant have good drainage, so be sure to place a layer of gravel under the soil in the pot. Water your aloe thoroughly, but be sure to let it dry out completely before watering again. Place your plant in a really sunny location, away from drafts.

During the summer, you can place the pot outdoors. Just be sure to bring it in before the temperatures drop, as aloes do not tolerate even a mild frost. Placing your aloe outdoors will encourage it to grow more quickly than it would if it was kept inside. If the leaves turn brown, it's a sign that the plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Move it to a shadier spot and it will be fine.

The care of aloe vera plants is fairly consistent throughout the year, but some varieties do go dormant in wintertime. If you have a winter-dormant aloe, allow the soil to dry completely during the winter months before watering again, to prevent over-watering. Whether you're growing indoors or outdoors, there's little need for fertilizer.

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