Aloe Vera – A.Barbadensis Mill
Aloe vera is a plant that grows well in tropical climates of all over the world. The plant is cultivated for its agricultural, decorative and medicinal purposes. Plant can usually reaches to a height of 60-100 centimeters tall and spreads offsets. Leaves are thick, fleshy, gray-green color and white flecks on upper and lower stem surfaces. Some varieties may produce flowers especially in summer season with long yellow tubular corollas.
Gardeners often grow aloe vera plant is commercially grown for its myriad uses in beauty, cosmetics like beverages, skin lotions, moisturizing creams and in medicinal applications that has moisturizing, soothing and healing properties. Aloe Vera is listed as one of the top Air-purifying houseplant that purifies the surrounding atmosphere by eliminating harmful toxins in it.
In this article we shared the information about attractive succulent aloe plants that is perfect for indoor planting and how easily you can grow at home and garden.
Common Names: Aloe vera, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephants gall, miracle plant, star cactus, Indian aloe, common aloe, flower of the desert, Barbados aloe and unguentine cactus.
- 1 Aloe Vera Varieties
- 2 How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant from Seed?
- 3 Can you Propagate Aloe Vera?
- 4 How do you Care for Aloe Vera Plant?
- 5 Is aloe vera plant edible?
- 6 What are good companions of aloe plant?
- 7 How do you trim off an aloe vera plant?
- 8 How do you repot an aloe vera plant?
- 9 Why aloe vera plant leaf is turning yellow?
- 10 Is aloe vera plant poisonous to your pets?
Aloe Vera Varieties
There are more than 450 species of aloe vera plants that are cultivated worldwide for its commercial applications. But many of these species are found in South Africa, Madagascar, Australia and Arabian countries. The table below shows the some popular aloe vera varieties to grow in your home.
|1||Aloe aculeata||Zimbabwe||Light green leaves, reddish prickles|
|2||Aloe aristata||Mozambique||Triangular soft leaves|
|3||Aloe affinis||South Africa||Yellowish-green leaves with reddish-brown teeth|
|4||Aloe Africana||Africa||Gray-green succulent leaves|
|5||Aloe helenae||Madagascar||Heavy crown with dark, green leaves|
|6||Aloe juvenna||Africa||Green succulent leaves with white spots|
|7||Aloe microstigma||Capes, hills areas||Blue-green rosettes, curl leaves|
How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant from Seed?
Aloe Vera is the popular houseplant that is easy to grow by providing sunlight and water. Here is the step by step procedure about how to grow aloe vera plant at home in pots…
- Before planting collect the seeds from the aloe plant which is 4-5 years old. Store the seeds in a cool, dark location and for better results use them within a year after harvesting.
- Now select the pot or small container of size 6 inches when you start growing from seeds. The container must have holes at the bottom to drain water completely.
- To have a healthy aloe vera plant, provide the plant with well-drain sandy or loamy soil mixture with pH between 7.0 and 8.5 i.e. slightly neutral to alkaline nature.
- Water aloe plants deeply and regularly. Allow the soil to dry for sometime (hours) between deep watering. If overwatered the plant then it may result in root rot disease.
- Plants does not require too much of sunlight, but can be planted near sunny location to thrive and for the soil to absorb water.
- According to USDA climatic conditions it should be planted between above the zone 10. The best temperature to grow aloe plants is 40 F when planted at both indoors and outdoors.
- Scales, aphids, larvae, mealy bugs and spider mites are the common pest problem in aloe vera plants. These harmful pests feed on aloe vera leaves and spoil the growth of aloe plants.
- Generally to deter pest problem we use pesticides which is not safe and may cause some allergic reactions when sprayed. So use naturally prepared neem oil or insecticidal soaps to repel insects from spoiling the plants.
- Diseases like aloe rust, root rot, bacterial soft rot and anthracnose can one the reason for diminishing the plant growth. It can be due to nutrient deficiencies, lack of water and sunlight to the plants.
- Plant shows the signs of yellow leaves, brown leafy tips, older leaves and leaf curling. To keep your aloe plant healthy, stable and strong use organic fertilizers if necessary. But aloe plant does not require any fertilizers to thrive.
- Spray organic fertilizers like heavy phosphorus content or balanced liquid N-P-K fertilizer in spring season of every year.
- When the plant matures it grows to a maximum height of 100 centimeters. Harvest the thick, smooth large leaf with sharp knife and use the gel it for face pack that adds freshness to your face.
Can you Propagate Aloe Vera?
You can grow the aloe vera plant easily from seeds, one stem, small cuttings or from baby plant, but is quite difficult to propagate from leaf. To propagate aloe vera plant just by detaching younger clone plants from the base of the root system and treat carefully.The chance of establishing roots from the leaf is very less. Here are 2 simple procedures i.e. from leaf and offset about how you can propagate aloe leaf to establish as a big plant.
- Select the mature plant that you would like to cut the leaf from the parent plant.
- Now select the leaf with 5-7 inches long and cut the leaf at the base using a sharp, clean knife.
- Insert the leaf in a cactus mix soil about 2 inches deep and dampen the soil with water.
- Make sure the leaf narrow sharp edge is facing up or cut side down into the soil.
- Provide sufficient water and sunlight to the plants.
- After 4 weeks the root develops and can see the plant growing bigger size.
Instead of growing aloe vera plant from leaf you can start growing them from an offset (also known as pups), part of the main plant. They are usually small, bright in color and has own set of roots. It should be the size of (1/5th) of main plant and has at least 4 leaves when you prefer to propagate from pups.
How do you Care for Aloe Vera Plant?
Here are some useful tips to grow aloe vera plants at home and garden.
- Harvest the aloe leaf for its gel using a sharp knife or scissors.
- Fertilize the aloe vera plant once in spring season throughout the year.
- Aloe Vera plants do not tolerate the extreme cool weather or frost conditions.
- Make sure the aloe vera plant receives sunlight for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day.
- Follow instructions & warning labels on seed covers and fertilizers before using them.
- Wear gloves and face masks if you don’t like the smell of fertilizers when applied to the plants
- Pot or container must have holes at the bottom for air circulation and to drain water completely.
- When you choose aloe vera leaf or stems from a mature plant to propagate, make sure it is healthy & disease resistant.
Is aloe vera plant edible?
Aloe vera plant in herbal medicine for centuries to treat skin and hair related problems. Both the aloe vera plants parts like leaves and roots are used in ayurvedic medicine. Hence the aloe vera plant is edible.
What are good companions of aloe plant?
Strawberry plants, sow thistle, onions, balm of Gilead, scented geraniums and borage plants love to grow with aloe vera plants at outdoors (landscape). Planting companions together have mutual benefits. They can easily improve the plant growth by deterring pest problem, improves soil fertility and speeds up the growth.
How do you trim off an aloe vera plant?
Trim off the leafy tips or whole leaves if they turn pinkish brown color and offshoots of aloe plant if necessary. Use a knife or shears to cut the leaves which is very close to the trunk as hand picking may damage the leaf tissues and the plant.
How do you repot an aloe vera plant?
Make sure your water the plant thoroughly a day or 2 days before repotting is done. Turn the plant in pot upside down, hold gently and tap at the bottom of the pot until the plant comes out of it. Repotting is actually done to when the roots grow bigger or emerges out of the pot and is done every year for better results.
Why aloe vera plant leaf is turning yellow?
Aloe vera plants store water in their leaves. If you notice your plants that are drooping off or becoming transparent they need some water. But if you overwater the plant leaves may turn brown and hence allow the water to drain completely. Whereas yellowing of leaves is due to the lack of nutrients supplied to the plants.
For more information refer: Why are my plants turning yellow?
Is aloe vera plant poisonous to your pets?
Aloe vera plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. When consumed the plant leaves contains glycoside compound that increases mucus production which may result in vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia in pets. Keep pets away as they chew the plant leaves and spoil the growth. Sometimes the sharp leaf edges can cause injuries to your beloved pets.
Start growing aloe vera plants in pots or containers at home that improve your health by eliminating harmful toxins in air. If you have amazing ideas about growing aloe plants, please share your experience with us.