Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a succulent, same as a cactus in that it holds water in its tissues and thus can go for long periods without rain. It is a wonderful xeriscape plant, for its easy care as well as for its bloom.

When aloe vera blooms, it sends up a single stem, up to 3 feet tall, which then opens yellow bell-shaped flowers. Color can vary, though, and I have seen an orange-pink color on some of my plants. I can’t promise you any specific flower color… they seem to have a mind of their own when they bloom.

In pots, aloe vera requires well-drained sandy potting soil and bright sunny conditions; however, in very hot and humid tropical or subtropical climates, aloe plants should be protected from direct sun and rain, as they will burn and/or turn mushy easily under these conditions. The use of a good-quality commercial propagation mix or a┬ápre-packaged “cacti and succulent mix” is recommended, as they allow good drainage.

I like to use clay pots for aloe vera. They are porous and allow the plant to “breathe”. Potted Aloe Vera plants should be allowed to completely dry before re-watering. Too much water will quickly turn them to mush. When replanting, set the crown at the soil surface.

Your Aloe Vera plant will quickly begin to produce “pups”…baby plants. They have no sense whatsoever when it comes to producing these pups and they will quickly become very crowded in the pot. When this happens, remove the pups. You can easily pull them out of the soil without harming the mother plant. When she has more room, she will grow larger… and produce more pups. A more important reason for removing the pups from your mother plant is that the over-crowded conditions can invite pest infestations.

Everyone is familiar with the use of aloe on burns. You cut off a fleshy leaf, slit it open and either squeeze the gel onto the burn or simply lay the flattened, slit leaf onto the burned area, gel side against the burn.