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How to Grow Aloe vera

Aloe vera (barbadensis species) is known as ‘The miracle healer’ and has been widely used for its medical benefits for thousands of years. Today it is also found in many quality beauty products.

This species can be used internally (when the correct processing methods are applied prior),  and externally. Most people that use aloe vera report having good benefits from it – including increased energy,  healthier metabolism, less colds and flu, soft radiant skin and a greater sense of well being.

Also an excellent plant to have on hand for accelerated healing and pain relief of  aching/swollen muscles, bites, stings, wounds and burns.

Aloe vera is Easy to Grow and Care For

This hardy succulent originates from  tropical countries  and is part of the lily family.  This plant can be grown outdoors or indoors in a pot.
Many people fall into the trap of treating their aloe vera plant just like any other household plant – resulting in the aloe dying or stagnating.

Aloe vera grows faster in the summer…

Is usually dormant in the winter

(1)  It prefers well drained sandy or coarse areas.  If growing in a pot place rocks in the bottom of the pot.

(2)  If growing in a pot – Use a wide pot rather that a deep one as the aloe roots grow outwards rather than
downward.

(3)  As aloe vera is a tropical plant, place it in an area that gets the sun – but keep it out of direct sunlight.

(4)  If your plant is inside – keep it out of the bathroom.  Aloe vera doesn’t like damp steamy conditions.

(5)  If planting outdoors – ensure your plant is placed in frost free areas.  The frost will kill your plant quickly.

(6)  DO NOT over water.  Aloe vera is a tropical plant that stores a lot of water in its leaves, and can survive for weeks without water.Only water your plant when the soil is very dry.  Over watering will kill your plant.

(7)  DO NOT over fertilise.   Aloe vera only needs fertiliser about once a year.  Be sure to use a slow release fertiliser for  edible plants, and   use a 3rd to what the directions say.

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Helpful Tips for Growing Aloe vera

    • Aloe vera leaves grow upwards away from the base of the plant – if the leaves are lying flat, your plant has insufficient light.  Try placing it in an area with more light.
    • Leaves are turning brown Your plant has too much sunlight. Try moving it to a place with less sunlight.
    • Leaves are thin and curledYou may not be watering you plant enough.  Water it.
    • Plant is growing very slow This could be due to your plant being damp for to long, lack of light, or too much fertilizer.

How to Re-pot Baby Aloe Shoots

Aloe vera doesn’t need to be repotted very often.  As your plant grows you will notice baby off shoots (also known as pups) sprouting up in your pot.
Quite often this happens when your aloe plant is root bound.  Aloe can survive being root bound for a while, but once your plant container is quite full of these, it is then time to repot and transplant these babies into other pots.

Aloe vera multiplies in quantity
By sprouting up baby off-shoots

METHOD

  • Remove Mother plant from pot
  • Seperate the babies
  • Fill new pots 3/4 full of potting mix (preferably a coarse sandy one).
  • Place babies in new pots – If pots are quite wide you may fit 2-3 babies in the one pot.           
  • Top up with soil.
  • DO NOT water. There is sufficient water in the soil.            

NOTE: Sometimes after transplanting, aloe can go into shock and be dormant, turn grey or get a brownish tinge to it for a while. Should this happen – pop your aloe in a shady place, out of direct sunlight until it starts to bounce back.

Article written by Wen Dee: 

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