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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Aloe Vera: The Easy to Grow Plant That Can Soothe Your Skin

Aloe Vera has been used for centuries to heal wounds and soothe minor skin irritations such as burns, minor cuts, and bug bites. Aloe is a good plant to have around if you ever forget your sunscreen. Cut a leaf from your plant and put it in the fridge for a few minutes. When you scrape the gel from inside the leaf and apply it to your skin, it is a cool, refreshing way to soothe a sunburn. Aloe vera is not only useful but easy to grow. Here are some tips for growing Aloe Vera at home:

Light - aloe vera grows best in very bright light but will tolerate less light. If the light is too low, they will not grow much.

Water - aloe is able to survive weeks without being watered. Too little water is always better than too much water, because it will rot quickly in wet conditions. Limp, lower leaves are usually the first indication that your aloe is getting too much water. Water your aloe in the morning every two weeks or when the soil mixture has dried completely. Remember to water less during the winter months. If you choose to grow your aloe outside in the summer, you may need to increase your watering.

Potting - choose a pot with drainage holes. Clay pots are an ideal choice, because they are porous and allow the soil to dry thoroughly between watering. It is best to use a cactus mix that is coarse and drains well.

Aloe plants do not mind being a little snug in their pots, so there is no need to repot frequently. Being a top-heavy plant, they may begin to tip over if the pot is too small. This is a good time to repot.

Aloe vera can be grown indoors year-round or placed outside for the summer. They can be grown in shaded areas or slowly acclimated to a sunny porch. In our area, you can put your aloe outside the first week of May and leave it out through October. Aloe plants do not like cold, but will tolerate it for short periods. It is best to bring your aloe in before temperatures drop into the 40s.

Another bonus to aloe plants is their ability to multiply. Often times, you can harvest many baby plants from the base of your aloe. Aloe is a great plant to share with family and friends!