How to Grow and Care for Aloe Vera Plants
There are many reasons why aloe vera has been popular for centuries. Belonging to the succulent family, it originated in arid and tropical climates, so aloe vera can withstand extreme temperatures and thrive without much water. Its thick, green stalks, which contain layers of vitamins and water, grow just as well outside with cactuses and other succulents as it does living in a pot in a well-lit room in your apartment. The aloe vera plant is also known for its medicinal and self-care properties including soothing sunburnt skin, moisturizing dry hair, and helping to relieve an upset stomach. Aloe Vera is versatile and low maintenance, a winning combination. Keeping your plant happy may not be difficult but there are still a few tricks to making sure your plant will flourish.
How to Grow and Plant Aloe Vera
The key to growing healthy aloe vera in your garden is making sure it is in the right environment. Stephania Gonzales of Plant Provisions in Los Angeles suggests using "cactus mix and adding perlite and orchard bark," which will create a well-draining soil. Overwatering your aloe vera is a death sentence, Gonzales suggests changing up your watering schedule depending on the season. In the summer you'll want to water about once a month or every three weeks. In the winter you'll want to keep the watering to about once every two months. The placement of your aloe vera is also key. Making sure that your plant gets plenty of vitamin D without being scorched by the sun is preferable. Gonzales believes there are two things that aloe vera needs the most: "Plenty of bright light and very little water."
What to Consider When Potting Aloe Vera
When you bring aloe vera indoors, the placement of the plant in your home is important. Marina Olshansky, the owner of Vesca Botanicals, a potted plant delivery, says, "I suggest potting in terra-cotta and not glazed pots because they are better at drawing moisture out and the biggest mistake people make with aloe is overwatering." It is also important that your pot have a drainage hole—aloe vera does not like sitting in water.
The spring and summer are when your aloe will really thrive so give it some extra love. "I like to fertilize lightly every other month, only in spring and summer," says Olshansky. The New York Botanical Garden says using commercial cactus mixes is acceptable, but it's important to avoid ones with plant food in the mix. Once your aloe vera is secure in its new home make sure to place it in a space with indirect bright light. It's also important to keep your aloe vera plant away from your pets, even though the plant is medicinal for humans it can be harmful to animals.