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Aloe Vera has been known to humans for over a millennium, with more than 300 varieties available. While some types of Aloe Vera are harmless, others can be highly toxic.
Aloe Vera is a versatile plant that can be easily grown both indoors and outdoors, and is renowned for its various medicinal properties, particularly in skincare.
While certain varieties of Aloe Vera are safe to consume, others should only be used externally. To gain a deeper understanding of this beautiful succulent, let’s explore the different aspects of growing and caring for it.
About Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant with several names such as Skin Care Plant, Tummy care specialist, Miracle plant, and Burn cure plant. It is commonly referred to as ‘Aloe’ because of its close association with treating various ailments. Aloe Vera’s scientific name is Aloe Barbadensis, and it belongs to the succulent family of plants.
Its thick gel-like water substance makes it useful for medicinal purposes, particularly in treating health issues. Despite being a succulent with high water content, Aloe Vera requires very little water for sustenance.
Overwatering can quickly kill the plant, while limited watering helps it survive longer periods. To cultivate Aloe Vera successfully, understanding its characteristics is vital. Read on for an overview of the plant.
Features and Characteristics of the Plant – An Overview
Hailing from the South West Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera grows in many parts of the world widely.
Aloe Vera grows abundantly in regions with Arid climatic conditions as well as tropical ones. Many parts of the world use Aloe Vera for decorative purposes, while many others use them for medicinal purposes.
The evolutionary descendant of Aloe Vera is Tracheophyte, Angiosperm, and Monocots, among the many others. Aloe Vera belongs to the Plantae kingdom of scientific classification.
The succulent type of this plant hails from the Asphodelaceae family.
The many synonyms of Aloe Vera include but are not limited to
- Aloe barbadensis Mill,
- Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis Haw.,
- Aloe chinensis (Haw.) Baker,
- Aloe elongata Murray
- Aloe Flava Pers.,
- Aloe Indica Royle,
- Aloe lanzae Tod.,
- Aloe maculata Forssk. (illegitimate),
- Aloe perfoliata var. vera L.,
- Aloe rubescens DC.,
- Aloe variegata Forssk. (illegitimate),
- Aloe vera Mill. (illegitimate)
- Aloe vera var. chinensis (Haw.) A. Berger,
- Aloe vera var. lanzae Baker,
- Aloe vera var. littoralis J.Koenig ex Baker and
- Aloe vulgaris Lam.
Most Aloe Vera types are short-stemmed by nature, growing to a maximum height of 39 inches tall at any point in time. Arbuscular Mycorrhiza is the formation that allows the plant to suck the energy nutrients from the soil for its sustenance.
Aloe leaves are green in color. However, some types do possess greyish green colored leaves too. The Aloe Vera plant’s fleshy leaves are thick in size, with serrated margins having white colored teeth small in size.
The tubular structure of Aloe Vera Flowers makes them look pendulous. These flowers are yellow. Flowers that grow in an Aloe Vera plant are usually 35 inches tall in size. They grow during summer times.
Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a popular indoor plant that is low-maintenance and adaptable to different environments.
It is a species of succulent that thrives in full sun and can tolerate temperature swings, making it an ideal plant to grow in your bathroom. In addition to being an attractive addition to your decor, aloe vera has many benefits for your health and well-being.
Aloe vera is renowned for its skin-soothing properties. The gel inside the leaves of the plant contains compounds that can help to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and moisturize dry skin.
Applying aloe vera gel to sunburned skin can help to reduce pain and redness and speed up the healing process. Aloe vera can also be used to soothe cuts, rashes, and burns, including common sunburns.
In addition to its benefits for your skin, aloe vera can also be ingested to support digestive health. Aloe vera juice is a popular beverage with many health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the digestive tract, promoting regular bowel movements, and supporting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
However, it is important to note that aloe vera juice can have laxative effects and should be consumed in moderation.
Aloe vera contains compounds that can help to support a healthy immune system. One of these compounds is acemannan, which has been shown to stimulate the production of white blood cells and increase the activity of immune cells.
Aloe vera also contains antioxidants, which can help to neutralize free radicals and protect your cells from damage.
How to Grow Aloe Vera
Choosing the Right Aloe Vera Plant
Before you start growing aloe vera, you need to choose the right plant. There are over 500 species of aloe plants, but not all of them are suitable for growing at home. You want to select a plant that is easy to care for and has a good chance of thriving in your home environment.
When choosing an aloe vera plant, look for a mature plant that is at least a few years old. Younger plants may not have developed the same level of hardiness and may be more susceptible to damage from pests or disease. The leaves of the plant should be plump and fleshy, with a vibrant green color. Avoid plants with brown or yellow leaves, as this may be a sign of disease or poor health.
It’s also important to choose a plant that is well-suited to your home environment. Aloe vera is a succulent plant and thrives in warm, dry conditions. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to take extra steps to ensure that your plant stays healthy. For example, you may need to keep it in a well-ventilated area or use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture in the air.
When selecting an aloe vera plant, consider the size of the plant and the space you have available. Aloe vera plants can grow quite large, with some species reaching up to 3 feet in height. If you have limited space, you may want to choose a smaller variety of aloe vera or consider keeping your plant in a container to control its growth.
Light and Temperature Requirements
When it comes to light and temperature requirements, aloe vera is a pretty easy plant to care for. It does best in temperatures between 55 and 80°F (13 and 27°C), which is the temperature range of most homes and apartments. You can keep your aloe vera plant on a windowsill or any other bright spot in your home, as long as it doesn’t get direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight can burn the leaves of your aloe vera plant, so it’s important to keep it in a spot with bright but indirect light. If you’re keeping your plant outdoors, make sure it’s in a spot that gets partial shade during the hottest part of the day. A few alpine varieties of aloe vera can withstand occasional temperatures near freezing, but most varieties cannot tolerate frost.
If you’re not sure whether your aloe vera plant is getting enough light, look at the color of its leaves. If they’re a healthy green, your plant is getting enough light. If they’re pale or yellow, it’s a sign that your plant needs more light. On the other hand, if the leaves are turning brown or black, it’s a sign that your plant is getting too much light.
Soil and Potting Requirements
Choosing the right soil and potting mix is crucial to the health of your aloe vera plant. Aloe vera thrives in well-draining soil, so make sure to use a soil mix that contains perlite, sand, or other coarse materials that help with drainage. Avoid using heavy, clay soils that retain water as they can cause root rot and other issues.
When selecting a pot, choose one that is slightly larger than the root ball of your aloe vera plant. A pot that is too big can lead to overwatering and root rot. A terra cotta pot is a good option as it is porous and allows for better airflow to the roots.
When potting your aloe vera plant, use a succulent mix or a cactus potting mix that is specifically designed for plants that require good drainage. You can also make your own mix by combining regular potting soil with perlite or sand. Make sure to leave some space at the top of the pot for watering.
It’s important to note that aloe vera plants prefer to be slightly root-bound, so you may not need to repot your plant very often. However, if you notice that your plant has outgrown its pot, it’s time to repot it into a slightly larger pot with fresh soil mix.
Watering and Fertilization
Proper watering and fertilization are essential to keep your aloe vera plant healthy and thriving. Overwatering or underwatering can cause damage to the plant, so it’s important to find the right balance.
Aloe vera plants are succulents and are adapted to survive in arid conditions. Therefore, they do not require frequent watering. Water your aloe vera plant only when the soil has completely dried out. To check the moisture level, stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your plant.
When watering your aloe vera, make sure to water deeply and thoroughly, until water comes out of the drainage hole. However, do not let your aloe vera sit in water, as this can cause root rot.
Aloe vera plants do not require frequent fertilization, but occasional feeding can help promote growth and overall health. Fertilize your aloe vera plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
When fertilizing your aloe vera, make sure to dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply it to the soil. Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves, as this can cause burning.
It’s important to note that aloe vera plants go dormant in the fall and winter months, and do not require as much water or fertilizer during this time.
Propagating Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is an easy-to-care-for succulent that is perfect for growing in your bathroom. Propagating aloe vera is a great way to create new plants for your home. There are two main ways to propagate aloe vera: offsets and seeds.
Offsets, also known as pups, are baby plants that grow from the base of the parent plant. To propagate aloe vera using offsets, follow these steps:
- Remove the parent plant from its pot.
- Gently pull the offsets away from the parent plant.
- Allow the offsets to dry for a few days.
- Plant the offsets in a well-draining potting mix.
- Water the offsets sparingly until they establish roots.
While propagating aloe vera from seeds is possible, it is a much slower process than using offsets. If you want to try propagating aloe vera from seeds, here’s what you need to do:
- Collect the seeds from a mature aloe vera plant.
- Plant the seeds in a well-draining potting mix.
- Keep the soil moist and warm.
- It can take several weeks for the seeds to germinate.
- Once the seedlings have grown large enough, transplant them into individual pots.
Whether you choose to propagate aloe vera using offsets or seeds, it’s important to use a well-draining potting mix and to water the new plants sparingly until they establish roots. With proper care, your new aloe vera plants will thrive in your bathroom.
Pruning and Maintenance
Pruning your aloe vera plant is an essential part of caring for it. It helps to keep your plant healthy and looking its best. You should prune your aloe vera plant if the leaves are shriveled and dead or if they have been damaged by environmental factors.
You can also prune the plant if the outer leaves go brown at the tips. To prune your aloe vera plant, use clean garden shears and either cut off only the affected tip or prune the entire leaf altogether at its base.
Maintaining your aloe vera plant is crucial to ensure its healthy growth. Water your aloe vera plant 2 to 3 times a month during spring and summer and once a month during fall and winter.
Plant your aloe vera in a pot with a drain hole in well-draining soil made for succulents or cacti. Place your aloe vera plant in a warm, sunny spot, such as on a windowsill.
It is also important to keep an eye out for any pests that may harm your aloe vera plant. Common pests that can affect aloe vera plants include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.
If you notice any pests on your plant, use a natural insecticide or insecticidal soap to get rid of them. You can also use neem oil, which is a natural pesticide that can help control pests.
Regularly check your aloe vera plant for any signs of disease, such as discoloration or wilting. If you notice any issues, take action immediately to prevent the spread of the disease. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves and ensure that your plant is receiving the proper amount of water and sunlight.
Common Problems and Solutions
Some common issues new Aloe Vera growers face are enlisted below. We have offered solutions to the same, so issues no longer destroy the spirit of the plant lovers.
Issue – Aloe Vera plant Does not Grow Healthy on all Sides.
Solution – This is one of the common issues faced by first time Aloe Vera growers. When you place the Aloe Vera pot on a warm space, which is bright, the heat falls on only one side of the plant. This makes that side of the plant healthy.
However, the other sides in the lesser warm directions tend to receive lesser heat than the side exposed. This causes inconsistent growth in the plant on different sides. Rotate the pot in which the Aloe Vera is planted once in a while.
This will help all sides of the plant get heat and necessary light in a uniform manner. Rotating the plants towards warmth and light will get rid plants from getting infected in specific portions once in a while. However, avoid this daily.
Rotate the pot only when you witness any glaring mismatch on the sides. You can also fix a periodicity like once in 3 or 4 days to rotate the pots and work on this aspect in a planned manner.
Issue – I am watering only when the soil becomes dry. I expose my Aloe Vera to required levels of warmth. Why am I still facing issues?
Solution – If your watering habit is perfect, your Aloe Vera is in proper space, and still, you face issues growing Aloe Vera, the soil may be an issue.
Ensure you mix normal sand with building sand to overcome this problem. In case you potted your Aloe Vera with normal sand without mixing building sand, you can consider repotting the same with the appropriate sand mixture.
Remove the Aloe Vera plant from the old pot by gently tapping the pot’s sides. Look out for brownish elements in the roots and cut off the same before repotting the plant.
Ensure the roots look fresh and clean while repotting the Aloe Vera. Cut off leaves that have yellow spots on them.
Dip the roots of your Aloe Vera plant in honey thoroughly before inserting them inside the soil. Cover the roots in the soil in a thorough manner.
Allow them to remain the same until the soil is completely dry. Water only when the soil is completely dry.
Issue – Leaves are Turning Brownish
Solution – Aloe Vera is a succulent that needs very little water to support its sustenance. The plant does not expect it to be watered every passing day.
Observe the condition of the soil in which Aloe Vera is planted in a periodical manner. Completely dried up soil is the indicator that the plant needs to be watered.
Allowing the soil to get dried up completely cajoles Aloe Vera so much, so that succulent plant enjoys being nurtured that way.
Aloe Vera plant enjoys zero moisture in its roots for the most period. It requires water once a while, just for its sustenance.
Water is never the basic magic quotient for Aloe Vera.Water the plant only when the soil is rooted in is completely dry.
Else, just focus on placing the plant in appropriate light and heat source as a periodical activity. Following these instructions will avoid your Aloe Vera leaves from turning brown.
Issue – Leaves are Bending Downwards or Becoming Creasy
Solution – Source of light and the extent to which the same is available to your Aloe Vera matter the most. Aloe Vera is a succulent possessing similar requirements as that of a Cactus, enjoys warmth. Aloe Vera plants can even sustain heat to some extent.
However, they can’t handle excess moisture. Dried up roots and lighting that causes warmth offers major support to Aloe Vera to sustain healthily.
Lack of appropriate lighting makes the Aloe Vera leaves suffer. This makes them lose their vital content, which in turn forms crease on their surface.
Some leaves start bending downwards as though they lack the strength to stand strong and erect. If your Aloe Vera leaves start bending downwards, it is an indication that you need to arrange appropriate lighting for them.
Issue – My Aloe Vera plant is Getting Orangish Patches on its Leaves
Solution – Aloe Vera thrives well when it is exposed to an appropriate lighting environment. However, too much of anything is dangerous, and this saying applies to Aloe Vera also. Roots of the Aloe Vera plant absorb water to a limited extent that it requires.
Any water stagnation in the roots makes the plant rot. Aloe Vera requires a fair extent of lighting environment to dry its roots easily. When the plant is not placed in spots that are rich in lighting, it harms the plant. On the same wavelength, if Aloe Vera is exposed to excessive heat or light, it suffers orangish spots on its leaves.
Exposing your Aloe Vera to excess heat or sunlight causes such orange spots. Move the plant to a warm place for some time after potting the same.
Then gradually expose the plant to heat. Never expose the plant to direct sunlight or excessive hot environments. Keeping the plant in warm spaces where heat is not high makes the orange spots vanish away.
Uses of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera possesses a high medicinal value. It contains 70 plus nutrients with hundreds of active compounds, which include innumerable minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Let us have a detailed look at some of the medicinal cures Aloe Vera offers to mankind.
Aloe Vera is high in moisture content. The cooling effect it offers to the skin soothes the burns on the surface of the skin in a quick manner. Burns gets cured in such a smooth and fast manner that Aloe Vera occupies the first position in the cure for burns.
Safeguards Oral Health
Many mouth wash liquids and toothpaste are available with Aloe Vera as the main ingredient.
Using Aloe Vera for oral hygiene has an impressive impact on lowering gingivitis and plaque levels to a considerable extent. Aloe Vera does not cause any adverse effects when used for the maintenance of oral hygiene.
Effective for Digestive Health
Certain types of Aloe Vera can be consumed internally also. Consuming Aloe Vera offers a protective lining to the internal layers of the stomach.
It is found to be very effective in curing stomach related ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome.
Check with your medical practitioner on the intake of Aloe Vera before consuming the same. Owing to this quality, Aloe Vera acts as a boon to people suffering from heartburns and indigestion issues.
Helps cure Anal Fissures
Applying Aloe Vera skin cream on the areas around the Anal region multiple times in set periodicities heals the same. Regular usage of Aloe Vera is the key to healing Anal Fissures.
Aloe Vera for Healthy Skin
Using Cleansers rich in Aloe Vera content can help clean the surface of the skin in the best possible manner. Go in for Toners and Creams containing Aloe Vera to value add to the skin cleansed by Aloe Vera Cleansers.
Aloe Vera is a good source for curing Acne and pimples. It also safeguards the skin from getting inflamed due to various reasons.
The other skin conditions that Aloe Vera is effective on are Herpes Sores, Psoriasis, injuries caused by radiation, Seborrhea, abrasions on the skin surface, Dandruff, and Minor burns.
Check with your Medical Practitioner on the quantity of Aloe Vera you can consume internally before taking a call on the same. Aloe Vera is available in many forms, including gel and juice.
Aloe Vera is found to be boosting the immune system to a great extent when consumed on recommended quantities in a regular manner. People who have low immunity levels can start consuming Aloe Vera and experience higher immunity levels over a period of time.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Aloe Vera is found to be highly effective in reducing blood sugar levels in humans. This makes it the best choice for people suffering from Diabetes Mellitus. Consume Aloe Vera in the form and quantities recommended by your Medical Practitioner in fixed periodicities. Aloe Vera is capable of keeping your blood sugar levels under check in a constant manner.
Studies reveal that Aloe Vera possesses cancer-fighting properties. A clear understanding of the kinds of cancers Aloe Vera can cure will help patients suffering from the condition go in for the same with clarity.
Interesting Facts about Aloe Vera
- The latex, which is a key component in Aloe Vera, must be used in limited quantities for the purposes it is advised for. Consumption of excess quantities can be toxic, leading to undesirable effects.
- Among the 300 plus varieties of Aloe, only 3 to 4 are grown in a regular manner for medicinal purposes.
- Ancient Greek writing dated back to 1550 B.C says Queen Cleopatra used Aloe Vera for her skincare.
- Aloe Vera is rich in anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it the best friend for maintaining the health of humans to a great extent.
Aloe Vera is a popular household plant that can be easily grown both indoors and outdoors. To successfully grow Aloe Vera at home, it’s important to recognize that it is a type of succulent plant that has similar needs to other plants in the cactus family. Fortunately, this makes it easy to care for and maintain.
It’s important to avoid over-watering your Aloe Vera plant, as it may not require as much water as you might think. By giving your Aloe Vera plant the right care and attention, it can add a beautiful and vibrant touch to any garden or indoor space.