Aloe vera plants are easy to grow and highly beneficial succulents. Succulents are becoming increasingly popular because they make great houseplants for forgetful gardeners. It is one of these such plants that thrive on neglect and depending on the humidity in your home you can even neglect it completely for a long time before it suffers any issues.
How to care for an aloe vera plant
A container is a key component of choosing your aloe vera. The cup should have plenty of drainage for the plant to grow in. The soil stays dry enough this way to prevent overwatering and decrease plant stress.
When it comes to pots, terracotta and porous clay are ideal choices, as they allow your plants to dry out well between waterings. You want to get a pot that is about as wide as it is deep. Your aloe plant should have a stem, so make sure the container is deep enough so that you can bury the entire stem. This will help stabilize the plant and promote root and pup growth.
The potting mix should be well-draining and designed to meet the needs of succulents. Avoid using average potting soil or gardening soil that is too thick and heavy, as this will allow the soil to retain more moisture. The soil mix should contain perlite, lava rock, or even chunks of tree bark to break up the soil.
Aloe vera is content with indirect sunlight such as that going through a south-facing window. The roots of your alow can become leggy if not provided with enough light.
Succulents prefer warmer temperatures, so Aloe does as well. Over the winter, it is best kept in a kitchen or bathroom with plenty of artificial light and humidity since it can grow well outside on a covered porch in the summer.
In the winter, humidity in the bathroom and kitchen is much higher than in other rooms of the house, making them the perfect place for your aloe to rest and reduce the need for extra watering while the heat is on.
There is no need for you to fertilize your aloe vera plant. You should not fertilize your aloe more than once a month during the spring and summer months when it is most likely to grow quickly.
Watering an aloe plant is easy. Avoid watering your aloe until the soil you can feel has completely dried out. Wait at least two to three weeks before watering. Water drips out of your aloe pot so just leave it sitting in the water for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the soil mix to absorb the water and then toss the rest into another plant.
How to care for an aloe vera pup
Aloe vera can be propagated by caring for and transplanting its pups, which are produced from the mother plant. Plants of the aloe vera family can produce pups when they are content and growing in the right environment.
Growing aloe in the smallest containers is more likely to produce multiple aloe plants because these small offshoots are more likely to root.
You may want to transplant your aloe vera to encourage it to grow larger, but you can leave it in smaller pots if your goal is to produce more aloe vera plants to add to your collection, or even to sell.
Remove the pup carefully from the mother plant. To do this, you can delicately unburden the pup and use a pair of clean sheers to cut it away from the root system keeping as much of the stem and any roots on the pup as possible. Pups from the mother can sometimes easily be separated from the mother by merely pulling and twisting.
For plants with no roots, you should let them sit out of the soil for a few days to build up a callous that will protect them as they develop roots.
You can place the pup in a pot with the same conditions as the mother plant and in a sunny spot. After the soil has dried out, water and continue to treat your new plant as you would the “mother plant” for a few weeks, to help it become well established.
How to grow aloe from a cutting
The most successful method of aloe plant propagation is from offsets or “pups” with resulting plants almost immediately, but you can use cuttings. The chances of the leaf actually taking root and growing into a healthy plant are slim but not impossible.
Consider dipping the leaf in rooting hormone to help it take root.
Cure the cut end of the leaf until a film forms on the bottom. This can take a few days to a couple of weeks depending on how dry your home is.
Stick the cut side down into a quality succulent soil burying about one-third of the leaf in the soil.
Place your plant in a warm area where it will receive plenty of indirect sunlight.
The leaf my dry and shrink as it developed roots over the next few weeks. This is normal and if roots are forming the plant will begin to grow new leaves soon.
How to prune and harvest aloe vera
Aloe vera plants should be pruned regularly to maintain their health. It is important to regularly remove old stems and blooms after they have died. Remove leaves and stems that show signs of rotting, such as brown spots and indentations, when pruning your plant.
The aloe plant can be affected by the use of its gel, so it is wise to gently cut a leaf from its outside edge to collect the gel inside. In older outer leaves, the healing gel is most concentrated. Remember the 1/3 rule when harvesting aloe vera and never take more than a third of the plant to ensure its survival after harvest.