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Aloe Vera is a succulent, meaning that it stores water in the fleshy part of the plant's leaves and can go long periods between watering. Aloe Vera is fairly pest resistant too, as the spines and tough skin are bothersome and unappetizing to animals.
Although you can grow Aloe Vera from seed or from a cutting, most people find better success from purchasing a smaller plant and tending to it, or by growing from an “offset.”
Because succulents are comfortable in aired conditions, they tend to grow best in clay pots with drainage holes. The clay pot allows water to evaporate well, and adjusts well to changes in temperature.
Offshoots or “pups” are an extension of the large Aloe Vera plant. These mini plants allow you to grow your garden at little to no expense and make great gifts for friends. Successfully harvesting an offset is fairly simple.
Aloe Vera often goes dormant in the winter, so you definitely need as much water.
Observe the leaves, as they are an indicator of your plant’s overall health. Aloe Vera leaves should look plump and rigid. If the leaves start to curl or look limp, introduce more water.
Allow plants to get at least 8-10 hours of light per day. Indoor plants should be placed near a south or southwest-facing window. Move plants away from the window at night during the winter months.
Keep the soil dry between waterings to help eliminate rot and pests. Wipe off mealy bugs or scale with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
Aloe Vera is commonly used to soothe and heal wounds such as burns. When you grow Aloe Vera in the home, fresh Aloe is always available. Harvesting the gel from the plant is fairly simple, as long as your plant is mature and healthy. Take care of the spines on the plant, as they can cut or scratch you.
Optionally, consider adding some liquid vitamin E to help preserve the gel for a longer shelf life. Add 400 IU of liquid vitamin E, or prick a vitamin E caplet with the tine of a fork. Adding vitamin E will increase the shelf life from three weeks to eight months.
Apply gel topically to relieve burns or as a moisturizer. Do not ingest Aloe treated with vitamin E or essential oil.
Question: What should I do if I have several dried out leaves on my aloe vera? If I cut the dried portion away will it come back?
Answer: If your aloe vera plant has dried or browning leaves it may be sunburnt or just lacking enough moisture in the soil.
If you normally keep the plant in direct sunlight, relocate the plant to a more central portion of the room.
Water your aloe vera deeply (about 1 to 2 inches of water a time) but infrequently, about once a week. Ensure that the soil dries out between waterings. If you have overwatered the plant, drain out excess water, and consider repotting it in fresh soil.
Once cut, that portion of the aloe vera plant will not regenerate. Don't be afraid to cut away brown areas though, as it allows the plant to focus energies on other areas.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 01, 2018:
Thanks for sharing this information. I've learned some new things about aloe vera plants, which I appreciate.