Aloe Vera Plant Care – How to Grow an Aloe Plant

Aloe Vera has healing properties, and owing to this it has become very popular. Plus, it looks good and is sure to enhance the beauty of your home. It also helps that growing this plant is easy. As long as you cater to its water and sunlight needs, you can expect a healthy plant. These plants do best in hot climates and having them in wooden sheds enables you to mimic such conditions. Where you live in a warm area, you can have the plants in the outdoors.

With most succulents, you find that propagation takes place by way of leaf cuttings. But with aloe, this is not the case. Instead, you need young clone plants from an adult plant for the propagation. How you handle the young plants will determine how successful the planting process will be. Let’s get started on this rewarding journey.

Transplanting

For a while, the young plants will require sheltered conditions where you can monitor their water intake. It is in these conditions that you will also look at the moisture content in the soil. As they grow, you will notice that these plants have large leaves and a short root system. Thus, there are times when the top may get too heavy for the roots to support it. Where this happens, you must move the plant to a bigger pot where the roots can develop further.

You could get to a point where you can no longer move the plant to another pot owing to the aloe’s size. In this situation, you can opt to remove the young clones and place them in separate containers. However, this will depend on what you would like from the plant. It is in this way that you can decide when it is time to transplant the plants.

Sunlight

These plants do best when they have at least eight hours of sunlight exposure each day. Thus, when you do have them in wooden sheds, ensure that they are towards a south-facing window. If they are outdoors, position them towards the north where they can get adequate daylight. This warmth promotes their growth and is sure to be a significant contributor to their health.

Note that the positioning will depend on the hemisphere in which you live. Where you live in the north, a south-facing or western window will receive lots of daylight. The reverse holds. You should thus consider this when positioning the plants.

Though these plants thrive in warm areas, this is not to say that they cannot do well in cold regions. As long as the temperatures are not below (-4) degrees Celsius, they will do well. Where temperatures in your area can go below this, it is best to have the plants indoors. Here, you can manage the conditions and make them suitable for the plants.

If you are unsure of whether you can have these plants in your region, it helps to consider the hardiness zone in which you live. 9, 10, and 11 are the most ideal for anyone looking to enjoy these plants throughout the year. For other regions, temporary movements to the indoors may be necessary to keep the plants alive.

Yes, these plants do best in hot areas. As much as this is the case, it is possible to burn them. If the leaves begin to turn brown, this is an indication that there is a need for intervention. Move the plant to a partially shaded area or alter the indoor conditions, where applicable.

Drainage

Aloe Vera does best in dry and hot conditions. As such, it will do well in soil that does not have much water. Where the soil is not well-draining, the plant is likely to suffer root rot and die. Standing water is a no-no, and you should look into the drainage capabilities of the soil before commencing planting. You can use a potting mix designed for cactus. Alternatively, you could make a soil mix by having gravel, sand, and soil in one pot. The bottom of the pot you use should have a hole in it which will allow excess water to flow out.

Where you plan on having the plant outdoors, here is a simple trick you can use to assess the drainage capability. Start by making a small pit in the soil and filling it with water. If the water drains too fast or does not drain completely at the end of a day, the site is not ideal. Suppose there is no water in the hole at the end of the period, add some more water. Wait another day and check if there is water in the hole.

Planting

When planting, you must take care such that the roots do not come into contact with the soil. The leaves of the plant are fleshy, and when left in the soil, they can rot. Thus, as you plant the aloe, ensure that the root ball lies below the soil surface. You can then add some gravel to the soil as a means to reduce evaporation. It also helps in keeping the soil in place. It is important to note that skipping this step will not affect your plant, and you can do so. If you decide to use some stones, look into the colours which would work for your purpose. Suppose you live in a cold region, go for white stones. They work great in reflecting warmth from the sun to the plant, helping it to thrive.

With most plants, watering starts as soon as the plant goes into the ground. However, that is not the case with aloe. Given that you will use young parts of the plant, the chances are high that there will be some damage to the roots. You should thus give the plant enough time to heal. Failure to do this can promote root rot and render your efforts futile. The availability of water in the leaves ensures that the plant does not lack moisture during this time.

After that, note that watering should take place based on the plant’s needs. Where the soil feels damp to the touch at a depth of three inches, the plant can do without water for several days. When weeding, be gentle as the soil around the roots is loose and could come apart with ease. Unlike most plants, aloe can do without fertilizer. Thus, unless it is necessary, you can skip this step.

All the best!

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