How to Grow Your Own Aloe Vera Plant

potted aloe vera plants

To avail of the long list of health benefits afforded by the aloe vera plant, it is good to grow your own plant which you can harvest anytime. Here is the aloe vera gardener’s guide.

1. Purchase the largest aloe vera plant you can find. Aloe vera can also be grown from seeds and cuttings from the leaves but the fastest way you can grow the plant is to simply buy an already mature one—which does not really cost much, anyway.

2. Grow your aloe vera plant in the right conditions. Aloe vera is somewhat related to the cactuses and can thus withstand adverse conditions. However, the ideal condition for maximum growth is one characterized by the following elements:
• Indirect Sunlight
Plant your aloe vera in indirect sunlight as direct sunlight causes yellowing of the leaves. The plant can also be an indoor house plant but it will not grow as fast as in the outdoors. In general, growing aloe vera is advisable only in dry and warm climates. They do not grow well in cold climate.
• Soil Type
Aloe vera thrives well in soil mixed with pebbles, grainy sand and compost. A pot which is 18 inches across in diameter is said to be the best pot size to use for maximum growth.
• Watering Frequency
Wait until the soil is dry before watering your aloe vera plant. Depending on the weather condition of your place, you may water the plant only once every 3 days to one week. One to two cups of water is enough per watering session. Make sure, too, that the pot is well-drained to prevent the root from rotting.

3. Know when to repot.
• When the plant matures, new shoots appear. When the shoots are about 3 to 4 inches tall, it is time to repot them. Failure to do results in a bizarre occurrence—the young ones sap the life out of their mother so that the mother plant turns bright green and grows out horizontally rather than vertically.
• Some repotting tips: During repotting, water the new plant and then leave it unwatered for 3 weeks. This actually causes the plant to grow roots in an effort to seek water. The newly repotted plant may initially turn brown or gray, but don’t fret and resist the urge to water.

4. Watch out for growth problems.
• When the leaves are brown, it means the plant has too much exposure to the sun. Move it to a place where there is indirect sunlight for most hours of the day.
• When the leaves are flat and not upright, it lacks sunlight and should be moved to a sunnier place.
• When the leaves are thin and curled up on their edges, it means they are perpetually thirsty.
• When the plant doesn’t seem to be growing, it may mean any of these things—too much water, too much fertilizer, the wrong kind of soil or inadequate light.

5. Learn how to harvest your aloe plant.
• Cut the leaf which lies closest to the ground as this is the most mature of the leaves and is also the one with the most potent dosage. The greenish, transparent gel inside the leaf is the aloe vera gel, which can be applied topically or taken internally in the form of smoothies or cocktail juices.
• As too much pruning causes plant growth decline, it is advisable to maintain several pots of aloe vera plant and harvest a leaf from only one pot each week or so.

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