Aloe vera plant mainly belonged to Africa, India, China Arabian countries.
But with more and more people getting aware of its benefits the plant is now grown across the globe.
Another reason of its popularity is commercial usage and success of aloe vera based medicine and cosmetics.
You will find all leading cosmetic companies using aloe vera in some form or other in their products.
So when aloe vera has so many benefits, why not grow one at your own home and use it.
I have 3 aloe vera plants at my house.
All grown and taken care by my mother who herself is sort of an herbalist. She planted one a few years ago and re-planted other two using offsets.
She prepares aloe gel which we use a moisturizer and for cuts/burns. Most of what I am writing below is based on her experience of growing aloe vera and some internet research.
Requirements for planting aloe vera at home
Aloes are xerophytes and thus adapted to survive harsh, hot and low water environment.
Thus, it is difficult to grow their regions with high moisture and cold. In such case artificial conditions to suit them have to be created using greenhouse etc.
Here are some of the requirements:
Light requirement: Moderate sunlight is best suited for aloe vera plant. Thus an area in your house which gets a few hours of sunlight will be best suited.
Soil for aloe vera plant: One key aspect to keep in mind regarding the soil is that it should not lead to stagnation of water into the pot.
This sandy soil is best suited. One can also use potting mix and enhance its porosity by adding granite grit, pumice stone or coarse sand.
If you have a cactus at your place, you exactly know the soil needed for aloe vera.
Cactus and Aloe vera are very close in terms of requirement of conditions. The correct type of soil is of great importance as aloe vera has a very shallow root system.
Type of pot: The pot should have a very large drainage hole to ensure proper drainage of water. The size of the pot may vary based on the size of your plant.
Do not take too small or too large a pot that’s all. A full-grown aloe vera reaches around 40 inches, thus you can plan your pot size accordingly.
Temperature requirements: As I have already mentioned, aloe vera belongs to hot and arid regions. Thus higher temperatures are also fine.
For ideal growth 70-80 F is considered best. But with good care, the plant can also survive as low as 40 F.
Watering aloe vera: Due care needs to be taken to water aloe vera plant. Unlike other potted plants which need to be watered on a daily basis, aloe vera plant should only be watered when it is completely dry.
This is because of two reasons – the plant requires less water and secondly its leaves like cactus store lot of water for it to survive.
If you end up watering the plant more than required, sandy soil should help in draining the extra water quickly.
Fertilizer for aloe vera plant: Aloe vera is adapted to survive harsh conditions thus can bloom without any fertilizers too.
If you want to add fertilizer add very mild one.
If you have a cactus, then you can use the same fertilizer you are using for cactus.
The fertilizer should only be added in summer season and not in winters.
Aloe vera in winters: If you live at a very cold place keep aloe vera plant indoors at a reasonable temperature and provide some exposure to sunlight.
If you have a greenhouse it will be a perfect place to keep the plant.
Re-growing aloe vera
Propagation of Aloe vera can be done in two ways:
- Using offsets (also called pups) of existing aloe vera plant. The offsets are easier ways to grow aloe vera. Spring season is the best time for re-potting aloe vera offsets
- Aloe vera can also be propagated from its seed, but that is a much difficult method that using an offset.
Aloe vera plants grow very slowly and thus rarely you will need re-potting because the plant has outgrown its current pot. Re-potting is mostly done to have more aloe vera plants.
Plating aloe vera at home is not very difficult if you are located in hot climatic regions.
If not then do not be disheartened, with some extra care and precautions you can still own an aloe vera!