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Aloe vera is a resilient plant of aloe with over 500 species. This perennial plant was initially from Arabian Peninsula and is widely grown across different world regions. It has a short stem with closely packed thick succulent leaves, whose margin has evenly distributed thorn-like teeth.
Aloe vera is a succulent grown for both its beauty and medicinal value. Its juice is used to cure burns, scrapes, and skin problems. Like most succulents, aloe vera is easy to grow as it thrives with minimum care.
Are you considering growing aloe vera? Well, I am about to give you the ultimate aloe vera guide. Read on and find everything you need about caring for aloe vera.
How to Grow Aloe Vera
You can either grow aloe vera from seeds or propagate its offsets. Aloe vera takes four years or more to mature and bear seeds.
The sources are located in seed pods from spent flowers, and you can collect them when the pod’s color changes to browning green.
Since the seeds are pretty small, you must place a dish at the base to collect the roots as you split open the pods. The color of aloe vera seeds is often brown-black and can be planted soon after harvesting.
To plant aloe vera seeds, you need to have well-drained soil. Fill a relatively small pot depending on the number of sources you intend to plant.
Dampen the ground, place the aloe seeds on top with an inch of spacing, and then cover them with a light layer of soil. Mist the earth once a day and take care not to overwater.
Depending on the aloe variety you’ve grown, it should take two to four weeks for the seeds to germinate. If you don’t have any sources available, you can purchase them from the store.
Propagating Aloe Vera
The other option for growing aloe is through propagation. If you have mature aloe plants, you will notice them growing pups at the bottom.
These pups grow closely together at the plant roots and depend on the parent plant for food and water until they fully establish their root system.
Use sterilized sheers to safely remove the pups from the parent plant and transfer them to their pot. However, looking for offsets with four to five leaves would be best. You can dip the pup roots into a rooting hormone to encourage growth before planting.
Get a well-drained pot and fill it up with adequately drained soil. As you plant, avoid packing the roots closely together as it prevents the roots from breathing. Allow the roots to heal before watering the plant, which may take a week.
Water the plant until the soil is wet, and water flows through the draining holes, then pour out the excess water from the container. You must water the plant after a few days when the soil is entirely thirsty.
Grow Aloe Vera From Leaf Cuttings
You can also grow aloe vera from leaf cuttings. Cut a 3-inch leaf of a healthy aloe vera plant. Get a container with a potting mix and place the leaf with the cut area touching the soil. After a few weeks, you will see the leaf developing buds.
You can then re-pot the plant when it produces three to four leaves. The parent leaf will die off, allowing the young plant to grow.
How Fast Does Aloe Vera Grow?
The rate at which the aloe era grows depends on the variety and the growing conditions. It may take the plant between three and four years to reach maturity with a height of 60-100cm (24-39inches).
The leaves of a mature plant are often eight to ten inches. For your plant to grow fast, you must provide the appropriate setup from the start.
Where Does Aloe Vera Grow
Aloe vera is native to the desert and arid climatic conditions, often hot and with limited rainfall. The plant has difficulties thriving in cold regions and can hardly tolerate frost and snow.
If you live in the united states, you can grow aloe vera outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 and as an indoor plant in any other region.
Whether growing indoors or outdoors, aloe vera requires sufficient access to sunlight. Besides, the plant has little regard for soil fertility and will grow well in well-drained soils.
Aloe vera is initially believed to have grown naturally in Arabia but cultivated in many world regions.
How Long Does It Take For Aloe Vera to Grow
With proper care, aloe vera can mature within 3 years. The average growth rate of a young aloe vera leaf is 2.5 mm per day, which is relatively high for a succulent plant. When mature, the plant has an average of 15 leaves and a maximum height of
Can Aloe Vera Grow Indoors
As mentioned earlier in this post, you can grow aloe vera indoors and outdoors, provided the growing conditions are met. Aloe vera adds to your interior décor as an indoor plant while bringing more life to your home.
When growing aloe vera indoors, place the plant close to a sunny window with adequate indirect sunlight. It can be just a few feet from a South or West facing window.
Remember to rotate the plant every few days to ensure all leaves receive sufficient light. Besides, turning the plant helps give the plant an even growth since the plant usually leaves grow towards the morning, which might give the plant unbalanced growth.
Also, don’t expose the plant to too much light, which may cause the leaves to brown. Growing aloe vera with leaves touching a hot glass window causes sunburns to the located leaf surface of the plant.
Aloe vera grows best at room temperatures of above 60°F and will die when exposed to shallow temperatures.
Read more on My Aloe vera plant froze. Now what?
As you grow aloe vera indoors, there is a higher risk of overwatering. To avoid this, you should restrain from watering the plant until the soil is dried, which could take more than a week. The watering schedules will also vary depending on the season, and you may not need to water the plant during winter.
Remember to get the appropriate soil mix for your plant. The type of mix you use will affect the plant’s life and the ease of taking care of the plant.
How to Grow Aloe Vera From Seed
As we saw earlier, you can grow aloe vera from seeds and propagate the plant’s offsets/leaves. Growing aloe vera from seeds is very simple, and you need the following:
- aloe vera seeds
- well-drained soil
- growing pot
Steps to Grow Aloe Vera From Seed
- Fill the pot with the soil.
- Place the aloe seeds on top of the soil one inch apart
- Cover the seeds slightly with a thin layer of soil
- Mist the soil to avoid over watering
- Water the seeds every few days to keep the soil slightly moist without over-watering.
- It should take two to four weeks for the seeds to germinate, and once they germinate, you need to keep the seedlings on a heat source to help them develop roots.
- You can then transfer the young plants to their individual pots once they develop at least four leaves.
Is Aloe Vera Easy to Grow
Aloe vera is one of the easiest to grow plants, as it requires minimum attention. It is appropriate for new gardeners because it wouldn’t dry off quickly. You don’t need to water the plant as often, and fertilizers are unnecessary. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind when growing aloe vera:
- Avoid overwatering
- Plant it in a well-drained soil
- Ensure your plant has enough sunlight
How to Grow Big Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the fastest-growing succulents. To grow big aloe vera, you need to get it right from the start. I want to emphasize the positive effect of cow dung manure on the growth of aloe vera.
Studies have shown that it is best to use this form of compost over other fertilizers. Also, urea fertilizer has no significant effect on the plant’s growth.
If you buy a plant from the store, you should choose a healthy one that will be easier to care for from the start. These plants are often stressed from staying on the shelves too long without adequate lighting and water.
You should avoid buying bent plants with yellow or brown spots on their leaves and those with curved leaves.
As we saw above, you can grow your aloe vera plants differently. You can purchase seeds from a shop that doesn’t have other mature plants to propagate. It will help you grow a healthy plant from the beginning.
Tips to Grow Aloe Vera
- You can use rooting hormone when transferring your plants to stimulate root development.
- Use well-drained potting soil.
- Ensure the plant gets the required light and temperature conditions.
- After transferring pups and young plants, withhold watering the plant for a week to allow the plant roots to heal and establish.
- Once this period lapses, thoroughly water the plant until water drains from the holes, then pour out the excess water.
- Avoid overcrowding and always relieve older plants from their pups by transferring them to their own pots, as we saw above.
- Avoid overwatering.
- Aloe vera doesn’t require fertilizing; too much fertilizer can damage the plant. You can use natural fertilizers such as banana peels to feed your aloe vera once a year.
- You also need to watch out for pests and diseases.
You may also want to read this detailed post on How to Take Care of Your Aloe Vera Plant.
If you want to see, me planting on this Aloe Vera as a small plant from my local garden center and get more tips on growing Aloe Vera at home, watch the video below.
Can I Put Aloe Plants Outside
Aloe vera grows best outdoors because the environment offers the best-growing conditions for the plant. When grown outside, the plant grows fasters and healthier.
Aloe vera grows best in hot climates and can hardly tolerate a temperature of 40F and below. For more accessible care, increase your aloe vera in a pot with the cactus potting mix, making it easier to overwinter the plant.
Consequently, bring your aloe vera plant indoors during the winter. In cases of unexpected frosting, cover the plant with a sheet or blanket to keep it warm.
What is The Best Grow Lights For Aloe Vera
Aloe vera requires adequate natural light to grow and bloom. The plant will go dormant and stop growing doesn’t receive sufficient light. You, however, must take precautions not to place the plant under direct sunlight.
If growing the plant indoors, avoid placing it on windows with direct sunlight and go for South or West facing windows. In the winter, the plant is likely to go dormant. Even so, you might need to choose a brighter spot for the plant.
How can you tell if your aloe vera plant is receiving sufficient light? The plant weakens if it doesn’t receive adequate sunlight, and its leaves bend or crease in the middle or at the base. Also, the color of the leaves begins to pale.
You can opt for artificial lighting if you can’t access enough natural light for your plants. A white fluorescent lamp is the best; you must place the light six to twelve inches above the plant.
Since artificial lighting is not as powerful as daylight, ensure the plant gets 14 to 16 hours of exposure.
How to Harvest Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel and juice have many medicinal uses. These two substances are contained inside the outer green skin of the plant leaves.
The second layer is called latex, while the inner layer, mainly aloe vera gel, is called the mesophyll layer. The gel contains 99%water amino acids, anti-inflammatory hormones, vitamins, lipids, minerals, and enzymes.
To harvest aloe vera gel and juice, you must identify a mature aloe vera plant as it is likely to have a higher concentration of the above liquids.
If you need to harvest aloe vera, you will often have to keep several plants as you need to allow a few weeks to harvest leaves from the same plant. Harvesting:
- Identify the healthy, thick leaves on the base of the plant and cut three at a time. The leaves should disease free and free from mold.
- Cut the leaves close to the stem avoiding the roots.
- Wash the leaves and dry them.
- Remove the pricky edges using a knife.
- Use the knife to separate the inner gel from the outer covers.
- While doing so, drain the sap in a container.
- You can further slice the gel.
This gel is commonly used as a home remedy for treating first- and second-degree burns. It is also applied to the skin to cure acne, sunburns, psoriasis, hair conditioning, and make-up remover. Additionally, aloe vera is used to prevent bedsores.
You should avoid ingesting aloe vera as too much of it may cause kidney failure. It is also toxic to pets and other animals.
Idon’tdon’tt needs much of the gel; you can cut the plant’s leaf and run the juice of the injury.
Watering Aloe Vera
Over-watering is one of the biggest challenges you will likely encounter with your aloe vera plant. It would help if you used a suitable growth medium to prevent waterlogging, which often causes the plant roots to die.
How do you ensure the plant gets the right amount of water?
Indoor plants require less frequent watering as they dry out less fast. If you are growing your aloe vera on a pot, make sure it has big holes that allow water through.
Well-drained soil will also make water sip easier as it is less likely to retain moisture.
Only water the plants when dehydrated, which could be once a week, and stop watering thoroughly during the winter.
When watering potted plants such as Aloe Vera, do so in a sink and allow the plant to drain completely before putting it back. Always pour out any excess water remaining in the pot.
As for outdoor aloe vera plants, you may not need to water them, mainly if the area receives frequent rainfall. Planting outdoor plants on gravel also allows rainwater to run over without stagnating.
For potted plants, always avoid plastic and go for ceramics or clay pots that absorb excess moisture in the soil while allowing the roots to breathe.
Also, please choose the right-sized pot for the plant, and only change it when it outgrows, and you risk it tripping from its weight.
Also, remember that the leaves will fade and pucker when the plant goes too long without water. The plant leaves will turn yellow and die off if the drought is prolonged.
Feeding Aloe Vera
Fertilizers are not fundamental for aloe vera plants as they can grow in infertile soils with little nutrient content. However, feeding your aloe vera plant will boost its health.
You only need to feed aloe vera plants once a year in the spring. The choice of fertilizer is essential as aloe vera requires heavy water-based phosphorous fertilizers at half strength. You also need to avoid granular fertilizers as they could harm the plant.
Liquid 10-40-10 house lant mix makes a perfect choice for your aloe vera plant, as these fertilizers are specially designed for succulents.
When fertilizing potted plants, water the plant thoroughly the day before to get rid of any salts in the soil, which could cause tip burn.
You can also try out these natural fertilizers for your aloe vera plants:
- banana peels
Managing pests and diseases
Whenever you provide your aloe vera plant with the necessary care through proper watering, lighting conditions, and well-drained soil and container, you will likely experience fewer problems with pests and diseases. Since most diseases occur from dampness and oversaturation, indoor aloe vera plants are at a higher risk of infection.
Common pests to watch out for include:
Aloe aphids (Aloephaghus Myers) are the most common pests likely to infest your aloe plants. These insects enjoy feasting on the sap contained in aloe leaves. They are yellow insects with a size of one to four millimeters.
Aphids infest, pierce the leaf surface, and suck the plant juice, causing the leaf to rot and die. An intensive infestation of aphids can cause the entire plant to die.
These insects also attract the formation of sooty mold on the plant due to the honeydew they leave behind.
Aphids are hard to notice due to their small size and are recognized from their egg deposits on the leaf surface. Infested plants will have white clusters on the leaf base and inner crevices.
It will help if you keep checking your plants every few days, as these plants multiply very fast, with their eggs hatching within hours.
Once you notice signs of infestation, wash the leaves with water and dry them, then spray the affected areas with insecticidal soap.
These insects are also called aloe mites or bacteria aloe. Gall mites are microscopic, and you will only notice their presence once the plants show signs of infection.
They inject the plant with a chemical substance causing the plants to suffer from gall or aloe cancer which appears as tumors. Infected plants often have warty-looking stem, leaves, and flowers deformities.
The disease often affects plants grown outdoors, with warmer environmental conditions. You don’t need to worry about these pests by growing your aloe vera plants indoors.
Once you notice signs of infection, prune infected leaves and dispose of them. In case of severe disease, get rid of the entire plant.
This pest is also known as snout beetle or Lepidopterous Inquinatus and is often a gray three-quarter-inch weevil. Snout weevil is one of the rarest and most notorious pests among aloe vera plants.
It has a downward-facing proboscis which sucks the plant sap. The weevils suck up the plant’s liquid faster than any other aloe pest and are more common in plants grown outdoors.
The spot where the insect pierces the plant is often small and dark, with a mark at the center. These insects also mate, depositing eggs on the plant leaves at the base of the stem. The larvae hatch and then move into the stem of the aloe plant causing it to rot from the inside.
Keep checking your plants for insects, and once you notice these beetles, remove them and kill them. Remove severely affected plants and destroy them.
Aloe vera also attracts insects such as mites, scales, and mealybugs. Whenever you notice mealybugs, spray the plant with water and remove them with a soft cloth.
To remove scales, mix a tablespoon of insecticidal soap and a cupful of isopropyl alcohol with a cupful of water. Use the mixture to spray on the insects every three days for two weeks.
For plants infected with mites, prune and dispose of the infected parts.
It would be best to give your plants proper care to avoid diseases. The most common aloe vera diseases occur from overwatering and poor drainage.
Aloe rust is a disease with small, yellowish spots on the leaf surface. These spots occur commonly on the underside of the plant leaves and are often caused by the fungus Phakapsora Pachyrhizi.
Aloe rust is not likely to kill the plant. However, it weakens the plant making it vulnerable to other infections.
Does Aloe Vera Make Good Houseplants?
When grown indoors, aloe vera adds to the interior beauty of your home. It also creates a more refreshing environment indoors, more so at night when it emits oxygen.
Growing aloe vera indoors is also advantageous due to its medicinal value. In this case, you have it within reach when injuries occur.
Aloe vera is one of the easy-to-grow houseplants. However, it requires sufficient sunlight to thrive, making caring for the plant indoors more demanding than when grown outdoors.
You may also want to read 15 Easy to grow succulents for beginners
Other Articles On Growing Aloe Vera That Will Help You In Your Journey
As seen in this post, you can grow aloe vera both indoors and outdoors. Few precautions go into caring for aloe vera plants, as the only problems you are likely to encounter with your aloe vera plant are excessive watering and exposure to sunlight.
You can quickly propagate your aloe vera plants using their offsets, leaves, or seeds. Aloe vera takes several years to produce seeds and blooming can only occur for outdoor plants. Indoor plants experience stunted growth due to insufficient exposure to sunlight.
Finally, it would help if you watched out for pests and diseases that might affect your plants’ health. All in all, growing aloe vera is relatively easy!