We’ve heard aloe as one of the popular ingredients in our beauty products, particularly moisturizers. But, did you know that this succulent has more practical benefits beyond cosmetics? Aloe plants are good air purifiers too so having them inside your home would bring such a refreshing vibe.
Aloe plants do well in an indoor setting. It requires very little water so you’d save a huge amount of time caring for it. It will make a perfect addition to your indoor houseplants without worrying over the extra effort you need to put into care and maintenance.
|Scientific Name||Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.|
|AKA||True aloe, Octopus plant, Torch plant, Candelabra plant, Medicine plant, Barbados aloe|
|Native to||Africa, Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula|
|Shape||Rosette formed from erect and pointed leaves|
|Maximum size||12 to 24 inches|
|Light requirements||Bright light|
|Preferred humidity||Low (10 to 30%)|
|Preferred temperature||65 to 85 F (18 to 27 C)|
|Soil||Well-draining potting mix amended with sand|
|Fertilizer||Once a year application of balanced liquid fertilizer during spring|
|Propagation method||Division of pups (smaller plants)|
|Toxicity||Moderately toxic to dogs and cats|
|Vulnerable to||Aloe mite (Aceria aloinis)|
Aloe plant is characterized by its thick, fleshy leaves. These leaves that appear erect and pointed create a dense rosette at the base. Some aloes produce flowers that are either yellow or red given the ideal conditions.
Aloe vera, a species considered as an herb succulent contains a gel inside its leaves that is being used to treat burns. Apart from that, it serves as a good ornamental plant. Because it has numerous benefits, it’s not surprising that many people are inclined to plant an aloe.
But before you bring an aloe plant home, remember that providing the ideal growing conditions is necessary. Like many other plants, aloe has specific growth requirements too. So, below are the fundamental things you have to remember.
Providing water for your aloe plant isn’t a demanding thing to do. You can allow the pot to sit for days without watering and it won’t hurt the plant. Aloe plant has fleshy leaves where they store enough moisture to sustain its needs.
You can water your aloe plant at least once a week. You have to wait for the soil to dry first before watering again; otherwise, you’ll overwater your plant. During cold seasons, watering can occur less frequently.
A bright light is perfect for your aloe plant. Providing the right amount and intensity of light is the key to make the aloe leaves vibrant in color. You can place the aloe in a north-facing window for better exposure to bright light.
If your indoor setting lacks sunlight penetration, artificial light will be enough for the aloes. You can place them somewhere near the light source at least 6 to 12 inches in distance. Direct exposure to light with high intensities can lead to bleached or scorched leaves.
Being a succulent, aloe plant is accustomed to dry places. In this case, they generally prefer an environment with less humidity. That’s why you don’t need to worry about putting in additional work to enhance humidity as you would with most tropical plants.
Indoor humidity is just fine for succulents like aloe to thrive. Locations with high humidity, for example, a kitchen and shower room should be avoided. High humidity can trigger fungal problems.
Plant Food and Soil
Preparing the potting mix for aloe is very easy. Just mix potting soil with coarse sand in equal proportions to achieve a well-draining soil. Water must drain well from the soil to avoid root rot.
Because aloe is a sturdy plant, it will do well even with a very little amount of fertilizer. Like other succulents, a once a year application of fertilizer is enough. You can add fertilizer during spring and let it work for the rest of the year.
Aside from learning the basic growing conditions, here are some tips on how you can provide additional care during the maintenance stage. We all know that maintenance is very crucial for the longevity of a plant’s life.
You can trim the older and damaged leaves by cutting the blades at the base. This will help the young leaves to develop. Don’t throw away the leaves as you can extract the gel and use it as moisturizer.
Avoid cutting the blades somewhere in the middle. The cut portion will tend to get yellow because of the lesions. Although the cut portion has the tendency to self-heal, his won’t appear good on the plant, it will not look good on the plant.
The shoots of an aloe plant tend to crowd the pot of its mother plant. When they outgrow the size of the pot, it’s time to do repotting. This is done by first cutting the small plants and reserving it for propagation.
After this, remove the aloe from its existing pot, discard the soil and replant it to a new pot with a bigger size. You can trim the roots as well. Water the plant and put it under partial shade for a few days.
Propagating an aloe plant is quite easy. It can come next after you repot the plant. The little pups you’ve separated from the mother plant can be planted individually in different pots.
Aloe plant is very generous when it comes to producing new pups especially if it lives in a healthy environment. This is why you have to propagate them more often to avoid overcrowding of the plant.
Another reason why aloe plants make a good indoor plant is its resistance to pests. You’ll rarely see an aloe infested by common indoor pests. This is another saved work on your part.
However, there are occasions when they get infested by an aloe mite (Aceria aloinis). This pest is microscopic so they’re difficult to notice unless the damage starts showing in the host plant. They pierce and suck on the plant leading them to develop aloe gall which makes the plant weak and susceptible.
As much as we love our aloe vera display, we have to make sure it never gets ingested by our dogs and cats at home. This plant is moderately toxic to your pets and can cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.
The compound named anthraquinone glycosides is responsible for the reactions that lead to laxative effects. You better keep an eye on your pets, then. And as a precautionary measure, make sure to find an undisturbed space for your aloe plant.
Why are my aloe vera leaves turning yellow?
The yellowing of leaf tips can be a result of improper watering, probably overwatering. This happens when you water your aloe plant even when the soil isn’t dry yet. Or maybe, the water doesn’t drain well enough that it remains stagnant drowning the roots.
Lack of light is also a potential reason. Leaves that don’t receive enough light tend to develop chlorotic appearance. In that case, you need to expose your aloe to bright light.
Why is my Aloe vera plant getting droopy?
If your aloe plant is getting droopy, there are several reasons that you have to consider. It can be a result of heat shock, transplant shock, improper watering, root rot, pests, or diseases.
A sudden increase in temperature can stress your aloe which leads to wilting. The same thing happens when you transplant a newly propagated plant. Stressed plants tend to work harder than they should because of non-ideal growth conditions. As a result, they become weak and droopy.
Other reasons can also be out of improper watering, root rot, presence of pests and disease infection.
Where can I use Aloe vera gel?
As a home remedy, aloe vera gel is perfect for soothing minor burns, itchy rashes, and other skin irritations. It leaves a cooling effect on the skin. You may also use the gel as a natural moisturizer for your face.
Having an aloe plant in your home brings benefits more than you can expect. Aside from the aesthetic value, its healing properties, its ability to purify the air and its moisturizing effect on your skin are more than enough reasons to include an aloe plant in your existing houseplant collection.
On top of that, you’ll save a huge amount of time, effort, and resources in care and maintenance. Aloe plant is definitely perfect for newbies and busy bees alike.