Aloe Vera is a succulent that is rich in medicinal value. The leaves of the Aloe Vera contain a sappy gel that is commonly used to treat burns, rashes, itching, and insect bites. Growing an Aloe Vera plant involves very little effort. This is why it is often recommended as one of the low maintenance plants for the lazy or time starved gardener. Here are the instructions on how to grow Aloe Vera and reap its medicinal benefits.
How to Grow Aloe Vera Plant
The Aloe Vera plant can be grown from seed but its a rather tedious process. Its much easier to pick it up from a nursery. If your good kindly neighbour has a plant, request for a baby plant that you’ll find growing quite close to the mother plant. You can separate the baby from the main plant and pot it.
Another easy method of growing Aloe Vera is to cut a big chunk of the leaf (about 10 cm or 4 inches) and leave it to dry for a few days in the sun. Then insert the dry end of the cutting into some moist soil and wait. The plant should start growing in a few days time.
One of the most important things you need to remember is that the Aloe Vera is a succulent. That means it loves dry conditions with lots of sun. It simply cannot stand standing water so make sure your pots have well draining soil with lots of drainage holes.
Best Conditions for Growing Aloe Vera
The Aloe Vera is a sun loving plant. Place it in a part of your terrace that gets at least 4-5 hours of direct sunlight for best growth. If you are growing the plant indoors, place it near the window that receives some amount of sunlight.
The plant must have a well drained sandy, loose soil. You can mix river sand, small pebbles and compost too, if possible.
You must water the plant deeply and allow the water to seep through the drainage holes. The next time you water the plant should be when the top soil gets completely dry. You don’t have to water the plant frequently or regularly. During winter months, you can water the plant less frequently as it stores its water in the leaves. One of the reasons for the plant dying is overwatering, so watch it!
This plant does not require any fertilizer to grow, so save your fertilizers for plants that need them.
Pests & Diseases
The Aloe Vera is generally pest and disease resistant! Phew! Isn’t that a relief!
The Aloe Vera plant is well known for its healing properties.
If you suffer a small burn, cut or sun tan, scoop out the sap from an Aloe Vera leaf and apply it on the blistered area. Apply 3 times a day to get quick relief. Pick an older leaf and slice it from the base to the tip and then peel it open.
Aloe Vera is also used in the treatment of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies do not conclusively prove its medicinal benefits so its best to avoid ingesting the gel and use it only topically.
Aloe Vera also makes for a great facial toner, if you’re into that sort of thing. Its gel is said to nourish and hydrate skin, acting as a mild exfoliant. It gets rid of old dry cells, encourages cell regeneration and reduces wrinkles.
GreenMyLife also features a fun post on making a natural shower gel using Aloe Vera, which you can check out here.
Aloe Vera is also known to be an air purifying plant as it can filter formaldehyde and benzene, which are byproducts from household chemicals such as paints and cleaning agents.
With so many great benefits to be obtained, its only natural that you grow Aloe Vera in your home and reap its benefits.