Growing Aloe Vera for Fun and Health

Growing Aloe Vera outdoors is fun and very easy to do.  It's not only beautiful, with spectacular yellow flowers, but you will also have your own personal first aid kit!  The gel inside the leaves is really effective for sunburn, mossie bites and rashes among other things.  

Pots of Aloe Vera Plants

Aloe Vera probably originated in Africa, but because it has now naturalised in temperate and hot climates all over the world, it's hard to prove its exact origin. Commercially, Aloe Vera is grown throughout the Americas, China, India, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and the Asian tropics.

So if you live in a warm to hot climate you can grow Aloe Vera outdoors, but if you live somewhere that has regular frosts you'd be better off growing them in pots indoors in a light sunny position.   

Plants can grow up to 1 metre tall with long spikes of yellow/pink pendulous flowers.  They will spread by offsets, which means they produce little baby plants at the base, which you can pull off and replant.  They can also be propagated by seed and by replanting their leaves. 

Here are some tips for growing Aloe Vera Outdoors

  • Plant Aloe Vera seeds, or offsets in well-drained soil in a sunny position.  If necessary create a raised bed to improve drainage, or add some sand or gravel to the soil. 
  • This is a VERY drought tolerant plant, so you won't need to water very often. In most areas, once established you probably won't need to water at all. Oh, how I love plants which thrive on neglect! LOL
  • If you like to garden organically, this is a great plant to have. Its spikes and bitter latex deter predators, so you won't have to use pesticides or nasty chemicals to protect it.
  • If you are short of space, grow your 'Sunburn' plant in a pot. Terracotta is best, and put some stones or gravel in the bottom to make sure the pot drains well.  Just make sure you don't put it in the shade or over-water it. Once a week should be fine. You will need to feed occasionally, maybe once a month with a liquid fertilizer.  

Tips for Growing Aloe Vera Indoors

  • Follow the point above for planting your AV in a pretty Terracotta pot.  Choose the sunniest, airiest position you can find in your house.
  • Never over-water especially when the plant is indoors. Wait until the soil has really dried out before watering again. 
  • Avoid humid positions, like near the kitchen. 
  • This might not be the best plant to have indoors if you have young children or pets because of the spikes. (Ditto for the garden). If that's the case, perhaps put higher up on a table. 

See also:
How to get your Aloe Vera to Flower
Transplanting Aloe Vera

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