The Juice on Aloe Vera

I love being in nature, let me clarify, I love being in nature during the spring, summer and fall seasons… forget about winter here in Saskatoon. Winter tends to last 6 months here, therefore I always suffer from seasonal depression and I really miss the greenery. So, I have decided to start buying indoor plants that will benefit me year-round. My first real start to my succulent collection was a single aloe vera plant, which then multiplied into several aloe vera plants (no complaints here). So, here’s a post focused on one of my favourite house plants, the aloe vera. 

General Care: An aloe vera plant should be repotted out of the original plastic pot when purchased and planted in cactus mix/succulent soil. It should also be planted in a container with drainage holes. Make sure to let the soil dry out really well between watering it, letting the soil get crumbly and light in colour. Allow the soil to dry 2 to 3 inches deep to discourage rot. I water my aloe vera plants every two weeks. I find that my aloe vera plants react best to being right beside a window with sunshine all day (my window is east facing). Make sure your aloe vera gets enough sun (if the leaves are lying flat they aren’t getting enough light and if the leaves turn brown they are getting too much light).

Repotting: I repotted my plant into a better container when I got home. My preference is to plant succulents in terracotta pots. The new pot should allow more room for the roots to grow and should have a drainage hole(s). I filled the terracotta pot with cactus mix, and gently loosened the roots into the new soil. Be very careful as the roots are not connected very well to the plant, the plant will wobble a bit in its new container. Try not to water it for a couple days after repotting.

Aloe Vera Pups: I was so excited when my aloe vera plant sent up one, then two, then 5 little babies in its pot. One year I even got 14 babies. Surprisingly, my aloe vera plants usually produce pups in the wintertime. I wait until the pups reach about 4 – 5 inches tall. Then I take the parent plant completely out of its pot. I will gently tap the roots so that I can get as much soil off of the roots as possible. I will then find where the pup attaches to the parent plant and use sharp and sanitized scissors to cut the pup from the parent plant. I will only do this if the pup has its own root system. Then, to allow where I cut to callus over, I will lay the parent plant and all the pups in a shaded area inside my home for one full day. After a full 24 hours has gone by, I will plant each pup into its own terracotta pot and repot the parent back into its pot. As for the depth to plant the pups, just mimic the height that they were growing out of the soil beforehand. I usually wait several days to a week before watering them after potting. 

Benefits: An aloe vera leaf is filled with a gel-like substance. This substance can be applied to burns, cuts, rashes and bug bites to relieve pain, soothe and prevent itching. Aloe vera gel can also reduce the pain and swelling of acne. Some say that if you apply the gel often, it will help you to achieve an even skin tone. However, my favourite benefit is that aloe vera purifies the air in your home. Aloe vera plants will improve the air quality in your home because they are able to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Specifically, aloe vera plants can remove carbon dioxide, xylene, benzene and formaldehyde from the air (which actually occur inside our home more than you’d like to believe). To ensure your home’s air is being filtered, I would recommend several aloe vera plants. You can wait a few years until it starts producing its own pups or buy a few to start then gift the pups to your friends.

This plant is simple to take care of, does not require a lot of water, and provides many benefits for its owner. If you take good care of them, they will take good care of you!

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