Aloe Vera is a succulent plant and a popular choice amongst gardening enthusiasts. Unlike its close relatives the cactus and agave, the aloe plant tends to be found in more tropical regions than in the desert. But like any succulent, it tends to be a hearty and resilient plant that can grow in many locations.
What Makes the Aloe Plant so Popular?
The aloe vera is well known for its healing properties. Those who are not familiar with the plant itself have still likely heard and seen the name on many different products often involving skin care.
While harvesting these healing properties isn’t entirely practical for a casual gardener, there are still many characteristics of the aloe vera plant that make it desirable for household growing.
Like any succulent, the plant can thrive without ready access to water, and its thick skin makes is resistant to most parasites. Caring for an aloe vera does not require a particularity green thumb.
Many gardeners tend to select the spiral aloe plant, which has an almost perfectly symmetrical spiral shape that is both interesting and appealing to the eye.
Ideal Planting Conditions
While the aloe vera is a tough plant, it is not quite as resilient as its ‘cousins’ the agave and the cactus. Certain care has to be given to the aloe in order for it to survive. One such example is sunlight.
With agave and cactus, it’s very hard to explore the possibility of “too much” sunlight. The aloe however is a different story. Too much direct sunlight can result in the plant drying out. Cold weather is another factor. Aloe plants tend to freeze if left out in winter conditions too long.
For these reasons, it is often best to plant your aloe in a pot rather than planting it directly into the ground. This way you can easily move the aloe in or out of the house based on its needs; such as the current weather or rationing its sunlight.
Aloe plants tend to grow towards sunlight like any plant, but they are healthiest when they can grow upright. If your aloe plant is starting to lean, you can rotate the pot to ration out which side of the plant is being given access to sunlight.
Keep in mind that succulents tend to have longer and stronger roots than most plants, so you will need a wave pot with plenty of space for your aloe to grow.
When it comes to watering, be sure not to over-water your aloe. Keep in mind that succulents are built to retain water and use it slowly, and are not designed to have constant access to more water every day.
After you water your aloe plant, wait for the soil to completely dry at least two inches below the surface. This is how you will know your aloe is ready for more water. If the leaves start to dry or curl on your aloe plant, then you know it could stand to have more water because it is starting to dry out.
The soil you plant your agave in is also very important. Most gardening stores have a well-drained soil mix that is intended for cactus plants. Cactus-mix soil tends to work best for most succulents, including aloe vera.