Aloe vera plants serve as one of the easiest and useful houseplants. Aloe requires little care and even less water due to the succulent nature of the plant's leaves. This plant has well-known medicinal uses, including topical application for burns and wounds, and is a useful beauty product. Aloe vera plant care involves proper planting techniques and choice of growing location.
Aloe produces thick leaves as a true succulent plant that stores water in its foliage. Leaf color is light green with each leaf featuring rows of nubby spikes. Leaves may grow up to 10 inches or more in potted environments. Aloe vera produces no flowers and grows in a rosette fashion with stems arching away from the plant center. The thick leaves of the plant are used to treat minor burns, itching, cuts and bug bites.
Drainage is everything to an indoor aloe vera plant so choose a pot with plenty of drainage holes. Mix additional coarse sand or perlite with new potting soil or, better yet, use a commercial cactus potting mix for planting the aloe vera. Place tuberous roots just below the potting soil surface level and gently firm the soil around the root.
Aloe loves the bright sun and prefers a spot on a south- or west-facing windowsill. When aloe grows in a natural environment, it prefers full sun and tolerates the intense heat of the desert. Move aloe outdoors during the summer but try to mimic the bright light requirements.
Watering and Fertilizing
The succulent leaves of the aloe vera houseplant allow gardeners to water these plants quite sparingly. Plants must dry out between watering to limit rot of the low-lying roots. Fertilize the aloe plant once a year in the spring by mixing a small amount of standard houseplant fertilizer for application when watering the plant. As with most plants, water the aloe plant around the root area and avoid splashing water over the foliage.
Warmer climates allow gardeners to place the aloe plant outside in the garden. These locations must experience no frost at all to protect the plant. Aloe will produce flowers in this growing situation that feature a long-stemmed flower. Flowers appear in a tubular shape in brilliant yellow in the spring. Mature plant leaves can reach up to 18 inches or more in the optimum-growing environment. Aloe has long been used for medicinal purposes both as a topical application and in teas for ingestion. This plant is considered toxic so position it in a location where family and pets won't ingest the sap from the leaves.