Although the aloe plant is native to Africa, over 250 species are found around the world. The most recognized variety is the aloe vera plant because of its medicinal value. The inside leaves of the plant contain a gel that helps to heal burns and provides relief from bug bites and stings. Aloe plants are also a common choice for house and garden plants. As long as they are given proper lighting and soil conditions, aloe plants are easy to grow and propagate.
Lighting and Temperature Requirements
Since aloe plants have certain temperature requirements, it is best to grow them in a potted plant so they can be moved indoors and outdoors according to weather conditions. Because aloe plants are semitropical, they do not thrive outdoors in cold conditions. When temperatures fall low enough to cause a frost, aloe plants should be moved indoors. During warm weather months, the plants can be moved outdoors into full sun.
Aloe plants are simple to grow indoors year round. They need plenty of light during most of the day. Aloe plants that flower thrive best near a window that gets full sun.
Soil and Watering Care
Aloe plants do not require a lot of water because they are a succulent plant. As such, their leaves and expansive root system store water. In addition, the roots of the aloe plant grow shallow, rather than deep, in the soil. To avoid overwatering, wait for the soil to dry out completely between each watering.
During winter months, the aloe plant becomes dormant and does not require much water. On the other hand, summer months are when the plant does all its growing and needs plenty of water. During this period, water until the soil is soaked and then water again when the soil feels completely dry. In addition to watering, add fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Soil conditions are also important to the health of the aloe plant. Either a cacti mix or a commercial potting soil that has coarse sand, granite grit, or extra perlite added for fast drainage is preferred.
When to Transplant
It is time to transplant an aloe plant to a bigger pot when its root system has expanded nearly the entire width of the pot. When repotting an aloe plant, choose width over depth when selecting a container. This will accommodate the plant's wide, yet shallow, root system. A container with drainage holes is also a necessity.
When repotting, consider propagating several other aloe plants by removing new offshoots and planting each of them in a separate container.