Aloe vera plants are as useful as they are attractive. Aloe lotion can help prevent blistering from burns, relieve skin pain and soothe all manner of stings and itches. Because aloe vera is a cactus, it is also easy to care for. It is quite hardy and drought tolerant, and will barely look the worse for wear if you forget to water it for a couple of weeks.
Plant your aloe in a wide, shallow planter with a drainage hole in the bottom. Terra cotta pots are ideal, since they are porous, allowing excess water to quickly leave.
Fill the bottom 1 to 2 inches with gravel designed for growers. On top of that, put in cactus mix, covering the plant's root system.
Place your aloe plant beside a window which faces east or west and receives direct sunlight. Move it outside during the summer if you wish to, but keep it inside during the winter or any time the temperature approaches freezing.
Soak the soil during the spring and summer each time you water the aloe plant. Allow it to dry completely before you water your aloe vera again.
Get the soil moist but not damp when you water your aloe in the spring or winter. Again, wait for it to dry between waterings.
Fertilize your aloe with a 10-40-10 fertilizer in the spring, diluted to half strength.
Cut off offshoots of your aloe vera and plant them in new planters when your aloe plant begins to outgrow its pot. Offshoots look like miniature aloe plants along the base of the mother plant.
Cut off a large aloe leaf from the outer edge of the plant to get aloe gel. Slice the leaf vertically and carefully open it. Scoop out the aloe gel from the middle of the leaf. Apply the gel directly to a cut or scrape.