Aloe Vera is one of more than 350 species of aloe, a succulent perennial native to Southern Africa. Aloe Vera thrives in United States hardiness zones 8 to 11. It can be grown in humid and tropical climates, and tolerates rain and humidity well. It is particularly suited for arid regions because it retains water well, prefers growing medium on the dry side, and can survive mild to moderate droughts. They are preferably grown in full or partial sun. Aloe is frost tender, and will rarely survive temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aloe Vera can be grown from seed, though plants grown indoors rarely render seeds. Aloe seeds can be planted in a blend of peat and sand mixed with compost. They should be kept moist, but not soggy, and in a warm location. Germination generally takes up to four months.
Aloe Vera plants are more commonly propagated by separating offshoots, known as "pups," that grow at the base of a mature plant. Once the pups are at least three inches tall, they can be pulled apart from the mother plant and replanted in a pot, or directly into the ground.
Aloes grown indoors or in partial shade should be hardened off if being moved to full sun. Suddenly being placed in full sun can cause a plant to stew in it's own moisture. Hardening off is achieved by acclimating the plant to a new sunny spot slowly. Plants can be moved from shady or indoor spaces to sunny locations during early morning or late day for a period of several days. Each day, the amount of time in direct sun exposure is lengthened so that the plant will adapt. Very harsh sun should be avoided as it causes browning of the leaves.
Aloe plants are generally easy to grow because they require minimal care. Occasional feedings and light watering is usually all the plant needs to thrive. Good soil drainage is essential, as it is best to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering.
Pups should always be separated from the mother plant, as they will sap nutrients and water from it. While aloes are fairly resistant to most garden pests, regular inspections and quick action when pests are found can help prevent problems. The first sign of pests should be washed away with a burst of a hose or insecticidal soap.
It is beneficial to grow aloes in pots in hardiness zone above 9b so that the plant can be taken indoors at the first signs of frost.