Aloe serves as a practical plant for use around the home. Aloe's primary use includes the medicinal use as a burn treatment. Aloe plants feature fat, succulent leaves containing a gel-like pulp that can be applied directly to burns. Familiar types of this plant include aloe vera, a thick-leafed variety commonly seen in garden centers and homes. Gardeners tend to grow aloe as a houseplant although it can be used as a garden accent plant in warm climates. Aloe comes in 180 different varieties ranging from standard clumping plants to larger tree-like specimens.
Aloe thrives in the home environment with an even indoor temperature between 65 and 70 degrees F. Aloe can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Bring plants inside the house or shelter by covering during cold snaps.
Aloe plants prefer bright sunlight and prefer direct sun throughout the day. Light conditions should include strong indirect sunlight when grown outdoors. Place indoor plants near a window featuring either direct sun or bright light for the majority of the day.
Aloe stores moisture in the thick, fat leaves of the plant. This storage allows the plant to withstand a little neglect from the owner. However, plants should be watered regularly to ensure even moisture distribution throughout the planter. Plants should be watered differently than regular houseplants. The best regimen for watering aloe entails a scheduled watering every 2 to 3 weeks. Wait until the surface soil of the planter dries completely before watering.
Aloe's classification as a succulent allows the plant to tolerate infrequent watering. Aloe must be placed in a location that allows water to drain properly from the bottom of the pot. Many plants die from too-frequent watering that creates a pool of water around the plant roots. This plant prefers a well-drained planting environment that dries out between watering.
Aloe makes a good indoor plant because of its forgiving nature. Standard potting mixes work well to create the perfect growing environment for the aloe. Choose a mix containing perlite, peat and sand to increase the drainage capability of the soil.
Outdoor Planting Conditions
Aloe will thrive in hot, dry climates with its water-retention capabilities. This plant looks beautiful in rock gardens and requires minimal care throughout the growing season. Plant aloe outdoors in well-drained soil in a sunny location. Initial planting should occur after all danger of frost has passed. Move the aloe into a pot for use inside the home before the first frost in the fall.