Aloe vera is an ideal addition to any landscape, for its rapid attractive growth (when pruned properly), medicinal value and simple maintenance. Although aloes are native to Africa, they are grown all over the world in more than 250 varieties, and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Older plants may bloom, sending up tall stems topped with coral-colored flowers.
Bring an indoor aloe plant outdoors if possible before trimming it, so you don't get debris or gel everywhere. If you cannot, layer newspaper around the plant's base to catch any of that debris.
Cut off dead, broken or diseased leaves, or leaves you are harvesting, as close as possible at the base, right where the leaf connects to the roots. When cutting, first start on the outside of the leaf and work your way in. Cut straight across with the scissors. Remove leaves that you want to harvest for scars, cuts, burns or cooking.
The best leaves for harvesting are the thickest and longest on the outside growth of the plant. Also choose leaves that are closest to the soil for harvesting, since they will be the oldest, most potent and beneficial. Always remove leaves from the outer layers, not from the younger, inner layers.
Use the pruning scissors to trim back aloe offshoots when they reach 2-3 inches in height, if desired. These usually grow from the outer edges, or right in the center of the aloe plant and resemble small tendrils. Use the scissors to chop these off right at their base. You can also use your hands to gently tug them out of the ground so some roots are still attached. Replant them in other parts of your landscape or new planter pots, packing the soil around the base of the offshoot.