There are more than 250 species of aloe plants in the world. The semitropical succulents vary in size from miniature to massive. The most common type is the Aloe barbadensis, also known as aloe vera. Aloe can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, where there is no chance of the temperature reaching freezing. Most people, however, grow aloe inside as houseplants. Aloe vera has medicinal purposes, with its nectar commonly used to treat burns, rashes and cuts. It is a good idea to trim an aloe plant to keep it under control.
Cut off leaves that are dead or dying. Leaves on the outside of the plant may turn yellow and wilt, which may mean the plant is getting too big for its container. Removing the leaves will make the rest of the aloe less crowded.
Pull an outside leaf down to get to the gel inside. Keep it away from other leaves to avoid injury, cutting it close to the base of the plant. Use as much of the gel as you need, making new cuts along the removed leaf to freshen the supply.
Control the aloe's size by taking off an outer leaf. It's OK to remove them, even if they are healthy and green in color.
Remove offshoots, which look like tiny aloe plants growing from the base. This is how the plant naturally propagates. Each offshoot will grow into a full-sized plant, so cut them off to control the size of the parent aloe. Replant offshoots in other containers if desired.
Trim an aloe plant's rosettes. Large varieties of aloe, which grow outdoors, have huge flower stalks called rosettes. They grow up to 30 feet high, then die after producing flowers. The rosette will also fall over, making it a hazard. Prune it by cutting near the main plant.