With more than 250 types of aloe plants in the world, it's no wonder they are so popular. The most commonly grown of the succulents is called Aloe barbadensis or Aloe vera. Not only does it serve as an attractive houseplant, but it the gel inside the leaves has medicinal properties. It is used to treat sunburns, rashes and cuts. Mature specimens of aloe plants bloom in the early summer, having a tall stalk lined with brightly colored coral flowers. Hummingbirds use the flowers' nectar as food. Many factors play a role in making an aloe plant bloom, including sunlight, fertilizer, water and pruning.
Use a loose, well-draining soil when planting Aloe vera. A potting mix made for cactus works well to promote blooming. There are also potting soils with sand or perlite mixed in. Be sure to use an appropriately sized container when planting aloe. A 1-foot-tall plant can grow well in a 6-inch container.
Feed aloe plants once a month. Apply a food that is specifically made for a cactus or succulents, but only use it at half strength. Anything stronger can kill the plant.
Keep the Aloe vera plant in the warmest, sunniest spot possible. Keep it outside in the warmest months if your climate is fairly dry. In most regions, a sunny window is just fine. Aloes are 95 percent water, so they are very prone to frost damage. For this reason, don't take chances outdoors, unless you know for sure the nighttime temperatures will remain warm.
Water the aloe plant every two to three weeks to make it bloom. The soil should be moist but never wet. You want it to dry out completely for seven to ten days between waterings, and water it even less in the wintertime. Too much water will drown the aloe and cause root rot.
Remove the small aloe plants, called offshoots, that grow at the base of the parent plant. Cut them off and replant them in separate containers, if desired.