Aloe vera plants, often referred to as "burn plants" due to their soothing effect on burns, are one of the most commonly grown houseplants. Aloes prefer soil that remains relatively dry, and they tend to do better in cramped quarters than in a pot with lots of growing room. Aloes can be started from seed, by division or by planting the young offsets of a mother plant. They grow quickly once established, so you should have a full pot of aloe in no time, no matter which method you use to start your plant.
Starting an Aloe Plant from Seed
Prepare a mixture of 50 percent peat and 50 percent sand. Add the mixture to a plant flat or small container.
Sprinkle the aloe seeds across the soil, and cover with a very thin layer of compost.
Add just enough water to dampen the soil well. Keep the flat or container moist, but not overly wet, until the seedlings are large enough to transplant into their own pots.
Place the flat or container in a sunny location that maintains a temperature of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take the seeds from one to four months to sprout.
Starting an Aloe Plant from Offsets or By Division
Divide aloe by slicing off the desired cutting with a sharp knife just below the soil's surface. If planting offsets, gently pull them from the soil when they are 3 to 4 inches tall. Place your fingers at the base of the offset when removing it to prevent damage to the stem.
Add a thin layer of small pebbles to the bottom of your chosen flower pot. This will ensure good drainage.
Fill the flower pot up to 1 inch below the top of the pot with cactus growing mix.
Plant the aloe plant at the same level as it was growing in its original container. Pat the soil down firmly around the aloe to remove any air bubbles, and add just enough water to make the soil stick to your fingers.
Place the pot in your sunniest windowsill. Turn the pot weekly to prevent the aloe plant from "leaning" in one direction toward the sun.
About this Author
Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.