Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a desert-dwelling succulent from the dry areas of the Mediterranean. Being a prickly plant that thrives in hot, dry, climates, aloe vera is often associated with the cactus. Despite their similarities in climate preference and prickly thorns, aloe vera is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae), with closer ties to tulips and asparagus then cactuses. Aloe plants produce "pups," or offsets, small clones of the parent plant that form around its base. To clone an aloe plant, you must successfully remove and transplant these offsets.
Identify the new offsets growing from the base of your aloe plant. They will emerge from under the leaves at the base of the parent plant. Wait until the offsets are 3 inches tall before you remove them. The new plants need the support of the parent plant for the first few weeks for successful transplanting.
Remove the parent plant and offsets from the pot. Turn the pot on its side and gently wiggle the aloe free. If your aloe is growing outside in the soil, brush away the earth around the base of the plants to expose the place where the offsets attach to the stem.
Work the offsets free from the parent plant. Use your fingers and gently loosen the soil and roots around the offsets until they pull away from the parent plant. Be careful not to damage the new offsets.
Fill a 4-inch planting pot with a cactus compost soil from your local garden store. Cactus compost mix has important nutrients for cactuses and succulents, and it is composed of well draining materials. These desert-dwelling plants are particularly sensitive to wet, heavy soils. Fill one pot for each offset. Select pots that have drainage holes in the bottom so that water can drain out.
Dig a hole in the center of each pot. Place one offset in each pot so that the roots and the base of the stem are covered with soil. Pat down the soil to secure the offset. Add water until it begins to seep from the drainage holes. Place the pot in the sink to drain fully.
Put the potted offsets on a sunny windowsill or porch. Aloe vera is a warm-climate plant. If you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 10 to 11, you can plant and grow aloe vera outside. In cooler areas, keep your aloe vera plants in pots indoors in a sunny spot.
Things You Will Need
- 4-inch planting pot
- Cactus compost mix