There are many species of plants in the Aloe genus. Aloe plants are succulents that store moisture in thick leaves. Succulents like Aloe vera are frequently used as an ornamental plant indoors in temperate areas and outdoors in warmer areas. Aloe vera can be as small as several inches across to over 2 feet in diameter.
The Aloe vera plant is one of two species of Aloe that have medicinal value. Other species of Aloe are either inert or are poisonous, so identifying the plant as Aloe vera is important. If you are planning to use the plant for medicinal purposes, buy one from a reputable garden center or nursery to be assured of getting the correct species. Aloe is used in many traditional medicines for gastrointestinal musculoskeletal disorders, as well as many other conditions. The juice of a cut leaf is also used to treat minor burns.
Aloe vera plants can be propagated through seeds, suckers or cuttings. In fact, if you keep your Aloe vera in a large pot and give it adequate water and light, eventually it will sprout young aloe plants alongside the parent. Dig up these young plants and grow them in smaller pots. Over time, a single Aloe vera can become numerous young plants that go on to produce yet more young plants.
Although it will grow in partial sun or partial shade, Aloe vera grows best in full sun. If you cannot find direct sun, it can grow well in intense indirect light. In the summer, your Aloe vera can thrive if grown outside in full sun. You can then bring it inside for the winter and place it in as bright a location as practical.
Soil and Water
Aloe vera grows best in natural soils that are rocky and poor for other plants. However, it can also grow well in rich soils, as long as they drain well. When watering your Aloe vera plant, be sure to let the soil dry out between watering. Aloe is very sensitive to waterlogged soils and can suffer from root rot.
Although it can grow well either indoors or as a combined potted indoor and outdoor plant in most areas, it can also grow outside year around in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. It will not tolerate freezing, so be sure to bring it inside or cover it with a heat source if you are expecting a sudden cold snap.