Aloe vera is a handy plant to have around the house to help soothe cuts, burns and insect bites. Most aloe vera plants will readily set out baby plants, or pups, that you can propagate. These young plants are good for potted presents, or even for planting in other areas of the house for ready access in case of minor injuries. They make a lovely centerpiece to a cactus garden, or you can plant them in mass, spaced 1 to 2 feet apart.
Prepare an area in your garden, or a container, to grow the pups that has ample light and good drainage. You can mound the planting area in your garden to make sure water doesn’t gather at the roots of the aloe vera. Any container you plant aloe pups in should have plenty of drainage holes at the bottom and be wide enough not to topple over when the aloe gets bigger and heavier.
Fill the container or amend the garden soil with a mix of one part sharp sand to two parts well-rotted compost. You may purchase succulent soil mixes from garden centers, but the organic content of these mixes varies.
Gently loosen the soil around the pup using a small, handheld garden pick. Pups are usually sheltered near or under the semi-rigid, large lower leaves of the adult aloe vera plant. Be careful not to break these lower leaves of the parent plant when removing the pups. You might have to cut pups away from the parent plant with a sharp, disinfected knife.
Allow cut pups to heal and form a scab over the cut wound for two to three days before transplanting. The wounds are an entry point for soil-borne diseases, so the scabbing will protect the plant from them.
Dig a small depression in the mix as deep and wide as the pup’s roots. Set the pup into the hole, suspending it while you back-fill (if necessary) so that the crown of the plant sits at the same level as the surrounding soil. Back-fill with the soil you dug out to make the depression.
Water the soil to give your new aloe a kick-start, but don’t water again until the soil has dried out. Aloe vera can get root rot if you water it too frequently.
Things You Will Need
- Wide planting container with large drainage hole(s)
- Sharp sand
- Well-rotted compost
- Succulent soil mix (optional)
- Garden gloves
- Hand-held garden pick
- Sharp knife, cleaned and disinfected
- Consider using clay or wooden containers because they don't hold water as long as plastic or ceramic containers.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from the spines along the edges of both the adult aloe vera plant and the pups.
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