Grow Your Own Aloe Vera Plant, Soothe Summer Skin Nasties
Summer's almost here and with that comes the lovely season's less glamorous side: sunburns, mosquito bites, and more minor scrapes and cuts from little Susie's spazzy bicycle stunts out in the driveway.
You can—more easily than you think. Miracle plant, aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is one of the simpler house plants to grow if you have a less-than-green thumb. It's also versatile in that you can grow the plant indoors situated on a kitchen windowsill or in the garden if you live in a very warm and dry climate.
I turned to trusty How Stuff Works to get the dirt on cultivating your own aloe plant:
Aloe Vera Indoors
Warmth and sunlight are keys to growing aloe plants, so give them bright light indoors and partial shade when they
Here are the different varieties of aloe that can be grown in your home:
A. aristata Lace aloe: The small tight rosette of gray-green leaves is covered in tiny white spikes. Occasionally produces a spike of orange flowers.
A. variegata Partridge-breasted aloe: Overlapping V-shaped leaves form a tight rosette and are banded with white. A spike of orange-pink flowers may develop.
A. vera: This interesting plant is useful and easy to grow. In optimum growing conditions the loose rosette of very fleshy, gray-green, toothed leaves may produce a flower spike bearing dozens of tubular yellow flowers.
Aloe Vera Outside
If you live in a very warm climate, you can plant aloe in your garden following these additional guidelines from How Stuff Works:
Choose small to medium varieties and install them in rows, with each plant 18 to 24 inches apart. The plantings will expand into attractive large clumps within two to three years. Leave the earth bare around aloes to highlight their striking sculptural quality and regularly groom older clumps to keep offshoots from cluttering up the plant
Additional tips include:
Position: Aloe requires a sunny position and a very well-drained soil.
Propagation: Aloe vera can be raised from seed, but it rarely sets seed in other than warm climates. Propagate it from offsets that form at the base of the plant. Allow these plantlets to dry for two days before planting them into small pots filled with a gritty, free-draining potting mix. Once they are well established, transfer them to their permanent position.
Maintenance: Aloe is affected by even light frosts, and in areas where winter temperatures fall below 41
Put Aloe's Magic to Work
The best part about aloe is its practicality! The plant can actually be used to heal scrapes, burns and other skin irritations. Use a knife to cut a leaf of the plant off at its thick base. Then use a spoon to scoop out the gel-like sap and apply it to the skin.
::How Stuff Works