Caring for Your Aloe Vera Plants: A Natural Medicine Chest!

4 Materials
$5
20 Minutes
Easy
Aloe Veraplants are a succulent. Like all succulents, Aloe is relatively slow growing. Aloe are a common houseplant, and can be purchased everywhere. They don't need repotting often but when they do, there are some tricks.

Aloe can also be planted in warm-weather outside gardens with hardiness zones 10b or above, where temperatures remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit year round. But outside planting requires dry conditions. They prefer full sun, but can tolerate some shade.

Aloe are a plant which has real benefits. Cutting a leaf and rubbing the jell like substance found inside on minor cuts and minor burns can assist with healing. Be sure to check with your doctor first. The leaves that have been removed will not grow back, but the plant will continue to grow new ones.

Beyond it’s healing properties, Aloe is said to help clear benzene and formaldehyde from room air. These chemicals are a byproduct of wall to wall carpeting, chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. So having them around helps make a home -healthy!

I had two pots of Aloe Vera purchased from the grocery store last year. They had outgrown their pots, and were falling over at times. So the time had come for repotting.
When I cannot do repotting chores outside, I use my kitchen table and cover with newspaper. This makes clean up easier.

Repot using a cactus potting soil mix. If this is not available use regular potting soil and add additional perlite or building sand. One bag will last thru several re-pottings. I keep this on hand.
When choosing a pot, wider is better than deep, as the roots grow across instead of down into the pot. I used a hanging basket pot, with the hanging stems removed. This is one I already had, recycled from another project. They are available at home stores.
Make sure that the pot you are choosing has plenty of drainage holes. This is especially true for Aloe Vera. Never plant in a pot that does not have drainage holes.
I take standard coffee filters to place at the bottom. I keep coffee filters on hand, as I use this type in my coffee maker. The filter keeps the soil from running out of the drainage holes. In this case I had to use two coffee filters . I Just overlapped them.
Repotting plants is a chance to recycle Styrofoam. My community does not recycle Styrofoam, so I have finally found a use for it. I take a section and break it into little "stone size" pieces. It does not add weight to your pot like stones do, but adds drainage material. You can also use small stones, old broken pieces of clay flower pots, small clam shells or similar materials for drainage. Place the broken up Styrofoam over the coffee filters. Make sure the Styrofoam you are using it the type that does NOT biodegrade.

Then add one cup or two cups of the cacti potting mix on top of the Styrofoam. Remove the plants from the original pots. Do not dislodge the soil from around the roots. Next add the  plants on top of the soil. In this case, I placed both plants into the same pot.

Place the plants in the pot. Holding the plants, add additional soil until you fill the pot to about 1/2 to 1/4 from the pot rim. Apply a small amount of pressure with your hands.

Water well, letting the water drain from the pot into the sink.  DO NOT leave any water in a saucer under the pot. These plants do not like their "feet" wet. It will cause the roots to rot.

Water sparingly every 3-4 weeks. I water my succulent house plants the first of every month. This way I keep track of watering, and do not over water.

Place it in the sunniest area inside your home. They like sun.

If you place the pot into a more decorative container as I have, make sure you remove the pot they are actually planted in, from the decorative container, to water. I had this container. Thrift shops have lots of containers to choose from. Check around your house for bowls and similar which you already have. Old soup tureens also work well as a decorative container.

Let water drain out from the pot for 15-30 minutes after watering, before you put it back into the decorative pot. I sit mine in the sink to drain after watering. Over watering or letting Aloe sit in water will cause root rot.
Enjoy the Aloe Vera!

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2 of 23 comments
  • Dowo Dowo on Jun 12, 2018

    I'm going to buy an aloe plant to keep in my kitchen. Thanks for the pointers.

  • Joann Joann on Nov 26, 2018

    I am going to try this project. I am not successful when trying to grow or replant my Aloe Vera plant.

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