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How to Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant

Three Parts:Providing Sun, Water and FertilizerRepotting AloePropagating and Using Aloe

Aloe plants are native to tropical regions, but even if you live in a place with cold winters you can have a beautiful, healthy aloe plant that you keep indoors. Aloe plants should be potted in a soil mix made for succulents. They like to be dry and warm, not wet and cold, so water only when the soil is mostly dried out. Healthy aloe plants produce "babies" you can break off and pot for a friend.

Part 1
Providing Sun, Water and Fertilizer

  1. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 1
    Place the aloe in a sunny spot. A sunny kitchen window or another sunny place in your house is perfect for an aloe plant. Aloe also does fine in areas with indirect sunlight. Aloe in full shade will not thrive, so make sure there's a least a little sun in the room where you place the aloe.
    • You can move the plant outdoors in the summer months as long as there is no chance of frost. Aloe plants are made up of 95 percent water, and even a slight frost will freeze them and turn them to mush.[1]
    • If you live in a warm growing zone and are planting your aloe outdoors, choose a place that gets full sun (six to eight hours of sunlight a day).
  2. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 2
    Water deeply, but sparingly. Aloe plants are pretty low-maintenance, since they don't require much water. Wait until the soil is dry at least two inches below the surface, then water slowly and deeply until you see water coming through the drainage holes. Do not water the aloe again until the soil is dry at least two inches below the surface once more. In most environments this equates to watering once every week and a half to two weeks, and less in the winter.[2]
    • If you've just repotted your aloe, wait two or three days before watering. This gives the roots time to adjust to the new soil before taking in water.
    • When in doubt, water less, not more. When aloe is overwatered, the roots begin to rot, and the plant eventually dies. It's better to wait a few extra days if you're not sure whether it's time to water.
    • If you truly love your aloe plant, consider using rainwater. When it rains, the aloe gets watered, and when it doesn't the aloe goes without. This replicates the aloe's natural environment.[3]
  3. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 3
    Fertilize the aloe during the growing season. From April through September, the aloe will grow vigorously. You can help it along if you'd like by providing some fertilizer twice a month during these months. Dilute a 15-30-15 fertilizer by mixing it with water, one part fertilizer to five parts water. Deliver the fertilizer on the days when you water.
    • Stop fertilizing during the winter, since the plant can't use fertilizer when it isn't actively growing.[4]

Part 2
Repotting Aloe

  1. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 4
    Take a look at the pot the aloe came in. Aloe plants often come in flimsy and small plastic pots when you first buy them. To help your aloe last for years, it's a good idea to repot it in in a bigger pot where it will have more room. If the aloe is already in a large, sturdy clay pot with holes in the bottom, you don't necessarily need to repot it.
  2. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 5
    Get a potting mix for cacti. Aloe, like other cacti, prefer dry, sandy soil, and they don't do well in the rich moisture of regular potting soil. Check your garden store for a mix made especially for cacti or succulents, plants that store their water and prefer their roots to be dry instead of wet.
    • If you live in growing zones 10 to 11, where there is no chance of freezing, you can grow your aloe outdoors as a garden plant instead of as an indoor house plant. Amend the soil by breaking it up and working in a bag of soil for succulents. If the soil where you live is extra rich and wet, work in some sand to make sure it's well-draining.[5]
  3. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 6
    Chose a pot three times larger than the aloe's root ball. The root ball is the mixture of roots and dirt at the base of the aloe plant. Aloe loves to spread out and grow, so you want to choose a big pot that gives your plant plenty of room. Get a clay pot with drainage holes and a tray to place underneath to catch the soil and water.
    • After several months or a year of care, you might notice your aloe plant is starting to outgrow its pot. If the aloe leaves are as tall as the pot, it's time to graduate your plant to a bigger container. Buy a new pot that's three times as large as the current size of the root ball and repot it.
  4. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 7
    Pot the aloe so that the leaves stand above the soil. Fill the pot partially with soil, then set the aloe's root ball right in the middle. Place more soil around the root ball, all the way up to the base of the leaves. Pat it lightly with your hands to keep the aloe plant in place.
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    Spread pebbles or shells over the exposed dirt. This will help to hold in moisture and replicate the aloe's natural environment. Choose any type of small pebbles, rocks or shells that you like. Press them lightly into the soil at the base of the plant.

Part 3
Propagating and Using Aloe

  1. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 9
    Propagate the "babies". These are the tiny aloe plants that sprout from the main plant. When you see a baby that has fully formed, detach it from the mother plant, taking care not to break the roots. Set it on a clean, dry shelf to let it callous over for a couple of days. Then repot it in a small pot using potting soil for succulents or cacti.
    • If the baby has no roots, you can still propagate it. Fill a small pot with the correct potting soil and place the baby cut-side down on top of the soil. Instead of watering it, spritz it with water every few days. Eventually you should see some roots start to sprout. When you do, you can pot it in the soil.
  2. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 10
    Use your aloe plant to heal burns. Aloe plants can be very handy to have around since they provide immediate relief for sunburns and other types of burns. If you spent a day in the sun and your skin is red, break off an aloe leave and rub it over your skin, or squeeze the gel from the plant and rub it in. The area where you broke the leaf will callous over an the plant will be just fine.
    • You can place the broken-off leaf in the refrigerator to cool it down, then rub it over your burn.
    • Don't use aloe on open skin or wounds that are below the surface of your skin. Use it only on surface burns. If you have a major burn, see a doctor instead.
  3. Image titled Care for Your Aloe Vera Plant Step 11
    Make face masks, hair conditioner, soap, and much more. Aloe vera gel is a wonderful natural moisturizer, making it the perfect ingredient to add to all sorts of body products. You can use pure aloe gel on your skin as a moisturizer or mix it with other ingredients to make masks and other products. Try the following concoctions:
    • Aloe face mask: mix 1 teaspoon aloe gel, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 teaspoon cosmetic clay. Apply to your face for 15 minutes, then rinse.
    • Aloe hair conditioner: mix 1 teaspoon aloe gel, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon honey. Smooth into your hair for 1 hour, then shampoo as usual.
    • Aloe skin cream: mix 1 teaspoon aloe gel and 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Smooth onto your hands and feet.


  • If you have cats make sure you don't let them nibble your Aloe Vera plant!

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Categories: Gardening