Aloe plants are a group of flowering succulents from Africa. They have long leaves with little spikes on the leaf edges. Their flowers are tubular and red, pink or yellow in colour. They grow from long, leafless stems.
Aloes are good, low maintenance houseplants. There are around 400 varieties. Most popular is Aloe Vera.
The aloe likes heat and sunshine. Place it at a window that gets a lot of direct sun. South-facing if you’re in the northern hemisphere or north-facing if you’re in the southern hemisphere.
Plant your aloes in a pot that has a drainage hole at the bottom. Ideally, use a clay pot to ensure good aeration. Use a cactus or succulent soil mix to ensure that water drains quickly.
Aloes should not be planted deeply in the soil. Their roots like to be near the surface. Doing this will also prevent lower leaves from rotting.
Propagation from a Cutting
If you want to take an aloe cutting, follow these steps:
- Choose a new, actively growing leaf from an adult plant
- In a single, clean cut, cut off the leaf using a sharp blade
- If you have some rooting hormone, apply it to the cutting
- Plant the cutting in cactus or succulent potting soil, which has quite a high sand content to improve drainage
- Water to fully dampen the soil
- Rooting should happen in four to six weeks
When you water your aloe, the soil should be completely soaked. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.
As with many plants, there are many claims of aloes’ medicinal properties. There is little evidence that most of these claims are true, so I generally take them with a pinch of salt.