Aloe Vera (Aloe barbanensis) is a succulent plant that naturally grows in hot climates and dry soil. It has many uses in different fields. Its uses vary from topical use for skincare to internal use for alleviating different health conditions. Because the plant does not need a lot of requirements to grow, it is fairly easy to cultivate your own.
In learning how to grow Aloe Vera, one must decide which technique to use. You can either propagate a new plant from a fully grown one or buy a grown plant directly from a local store or Amazon. This article will help you grow Aloe Vera by planting a leaf.
Materials You Need to Grow Aloe Vera
- young Aloe vera leaf
- clay/terra cotta pot with a hole for draining
- Succulent soil
- watering can
- garden rocks/pebbles (optional)
Steps in Growing Aloe Vera
1. Cut an Aloe Vera Leaf From a Full-grown Plant
In this step, it is important to choose the best part of an Aloe Vera plant that you will grow. Do not use full-grown leaves.
Choose a part of the plant that is young with the height ranging from 3 inches to 5 inches (7.62-12.7 cm). The selected young plant must also have younger leaves growing with it. It is better if you can pluck the leaf with its roots for a higher chance of success. If this is not possible, just cut the selected leaf using a sharp knife.
2. Prepare Succulent Soil & Clay Pot
Because the Aloe Vera plant naturally thrives in dry regions, it is important to use a well-draining soil mix. Planting your Aloe vera in a soil that holds water for too long can result in rotting of its roots.
You can make your soil mixture by combining equal parts of potting soil and sand or buy succulent soil for a more precise mix. Brands like SunGro and Bonsai Jack have succulent soil with good reviews. These are both available on Amazon.
Clay-based pots are better to use when growing Aloe Vera than plastic pots. Terracotta earthenware dries faster and prevents overwatering which can lead to Aloe vera root decay. Also, make sure your pot has a hole for draining excess water. Being in wet soil for long periods is not healthy for the plant.
It is better to use big clay pots to support the development of your plant and to give its roots more space for additional growth. The plant will also grow bigger and its roots will expand so it is good to have a lot of space.
3. Set Up Your Young Plant
First, put soil in your clay pot until it is almost half full then put your young plant in place. Cover the plant properly with succulent soil but be careful not to let the leaf touch it to prevent rotting. You can press the soil down around the young leaf for additional support. Additionally, you can add a very small amount of compost or fertilizer on top of the soil to nourish it.
You can also use rocks to top your soil to support the plant in place. Moreover, this pebble layer can serve as a concealment layer to lessen evaporation during hot weather conditions. In places with cold climates, these stones can help provide warmth to your plant by reflecting heat from the sun to the base of your plant.
After planting your Aloe Vera, give it time to establish and repair itself. During this repair and establishment period, do not water your succulent. Watering it right away may cause its roots to rot, mist the plant with a spray bottle every 3 days instead. Give your plant 1 to 2 weeks before watering its roots thoroughly.
Additionally, while your plant is still young, do not expose it to direct sunlight. It is best to place it in a warm, bright shade part with indirect sunlight for the first 1-2 months. The first time you water your plant after letting it settle in on its new pot, water it lightly.
You will know that your Aloe Vera plant has already established itself when it starts to grow in size and can stand on its own without the need for support. Try to pull on its leaf to test if its already firmly rooted.
Maintenance for your Full Grown Aloe Vera
- To give your plant the habitat as close as its environment in the wild, make sure to place it on a place with sunlight. Leaves that are inclined downward mean your plant needs more exposure to the sun. A healthy Aloe Vera plant must have leaves that are in an upward or outward angle.
- Extreme heat can burn your plant’s leaves resulting in a brown discoloration. Put it in a shaded area during the hottest times of the day to prevent this.
- During summer or if the weather is warm and sunny, it is okay to let your soil be dry before watering it. Your soil must be at least 3 inches dry. Water the plant for only once every 3 weeks. However, when the leaves become thin and curled, the plant is not receiving enough water. Increase the frequency of watering the plant if this happens.
- During colder months, water less frequently. Once a month is okay.
- Yellow discoloration and falling apart of your plant means you are overwatering it. Stop watering for 2 to 3 weeks to save your plant. A healthy Aloe Vera plant must have green, thick leaves growing upward.
- Carefully remove weeds growing around your plant to prevent damage to its roots. There no need to put fertilizer on a grown plant because it might lead to unhealthy growth. If you wish to fertilize your plant, do it once a year using small amounts.
Trying to grow an Aloe Vera plant is easy even for beginners. The plant does not need a lot of care to maintain. Aside from consuming its juice for improving health and using its gel for skin conditions and healing, it is a good addition to visually improve the appearance of your lush, green garden.