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Aloe vera is an easygoing desert native. The gel inside acts as a traditional sunburn soother, relieving redness when applied topically to mild burns. If you give this plant bright, indirect light and a good watering every two weeks you’d be happy at the rewards.
Plant aloe in a terra cotta pot with well-drained dirt. Mix equal parts sand and potting soil or buy a special succulent mix. The terra cotta also dries faster than other plastic or glazed containers. Repot your aloe if the weight of the plant causes tipping, but otherwise don’t worry about giving it lots of space. This plant thrives in snug conditions.
Place your aloe in a bright, sunny place. Otherwise it will go dormant and stop growing. Water the plant heavily about once every two weeks, waiting until the soil dries out fully. Since this is a desert species, keeping the dirt moist will cause the roots to rot. Limp or brown leaves also signal you’ve overdone the H20. For those in the North the potted plant could be moved outdoors for the summer, but don’t put it in direct sunlight right away. Gradually place it in a brighter spot every few days to prevent overexposure.
Growing the plant outdoor
In Guyana the plant could be nurtured outside. When picking a spot, look for a well-drained bed. You won’t need to water your aloe with the exception of droughts. If it hasn’t rained in months, give it a good soaking and then let the soil dry out again.
How to care for the plant
Your aloe will produce a tall stalk of small, bell-shaped flowers from time to time. Once the blooms fade, you can snip the stem off at the base. Even better, aloe plants also produce new, smaller plants perfect for propagation. If you notice one of these “babies,” dump out the dirt and tease apart the roots of the different plants, replanting in separate containers.
How to harvest aloe
Apart from this plant providing pretty decoration, the leaves contain a clear gel that’s a popular home remedy. According to the Mayo Clinic, this substance may shorten the healing of first- and second-degree burns and promote wound healing. Applying aloe gel to the skin could also help reduce acne and redness caused by mild to moderate psoriasis. However, the Mayo Clinic does not recommend ingesting aloe as eating too much could cause kidney damage.
You can snip off an aloe leaf (as close to stem as possible) when you need it and rub the juicy end on a sunburn or sore spot. Some like to use aloe vera juice as a hair conditioner, makeup remover, or even brow gel. While there’s no guarantee it’ll work as well some of your favorite products, you can get more of the juice by slitting the spike lengthwise and scooping out the contents with a spoon.
As long as your plant stays healthy, it’ll just keeping making more!
Take a look at Niyya’s impressive houseplant journey which started during the pandemic.