Aloe - what kind of plant is it?
Aloe (Aloë L.) is one of the most popular succulents in the world. Over 500 different species of this plant grow as shrubs or are planted in pots. The succulent has characteristic wide stems and thick leaves with spikes around them. Inside, there is “jelly” which, depending on the aloe plant type, might have healing properties.
Aloe is an ancient plant known for centuries - it was greatly valued in Ancient Egypt. It was associated with regenerative properties. Although only certain aloe species have health benefits, the plants are popular regardless of this fact. Potted aloe plant is a common decor in home interiors, as well as offices and school windowsills.
Where does aloe plant come from?
Aloe is a plant originating in Asia or Africa - depending on the species. But currently, there are many aloe species all over the world, so they come from various areas that have created beneficial conditions for their growth. These plants commonly appear in the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions.
Aloe plant - the most popular species
Aloe vera is the most common houseplant from this group. This species is one of the few that can be used in cosmetology and pharmacology. The flesh is the most valuable part of the plant, carrying a magnitude of benefits. Greenery enthusiasts also appreciate the delicate yellow flowers of aloe vera plant.
Candelabra aloe (Aloe arborescens) is another popular type. Because of its tendency to grow even up to 3 meters, it doesn’t appear as a potted plant that often. What’s worth mentioning, it achieves this height only in its natural habitat. When grown at home, the aloe plant doesn’t exceed 1 meter. Candelabra aloe has exceptional, beautiful orange flowers.
Bitter aloe (Aloe ferox) is another species offering healing properties. It is characteristic for its big size, as well as thick and long leaves - they can grow up to 1 meter in length.
Lace aloe (Aloe aristata) is a small potted plant - it reaches 25 cm in height at most. Apart from the thick leaves, this plant also has spikes and beautiful flowers in a Sicilian orange color.
Aloe plant care - what kind of soil does it need?
The soil you pick for an aloe plant depends greatly on its species. Although the mix cannot be just random, there is a universal type aloe plants like the most. Cactus soil mix with 7.0 - 8.5 pH is a good choice. We recommend enriching it with inorganic elements.
To make a perfect soil mix, you can also use:
- colorful sand,
- expanded clay,
Experts warn against store-bought mixes designed for aloe plants. Although they are typically available in gardening stores, so supposedly they should be trusted, the plants often have an adverse reaction to them.
Where to keep a potted aloe plant?
Aloe vera and other aloes like very bright locations, but it’s important that the light is indirect. For this reason, don’t place it directly on the windowsill. It’s better to put it, e.g. near the balcony door on the floor or on a flower stand.
If you live in a cold hardiness zone, you can put the aloe plant outside in summer - on a balcony or patio. Make sure the succulent is not exposed to direct sunlight and rain - it won’t survive such conditions.
Watering aloe vera - how often?
Aloe plants are among the least demanding ones when it comes to watering. You can water it once in two weeks, and it’s enough. Nothing will happen if you miss a few days, either. The leaves of this plant are thick for a reason. Aloe plant accumulates water in them, so it can survive without it for a long time.
Do I have to feed my aloe plant?
Aloe vera and other varieties don’t require intense fertilizing, but we recommend aiding young and intensely growing plants. A dose of a special mix once a month is more than enough to provide necessary nutrients and notice good results.
How to propagate aloe plants at home?
Aloe plant can be propagated at home without any issues, and it’s not a difficult task. There are two different methods to choose from - so it’s up to you which one is more convenient for you.
Propagating aloe using the plant’s stem is the most popular way. If you pick this one, keep in mind you can do it after blooming. Then, you just have to:
- separate one of the leaves at the base of the plant,
- root the stem and put it in a new pot filled with soil and sand.
Another method involves propagating aloe plants from seeds. In this case, you have to observe the plant when it blooms. If it bears fruit which burst, you can find seeds inside and plant them. Do it quickly, as they can sprout in a very short time frame.
Does aloe vera flower?
A blooming aloe plant looks really impressive. The flowers usually appear on a long stem, which stands out from the whole plant. But can you always make aloe flower? Unfortunately, every aloe species is very demanding in this aspect - just like cacti.
To bloom, aloe plant needs perfect conditions and care. Every, even the smallest detail like temperature can bear huge implications. But if your aloe vera plant finally blooms, you can undoubtedly call yourself a houseplant expert.
Are aloe vera plants prone to any diseases?
A potted aloe is not likely to catch any diseases or insects, so it’s perfect for a beginner gardener. It doesn’t mean, though, that you won’t encounter any problems with it because, although happening rarely, they are still possible.
Root rot is the biggest threat for an aloe plant. It usually happens when the gardener is too eager and refills the pot with water every few days - making the soil constantly damp.
You might notice brown spots on the leaves of your aloe vera. Does it mean you should be worried? Well, yes and no - let us explain. Potted aloe plants react to chemicals in the air. So, if you provide good conditions and care to your aloe, it will repay you by signalling that the air quality in your home is poor. In this case, perhaps you should consider purchasing an air purifier.
It rarely happens, but sometimes fungi attack aloe vera plants. In such a case, ask an expert for help, and buy the right fungicide.
Aloe vera benefits
Healing aloe plants have been valued for their properties for years - both in cosmetology and pharmacology. There are countless benefits of this plant, used all over the world. Nonetheless, the most important properties are worth mentioning.
Certain healing aloe plants have highly valuable qualities, as they:
- are inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial,
- cleanse and strengthen organism,
- lower blood sugar levels,
- neutralize gastric acid,
- boost metabolism,
- provide precious vitamins - A, B, C and E,
- aid wound healing,
- soothe burnt skin,
- help get rid of skin blemishes,
- remove irritation after shaving,
- help with mouth inflammation and sores.
Does every aloe plant have healing properties?
Although many associate aloe plants with the benefits mentioned above, keep in mind they are provided only by certain species. From all of them, which are over a hundred - only a dozen have healing properties. In fact, only two types are used in pharmacology - aloe vera and candelabra aloe.
All the other types of aloe plants grown in pots have no hidden benefits - except from their beautiful looks.
📍 Where to buy a potted aloe?
You have plenty of possibilities for buying an aloe plant. It's so popular houseplant, that you can easily get it in any flower store or gardening center. If you want more exotic aloe species, you can purchase them online, where there's a lot of unusual plants offers.
📍 How to plant an aloe in a pot?
If you want to pot your aloe plant, make sure the soil is slightly alkaline and mixed with sand. The container needs to have holes at the bottom to let the excess water out. Make sure to place the potted aloe in a bright spot, but not in intense direct sunlight.
📍 How often should an aloe plant be watered?
Potted succulents like aloe vera don't need frequent watering. Usually, once in two weeks is enough. Make sure to stick to these recommendations, as too damp soil will make the plants rot - and you won't be able to save them.
📍 How to take care of a potted aloe plant?
The right soil and sunlight exposure are the essential elements of caring for aloe plants. In an intense growth phase, make sure to feed the plant. Water it from time to time - but not too often.