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How to Grow: Aloe Vera
Bright, indirect light outdoors and a bright room indoors
Bloom Period and Plant Shape
Outdoors aloe vera has yellow or red flowers in spring depending on the selection. Indoors aloe vera is mostly grown for its succulent leaves and rarely flowers.
Mature Height x Spread
Outdoors aloe vera can grow mostly to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide depending on the variety with some reaching 10 feet tall. Most indoor aloe vera only grow less than 1 foot tall. Aloe vera is hardy in USDA zone 8 to 11. It’s native to North Africa and thrives in hot, dry conditions. This makes it a low maintenance outdoor and indoor plant.
Indoors, aloe vera is a great potted plant to place in the kitchen or living room. The gel from the leaves can be used to soothe mild burns and sunburns.
How to Plant
Plant aloe vera in pots filled with very well-drained soil. Use a pot one size larger than then plant. Aloe vera like to be pot bound. Use a soil mix meant for succulents and cactus to insure good water drainage. Aloe vera has a small root system and the plant will rot if the soil stays too wet. Outdoors plant in fall so the plant can get established before the summer heat in well-drained soil.
Outdoors place aloe vera where is gets afternoon shade. Too much sun will burn the leaves. When temperatures go below 50F, bring the plant indoors or protect it.
Indoors place aloe vera in a bright East or South-facing window in winter in the North. In summer keep it away from direct sunlight. Water aloe vera sparingly in a container. Water once every 2 weeks in summer and less in winter. Outdoors, water weekly during the growing season. Fertilize with a succulent or cactus fertilizer in spring and summer. Remove baby aloe veras as they form around the main plant and pot them in potting soil to grow new plants. Keep the soil moist at first until they get established.
Design Tips: Place aloe vera houseplants on a tabletop, plant stand, or counter top. If harvesting leaves for the soothing gel, consider having a few plants; some for cutting and some for show. Cut the tips or whole leaves off the medicinal plants to use. Leave other plants uncut so they look more attractive.
Varieties: There are many different varieties of aloe to grow in your yard or indoors as houseplants. Outdoors Stone and Candlabra aloes are beautiful plants with attractive red or yellow flowers. Indoors, smaller versions, such as spider and lace aloe, are the perfect size for a houseplant in a container.