Aloe is a plant known for its medicinal properties, such as the ability to cool burns, and you can actually grow it in your own home. Aloe plants are surprisingly part of the same family as cacti. As you might then expect, they thrive in sunny environments. To garner the benefits of the aloe plant, though, a few requirements must be met. The plant is rather picky when it comes to soil composition, moisture, drainage and so on. When ignored, an aloe plant becomes foul-smelling and mushy. If you follow the tips below, however, you can grow a healthy aloe plant that can make for a unique addition to your home.
Unless you live in a very hot climate, it is best to grow your aloe plant indoors. The plant contains very high water content (as much as 95 percent), so it freezes very quickly in cold environments. There is no chance the plant will survive a frost, although you can relocate the plant outdoors in the summer months in most regions. Although you will place the plant indoors, you still want to put it in a location that is naturally hot and receives plenty of sunlight. Some people have placed them on radiators or wood stoves in an effort to provide heat, but this results in burnt roots. Instead, the plant actually needs hot air.
Choose a pot with a drainage hole for your aloe plant. Natural clay pots generally work best. If your pot does not have a drainage hole, fill it with about two inches of gravel to induce natural drainage. A clay pot that is two inches larger than the aloe plant's root ball is ideal, but make sure it is not too deep. The aloe plant's leaves do not grow well when in contact with soil. The roots should be very close to the surface to ensure the leaves do not rot. Thus, selecting a pot that is wide but not deep is perfect. Fill the pot with soil that drains well, such as a "cactus mix" soil. Place the aloe plant in the pot and spread the roots.
The first time you water your aloe plant, do so heavily until you see the water leak through the bottom of the pot. Do not water for another two weeks, allowing the soil to thoroughly dry before watering again. In summer, you can soak the soil and continue to water the plant about once every two weeks. In winter, however, add just enough water for there to be a slight leak from the pot. You can also cut back watering to about once a month. Remember the aloe plant is drought-resistant, meaning it is easy to over-water it, especially during winter.
In spring, you can fertilize your aloe plant with a cactus-specific fertilizer. In the event that you cannot find this, use a fertilizer designed for blooming plants. Lastly, be sure to remove any offshoots from your aloe plant, as the plant can quickly turn into a mess. You can re-pot these cuttings to grow new aloe plants.