How to Take Care of an Aloe Vera Plant

By Jeri McBryde , last updated March 15, 2011

The Aloe Vera plant is easy to grow, even easier to take care of, and doesn’t die on you if you forget to water it every day. It's also a plant you can turn to when you're hurt. There are over 250 species of Aloes, the majority of which are found in Africa and the Mediterranean. The standard species in North America is the Aloe Barbadensis, usually known as Aloe Vera. Used to a warm climate, they make excellent houseplants.

Aloe Vera is a drugstore in a plant. The juice or gel of the plant contains antimicrobial medicine that helps control fungal infection and skin problems. Cut off a thick leaf, slice it open and squeeze the juice on the affected area. It will lubricate and soothe the skin as it soaks in, without leaving a greasy or sticky film. Use on burns, cuts, insect bites, baby diaper rash and sunburn. Aloe Vera plants are very popular and can be found at local garden centers. The plant has dark green leaves with jagged edges, although some may appear light or yellowish –green with white stripes.

When planting Aloe Vera, you will need a pot or container that has good drainage. The pot should be wider than it is tall. The Aloe Vera has a shallow root system. They reproduce by sending up small plants at the base of the old plant. The new plants can be re-potted. You can also make cuttings from the leaves. It is very important not to water too often; like all succulents with thick leaves, the plant stores water in its foliage. Let the plant dry out before watering. The soil should be a potting mixture with perlite or sand added. A commercial soil or cacti mix is also good. Grow the plant indoors on light sunny windowsills in the kitchen or bathroom. As long as you don't overwater, you’ll find yourself with plants to share with friends and neighbors!

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