If you live in a warm climate year-round (Zone 10 or higher on the USDA Plant Hardiness Map ), you can nurture your aloe outside. Freezing temperatures will kill the leaves, but you really have to worry about frozen soil, as that will kill the roots and no new sprouts will grow.
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.
Caring for Aloe Vera
As a bonus, 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.
If you’re keen to give aloe plants to friends, you can try starting your own plants by cutting off a few leaves. Trim to about 3 inches from the leaf tip; then put the cut ends down in a container of potting mix. While not every one will take, some will sprout tiny new leaves at the base. Wait until this new plant grows a few inches before repotting again.
Harvesting Aloe Vera
Besides providing pretty decoration, aloe 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.
With this in mind, 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 people also 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!
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