Aloe Vera – An Ancient Cure for Many Ills
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that grows indoors or out, depending on climate. Planted indoors in large pots, aloe vera is decorative and adds a year-round green color to rooms.
Planted outdoors in warm climates, it produces pale green leaves that continue to grow to about one foot in height and as much as eighteen inches in width. It’s a cure for many ills that ancient Egyptians relied on for thousands of years. Indoors, aloe vera acts like an air purifier. It can produce flowers that appear as elongated yellow spikes, indoors or out. This is usually based on the type of growing environment and indoor temperature. Aloe vera should brought indoors in freezing temperatures.
How to Grow Aloe Vera Indoors
The best way to start aloe vera indoors is to purchase a young plant. From a single plant, numerous others can be propagated. Plant in potting soil at least three inches deep to protect roots. Aloe vera is low maintenance and doesn’t require daily watering. Water when the soil around the top of the plant feels dry to the touch.
It’s easy to see when the new plant has begun to propagate. The first signs are new shoots from the direct center of the plant. To create new plants from the original, wait until the plant has several offsets and has begun to flourish. Then, simply snip or break off one of the offsets and plant. Aloe vera is similar to cactus plants. It has small white spikes at the end of each leaf.
As with cactus, aloe vera prefers a moderately sunny spot. To force aloe vera to bloom indoors, allow the plant to grow to maturity in a sunny spot without taking offsets. For the prettiest and showiest aloe vera plant, choose a wide pot at least six to eight inches in diameter, six to eight inches in height and at least six inches deep. Make certain the planting pot has good drainage. Aloe vera is not fond of too much water since its natural environment is a dry climate.
Forgetful indoor gardeners love this plant because they can water it well and if they forget it for a week, it has no damaging effect on the plant or roots. In fact, this is the type of watering sequence aloe vera prefers. The Farmer’s Almanac website also offers several suggestions for watering this plant.
Aloe vera plants may need a change of potting soil. When the plant ceases to flourish, change the potting soil. Aloe vera prefers clay pots; although, they do well in plastic and vinyl pots.
Variegated Aloe Vera
Before choosing an aloe vera plant, take note that some have variegated leaves. With variegated aloe vera, there’s an opportunity to create an attractive indoor garden spot. For a lush green look all year round, select several variegated aloe vera plants to coordinate with the green variety.
Interesting Facts about Aloe Vera
In many industrial facilities, aloe vera is a plant known to help maintain good indoor air quality. Mother Nature Network includes aloe vera as one of 15 houseplants that improve the quality of indoor air.
In the kitchen, cooks love aloe vera for simple burns on the skin. As a beauty regimen, aloe vera is soothing to skin of the face and body. It helps reduce itching from rashes and also aids in chapped lips.
Aloe vera plants are the source of aloe juice. Aloe juice is high in natural nutrients. The juice of this plant has been known to be an aid for an upset stomach and other digestive discomforts. A simple tablespoon of aloe juice every day provides more Vitamin C than an orange.
Use aloe vera in recipes. Simply squeeze the leaves and extract the jelly-like juice. Add this to fruit preserves or create aloe vera jelly as a regular spread. Add a dash of honey to sweeten. Try slicing aloe vera leaves into quarter-inch bits and add to a salad of baby spinach, raw broccoli and carrots, celery, radicchio and coarsely chopped walnuts. Serve with a favorite salad dressing.
Many women create their own home grown beauty regimens using aloe vera plants from their indoor garden. It should be noted that containers used to store aloe vera should be clean and residue free. After the aloe vera gel is extracted, place in the container, preferably glass, and store in the refrigerator. This is a superb, refreshing way to cool skin in the heat of summer. For a soothing bath, add a tablespoon of aloe vera gel to warm bath water. It will leave skin soft and smooth. Take along a bottle for trips to the beach and see if your aloe vera lotion doesn’t help avoid sun or wind burn. It’s always a good idea to keep a small bottle of aloe vera in a travel bag. It comes in handy when regular cosmetics run low and can’t be replaced easily while traveling.
Aloe vera plants are always an appreciated gift. This is a good reason to grow several plants. Before giving an aloe vera plant as a gift, be sure to change the potting soil and the pot to present a healthier plant.
Enjoying Aloe Vera – It Has Much to Offer
Aloe vera is one of the easiest plants to grow and care for and has so many uses, unlike many other indoor house plants. It’s an indoor plant that never fails even for the least savvy indoor gardener.
It’s probably a good idea for novice indoor gardeners to begin their first garden plantings with aloe vera. It’s definitely a “can’t miss” plant. Experiment with different widths in pots to give the indoor garden a unique look. Place the pots on tapered pedestals in empty corners or on lamp tables to brighten a room. In the long days of winter, aloe vera is often the only green spot in the house.