Complete guide to aloe vera care
Stylish, spiky and so easy to love – once you’ve found a good spot for your aloe vera plant, the rest is simple.
Dramatic looks with a cool, calm nature – that’s Franky the aloe vera. And even better, he’s quite easy to care for. Here’s the lowdown:
- He likes to be warm – normal UK home temperatures are fine
- Try to keep him out of cold draughts
- He’s happiest in a bright spot, but not in direct sun
- Water him sparingly – when the soil is completely dry
- A sturdy concrete pot will stop him toppling over
About aloe vera plants
Aloe barbadensis and aloe vera – they’re different names for the same plant. But we call him Franky. Native to the Arabian Peninsula but now found all over the world, he can grow as big as a metre across in the wild.
The gel in those thick, succulent, spiky leaves has been used by people for medicine and beauty for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Egyptians called aloe vera ‘the plant of immortality’.
Are aloe veras easy to care for?
Franky’s not too fussy but he’s got a few needs. Fortunately, aloe vera plant care is pretty simple. They like lots of light, not too much water and won’t say no to a splash of succulent fertiliser in the spring and summer. Then you’ll be rewarded with lush, healthy leaves.
How much light does my aloe vera need?
Franky’s happiest in bright light, but out of direct sun. Think near a window, rather than in a dark corner. As for temperature, he’ll be fine in most UK homes. Just make sure he isn’t sitting in a cold draught.
Aloe vera plants look good anywhere, but we reckon they’re especially chic in a cosy living room, for a sharp contrast with your cushions and throws.
How much should I water my aloe vera?
Uh-oh – forgot to water him for a while? Franky says relax, he prefers to stay on the dry side. To check if he needs watering, poke your finger into the soil. If the soil is completely dry, then it’s time for a drink.
Our concrete pots are perfect for aloe vera plants because they’re porous, so they help to absorb excess water. (They’ll also stop your plant toppling over – those leaves are surprisingly heavy.)
Can I cut off a leaf for aloe vera gel?
The gel inside Franky’s leaves is great for soothing skin irritation and burns, and you won’t harm him if you cut off a mature leaf. But it’s not a good idea to eat or drink the gel – it can be mildly toxic to humans. It’s also poisonous to pets if eaten. Good to know, if yours have a habit of nibbling plants.
Will my aloe vera plant flower?
Aloe vera flowers are truly dramatic – think big red blooms on stems that can grow to almost a metre long. Unfortunately, you probably won’t get to see your plant flower here in the UK because it’s just not warm enough.
But you might get plant babies! Mature aloe vera plants often produce ‘pups’, as they’re called, and you can propagate them (that means getting new plants from your original plant). You’ll need to take the whole plant out of its pot, gently separate the babies and rehome them in new little pots. Ta-dah – more little Frankys to love. Find out more about propagation here.
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