Propagating Aloe Vera

Propagating Aloe Vera

Being a popular houseplant, aloe vera is available at almost any garden center or supermarket and can be grown nearly everywhere the sun shines. Propagating aloe vera in your home adds dimension and life, plus a touch of natural flare. Aloe looks beautiful in an outdoor setting, giving height and texture to any garden. In desert or subtropical areas, aloe can grow outside all year round! This provides a source of nectar to pollinators and hummingbirds when in bloom.

For centuries, aloe has been a staple in skincare

Growing aloe vera gives hummingbirds a source of nectar

The leaves of the aloe vera plant provide a thick anti-inflammatory gel that can aid in the reduction of redness and irritation from dry skin and sunburns. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences recommends refrigerating the gel to maximize its soothing properties. In some cases, people can be allergic to aloe. If you have never used aloe vera gel on your skin, do a patch test first and see if you have any reaction.

Growing aloe vera in your home

Propagating aloe vera is very simple! This is great news if you have a less-than-green thumb but still want to keep a plant baby on your windowsill or patio. To grow one of these hardy succulents, you only need four things:

  • A sunny location
  • An easily draining potting soil
  • A terra-cotta pot
  • Aloe plant, of course!

Aloe plants love well-draining soil, warmth, and plenty of sunshine

Make sure that the potting soil is formulated for cacti and succulents so that drainage will not be an issue. If you don't have soil formulated for cacti or can't find it in-store, add perlite to regular potting soil, which will also work perfectly!

A terra-cotta pot will also enable the water to drain easily. Since terra cotta is a porous material, it does not retain excess water. Adding a handful of gravel or broken pottery pieces to the bottom of the pot will also improve water flow. Following these steps prevent the aloe roots from rotting due to an excessive amount of moisture.

Keeping your potted aloe plant on a sunny windowsill or in a location on your patio that is mostly sunny is important for the plant's health. Too little sun and the plant won't grow; it will likely wilt, or the leaves will flop over. A sunny location also evaporates any excess water in the pot, again aiding in preventing a rotted root system. If you transplant your aloe vera from a pot indoors to a spot outside, move it gradually into the sun to avoid an overdose of sun and burning the leaves.

Growing aloe vera

Divide and conquer

Given the right conditions, aloe vera can grow rapidly. This can be a good thing, and you'll have a few little aloe plants to share with friends. An adult aloe plant will produce "pups" along its basal stem. You can break these away and replant them to divide your colony.

When dividing aloe, it's important to allow the pups to dry for a few days after pulling them off the main plant. If you try to propagate an aloe plant with a freshly cut stem, it will rot in the soil and never take root. After pulling the pups away from the parent, lay them out in a well-ventilated, warm area so any cuts in the stem will be callous. After a few days, you can replant the pups in loose cactus soil. Keep the cuttings in a warm, sunny area. Do not water them for the first week to keep the cuttings from decaying. The pups will quickly send off additional roots and grow into adult plants in months if weather conditions are in their favor.