The History & Benefits of Aloe Plants
Sep 9, 2020
For thousands of years, Aloe has been coveted for its unique growth habit and natural healing properties. This valuable plant has over 400 species, but the prized Aloe vera remains the most popular.
So what’s all the hype about? According to history, over 500 Aloe species can be found in Africa, the Middle East, and islands throughout the Indian Ocean. In fact, Aloe vera was regularly traded throughout the Red Sea and Mediterranean regions dating back to 2,200 BC.
However, new research pins the origin of Aloe vera to the Arabian peninsula which has extremely hot and dry conditions.
Aloe vera’s nourishing juice has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is linked to beauty and health benefits. It's said that Cleopatra and Nefertiti used aloe in their daily skin and beauty routines. In ancient Egypt, aloe vera was used to embalm the body, and is referred to as the “plant of eternity.”
It’s no secret that this plant is used in many self-care products for its medicinal properties. Household products including lotion, shaving cream, hand sanitizer, and more incorporate Aloe’s healing gel for healthier skin. In fact, the worldwide annual market value of Aloe comes in a little bit over $13 billion.
If you’re new to gardening, you may have heard about this easy to grow plant. But our garden experts don’t want you to just grow a plant - we want your plant to thrive! Learn how to best care for an Aloe vera plant with our indoor care instructions below!
Growing Aloe Vera
Aloe vera’s succulent-like nature makes it an excellent choice for plant newbies. We recommend watering your plant heavily once every two weeks (or more depending on your grow zone). This plant prefers to dry out between watering, so no need to worry about under-watering.
Be mindful of over-watering, which can cause root-rot damage to your Aloe vera plant. Signs of over-watering include limp or brown leaves. When it comes to watering your Aloe vera plant, less is more!
As we mentioned earlier, Aloe is native to Arabian peninsula region which has naturally hot and dry conditions. Place your Aloe plant in well-drained soil that has equal part sand and potting soil or a succulent soil mix.
Aloe vera prefers to dry out, so avoid using soil that will retain too much moisture. Many experts recommend planting Aloe in a terra cotta pot because it pulls away excess moisture from the soil. However, any pot with a drainage hole will do.
Aloe needs bright, natural indirect sunlight to thrive when planted indoors. Our plant experts recommend placing Aloe vera in a south or west facing window. Be sure to occasionally rotate your plant to ensure light is received on all sides.
Aloe (when grown indoors) grows at a steady speed when placed in an area with abundant sunlight. However, avoid placing Aloe vera in full sun (especially in hot climates) which can burn the leaves. If your indoor space doesn't receive enough sunlight, this isn't the plant for you.
Pests & Disease
With nature comes a few pests along the way. Although Aloe vera doesn't have many pest or disease concerns, the most you'll see is possible mealybugs. Double-check the crevices of your Aloe plant - it's where they like to hide out at.
Pay close attention to the overall environment that your plant is placed in. Brown, red, or yellow leaves are caused by environmental stress. Aloe plants tend to act like divas if the environment is too cold or hot.
Harvesting Aloe Vera
Make your mature Aloe plant work for you by harvesting its leaves for the magical juice that lives inside. Aloe has various healing properties that can be used for sunburns and skin irritation, hair masks, smoothies, and more. To harvest your mother plant, we recommend removing the full leaf beginning from the base of the plant.
Always use a clean, sharp knife - as you would with pruning - to cut Aloe. To uphold its aesthetic, avoid cutting Aloe leaves in half which will result in a large scab on the end.