An Aloe For Every House

An Aloe For Every House

I was cooking with a friend a few years back and touched my thumb to a pan that had just come out of the oven. I held the minor burn under cold water for a time, and then asked my friend for ice. To my surprise, she brought me not only an ice cube, but a leaf off of the Aloe vera plant that was growing in one of her windows. “Here,” she said. “Hold the ice on it for awhile, and then alternate with pressing the cut end of the aloe plant on the burn as well.”

Many of us are familiar with the use of aloe for burns, but it’s also applied medicinally for a wide range of other uses including canker sores and constipation. But beyond it’s medicinal properties, this is an easy, attractive houseplant. Here are a few tips for success with this plant:

This is a succulent that grows fairly quickly and has thick, heavy leaves. When you purchase an Aloe plant, plan on putting it into a clay pot that is one or two sizes larger than the plastic pot it came in. The clay pot is necessary for weight as the plant grows larger. Use a cacti potting mix whenever you repot your Aloe vera.

Water your Aloe well about every week to ten days depending on the temperature of your house and humidity. In the winter when central heating keeps the air dry you might be watering once a week, but if the room is cool, or the plant isn’t in full sun, it might need less frequent applications of water.

Keep your plant in a sunny window. A southern or western exposure is perfect. Some place their plant outdoors in the summer, moving it first to a part-shade location in late May, then gradually moving the pot into more sun. Fertilize lightly every other month in the growing season, but without fertilizer from September through April.

Aloe plants are very sculptural in form. To apply to a burn cut one of the lower leaves off near the base of the plant.

Aloe requires the same growing conditions as most succulents but since they grow quickly they will do best in their own pot.

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