Growing Helpful, Healthful Aloe Vera Plants Indoors
Aloe vera is a popular ingredient in over-the-counter cosmetics and medications thanks to its medicinal properties. Aloe vera is easy to grow indoors, and when you grow it yourself, you know you are getting the real, soothing, active ingredient that you want. Following are instructions for growing Aloe vera indoors.
As succulents, aloe vera plants store a lot of water in their leaves. In the summer when they are actively growing they will take a good deal of water. Water them thoroughly, and then wait until they dry out until you water again. These plants will grow slowly if at all during the winter, so they don't need much water. Let the soil get 100 percent dry before watering with a small amount of water. The worst thing to do is to overwater, so if you're not sure how much water to give, you are better off erring on the too little side.
When water runs right through the pot and you see roots coming out the bottom, it's time to repot. Spring is usually a good time for repotting. Because Aloe vera plants have shallow, spreading root systems they need wider, rather than deeper, pots when their pots get too small. Aloe vera plants need well-drained soil. You can use a commercial potting mix if you add extra perlite or coarse sand to improve the drainage. Or you can you a cactus mix.
You can fertilize your Aloe vera plants in the spring when they start showing new growth. Use fish emulsion or half-strength houseplant fertilizer.
Of course you will want to use the aloe juice for its soothing qualities, especially for delicate skin. It is a valuable addition to the first aid kit. (Just don't keep it in the medicine chest!!) To use it just cut off a piece of lower leaf, slice it open, and squeeze the juice onto the affected area of the skin. Aloe vera relieves much of the pain of burns and may even prevent or reduce blistering. It lessens the itching that results from bug bites and stings and from nasty plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettles. Many people have even used Aloe vera to soothe rashes and stings on their pets with good results. Growing Aloe vera indoors is easy, and well worth it.
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