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Grow your own

The health benefits of aloe vera have often been cited so surely it makes sense to have an aloe vera plant in your home so you can use it, should the need arise. Having an aloe vera plant can make even the most modern and high-tech of us feel like magic herbalist practitioners. Snipping off a piece of an aloe vera’s leaf and applying the clear, cool gel on burns, cuts, rashes, and sunburns offers instant relief and can speed the healing process. If you’re new to the world of having succulents in your home then here’s how to care for an aloe vera plant of your own.

There are hundreds of varieties of aloe plants, which are indigenous to Africa and a few neighboring areas. They come in many varieties that range in size from a few inches to tree heights of 30 to 40 feet. Don’t worry, you won’t need one that big. They also come in many colours and shapes, including orange-hued, purple-tinged, and with various spine patterns. Some aloe plants will also flower. Though many might think of the aloe plant as a cactus, it is actually a succulent. The most common type is the aloe barbadensis.

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Here in the colder northern hemisphere, it’s best to keep your aloe vera plant indoors. They are hardy in warmer climates but are very susceptible to frost, because they are composed of so much water. Think of the indigenous climate of the plant and you’ll understand its ideal conditions. In the case of aloe plants, they love to be in the sun and do well in dry climates. For more information on aloe vera juice health benefits, visit gofitnesslifestyle.com

Aloe vera plants are easily available anywhere you can buy plants. The soil should be well-drained and using a cactus mix works well. The pot should have enough room for the plant to grow, particularly the root ball. When re-potting, choose a container that’s wider than the previous one, but not deeper, and with extra room equivalent to 3 to 5 times the size of the current root ball.

Aloe veras are tolerant of dry conditions, but we still need to make sure we water them. In the summer months, soak them thoroughly but allow them to dry well between waterings. This means they must be dry to a depth of 1 – 2 inches. During the winter months, water less often, if you need to at all, as the plant is dormant.

Mature aloe vera plants can be used to grow more plants through offshoots which can be removed and replanted. Tap your plant out of its pot and find where the offshoots are attached. Sever them with a knife from the main plant and then let the cut dry over before planting it, which should take a couple of days. Pot them in a standard potting mix, keep them somewhere that gets the sun and wait for a week until watering as the soil needs to be kept on the dry side.

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