“the wonder plant”
I've had the same Aloe Vera plant in my kitchen since 2003. It was a gift from my Grandmother and I’m proud to have kept it thriving and standing up to its nickname “The Wonder Plant” for nearly 2 decades. Anyone can care for an aloe vera plant; I repeat...anyone can take care of aloe. Its super-low maintenance by nature, provides TONS of benefits and is the perfect kitchen companion for anyone who enjoys cooking and baking.
Aloe is so much more than household decor. This easy-going succulent is widely known for its medicinal remedies in the fields of cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals. Their magic anti-inflammatory compound is contained inside its gel-filled leaves. You can scroll down to see a list of the benefits and uses for this spikey superhero, but my favorite? Its therapeutic ability to stop a kitchen burn almost instantly.
Aloe Vera is the gift that keeps on giving. Ready for their hidden superpower? They produce off-shoots which are known as “Pups”; ie, mini aloe vera plants. Once the root is established enough, you can remove the pups from their mother plant, re-pot, and regift!
Every spring, until the weather is ready to cooperate with my need for digging in the dirt, I make a trip to The Home Depot and pick up a few of these mini terra-cotta pots to spread the love. I’ve lost track of how many pups I’ve gifted over the years, but on average I repot 2-3 pups each spring (so I would guestimate around forty). Pretty cool, huh?
Another reason this little succulent makes a great gift is that it’s pretty hard to kill. The only real threat to aloe is overwatering. I’ve let my aloe go for weeks without water and the minute I do it perks back up. So I repeat, anyone can take care of aloe.
Here's a picture of the original plant I gave my sister-in-law.
She has a slightly larger obsession with indoor plants than I do which I can only chalk up to lack of yard space on her end, but shes managed to grow over 100 pups from this one plant!
Okay, so now you want to know why you even need it? Don’t drown in this list…
Benefits & Uses
- full of amino acids, enzymes, and minerals
- contains vitamins A, C, E, and B-12
- highly anti-inflammatory, accelerating the healing process and pain associated with skin burns, minor wounds, rashes, and other skin conditions
- contains powerful antioxidants that protect the immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria
- heals canker sores, cold sores, mouth ulcers, decreases dental plaque and fights cavities
- reduces constipation and aids in healing gut issues
- increase collagen production providing potential anti-aging benefits
- decreases dark skin spots as well as improves skin elasticity and complexion
- cools irritation associated with dry skin, rashes, and other skin conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis, acne, and frostbite
- protects the skin from UVB-induced damage
- normalizes blood sugar levels and aids in improving diabetic conditions
- beneficial for genital herpes, HIV infections, and cancer prevention
- topical burn care
- makeup remover
While the verdict is still to be determined, modern-day research on the benefits of aloe is mixed. Always consult your doctor for advice on how to use aloe, products containing aloe or any other natural remedy to treat a condition.
Okay, are you convinced yet? Here are a few tips to get you started on caring for your own Aloe Vera plant!
Growing & Caring for Aloe
Here’s the quick and dirty on growing and caring for aloe plants.
Soil & Potting - aloe vera will thrive in compact, well-drained soil. I use generic potting soil and mix a little sand and rock in. While I do love a funky ceramic pot, terra-cotta pots are the superior way to go when planting in or outdoors. Their porous baked clay, allows oxygen and water to pass freely through the walls of the pot; promoting a healthy, thriving root system.
Sunlight - Place your aloe in a bright, indirect sunny place. They can grow just about anywhere with low light, however, a sunny window seal will ensure the plant does not go dormant.
Water - my rule...water whenever it looks dry. Aloe is a desert specie, continually keeping the soil wet will cause root rot. Indoor Aloe is pretty hardy and as long as it gets a good drenching about once every two weeks it will flourish. (One time I neglected to water mine for 1 month; the soil had completely dried but to my surprise, she perked right up after a drink.) Limp limbs are your signal that you’ve overdone it with the H2O.
Climate - bright and dry environment is best. Keep your temperature between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit and in a sunny window seal if you want it to flower.
Repotting - Repot your aloe if the weight of the plant causes tipping, but otherwise don't worry about giving it lots of space. This plant thrives in snug conditions.
Interested in more tips on creating a fresh environment in your kitchen? Check out my post on Making Hydrangeas last longer! Are you a lover of plants too? Follow @crazy_urban_plant_lady on Instagram! Warning - she's also a cat lover. 😉