Designed by Brenda Hyde
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Aloe plants are succulents and thrive in hot, dry
conditions, which is probably why they like my
old dry house.
My very first aloe plant was giving to me by my
husband's 75 year old Grandmother, and I killed
it from overwatering the poor thing in a desperate
attempt to keep it alive in order to impress her.
My next aloe not only survived, but has been divided
into many more plants that I've given away to friends
and family. (I've also become friends with Grandma
Dorothy, and no longer worry about impressing her!)
I grow them in clay pots on my sunniest windowsill and I no longer overwater them! Aloe plants love bright sun, but will do fairly well in medium light as well. Allow the soil to dry between waterings and water less in the winter than in the warm months. They like being pot bound in my experience, and may be divided each spring or before if you have a lot of baby plants in the pot.
When you pot your aloe offshoots, or the main plant, use regular potting soil with a little sand added. Potting aloe is a great children's project by the way. The plants are easy to handle, and hardy enough for little hands to replant. My daughter was just over 2 years old when she helped me repot six aloe plants, which she proudly presented to family when they visited. Again, I find terra-cotta pots are perfect for aloe because they don't retain the extra moisture that could damage the plant.
Aloe really does soothe minor burns, as I have found out through experience. Tear off a leaf, break it in half and rub the "juice" on the burn. To gather the gel for recipes, cut off a large leaf and lay it on a hard surface that you've laid down a piece of foil, wax paper or parchment. Slice the leaf open lengthwise with a sharp knife. Use a butter knife's dull edge to scrape from top to bottom, pushing the gel as you go. Discard the leaf and scrape the gel off the paper into the bowl or container that you are using for your recipe. An aloe plant is a welcome friend in the kitchen!