Just to follow up on the Aloe question. Here's an article I wrote on
aloe vera for an ezine. Hope this helps, Laura
Healing ALOE VERA Plants Are Easy To Grow and Provide Health Benefits
Aloe Vera , known as the healing plant, is easy to care for indoors or
in the garden. It is a drought tolerant succulent which grows well in
dry shade to part sun. Its bright green stalks grow up to 1 foot long
and up to 2 inches thick They usually have creamy white stripes or
dots along the leaves. Aloe plants grow upright and spread with time
by creating clumping offsets. Perennial aloe produces dramatic, bright
orange flowers on long stalks in the spring and summer. Used
medicinally aloe vera gel is beneficial for burns, minor cuts, scrapes,
insect bites and other skin irritations.
Water-wise aloe is great for xeriscaping in dry gardens with other
succulents and cacti. They don't mind heat as long as they don't get
too much sun. Aloe does best in light or dappled shade on the porch or
on the windowsill. It is even reliable in dry shade. One to two hours
of direct sun is plenty. Dark brown or orange spots on the leaves is a
sign of sunburn. Aloe vera is easy to care for and only needs water
once a month or when the stalks become shriveled. Planted in the
ground, it can tolerate more drought and will grow slightly larger.
Aloes are cold hardy to about 45 degrees. Mine have survived a light
dusting of frost, but they have overhead protection. I wouldn't leave
them outdoor in the open if Jack Frost visits your area frequently.
Indoors, they are suited to the hot dry conditions of the average home.
They will tolerate a few hours of sun a day, but should be fine
anywhere with lots of bright, indirect sunlight.
Aloe vera plants form offset pups and will eventually become a clump.
Mine started out in a small 4" pot from the nursery. Normally, you
should repot plants in a slightly larger pot. But I planted my aloe in
a huge 12" pot, knowing it would fill in. Who has time to repot their
plants all the time? To keep the pot from looking empty, I planted a
small trailing succulent around the edges. They have similar
cultivation needs, so they get along great and look terrific. You can
see an aloe vera picture and even download the wallpaper on my
succulent webpage at http://www.theGardenPages.com . After the first
year, my aloe created lots of offsets and filled in the pot nicely.
The new shoots are easy to tease out from the main plant so I can repot
them or give them to friends.
Aloe vera cuttings are also easy to root. Put at least 1/3 of the
cutting under the ground. Keep the soil moist for the first few weeks
while it develops roots. The stalk may shrivel while it lives off the
stored energy, this is normal. Resist the temptation to overwater. Like
all succulents and cacti, aloe vera will rot if it sits in a wet pot.
Aloe vera is famous for its healing benefits and is commonly grown in
kitchen gardens to help with minor burns and other skin problems. To
use aloe, work with one inch chunks cut from the tips of the leaves.
Peel off the spines and cut open the chunk. Squeeze out the aloe juice
and pulp onto sunburns or other skin irritations. Spread it around
with your fingers or the aloe peel. It will feel cold on burns. The
juice may feel sticky at first, but will eventually dry out, leaving a
slight green tint. Apply 1 - 2 times a day to cool off burns and help
heal skin. I was amazed at how well it worked on my baby's diaper rash
when nothing else helped. First, I'd slather the skin with aloe gel,
then put the remaining pulp into his diaper and wrap it all up like a
little burrito. Usually the rash was cleared up in a few hours. Fresh
is best, studies suggest aloe starts to loose its properties within an
hour of picking.
Healing aloe vera is an easy to grow plant indoors or out, with
outstanding health benefits and makes a great addition to any garden.
Copyright © 2006 by Laura Zinkan. This article may be reprinted as
long as author credit is given with website. All rights reserved.