A truly multi-purpose plant

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that grows wild in tropical climates and is grown for both agricultural and medicinal purposes. It is found in many products such as juices, skin lotion and gels for burns. There is very little scientific evidence for claims about Aloe’s many health benefits but the plant has a rich and long history of being used for such purposes.

The leaves are thick and fleshy and the edge is serrated with small white teeth. Aloe has been grown for ornamental purposes for its interesting flowers. It can survive well in areas of low rainfall which make it ideal for rockeries. Relatively resistant to most pests, they can be damaged by spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects and aphid species.

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How to grow your own Aloe plant – thankfully it is a very easy plant to grow and a great plant for first time gardeners. As well as topical applications for skin problems, it is  known for it’s nutritional qualities, making this a superfood. Aloe vera juice can be taken as a drink and is believed to help problems such as indigestion and even arthritis. For more information, visit http://gofitnesslifestyle.com/

Soil is a major thing to consider as Aloe likes dry soil. As the plant is native to North Africa, it needs dry and sandy soil. If your soil isn’t sandy, you will need to mix some in and even some pebbles too. It will also need to be potted in an area with lots of natural sunlight. It must not get too hot or it will dry out. If your plant is outside and it is going to freeze, you will need to bring it in. Make sure the plant is potted in an upright position and the base and roots is completely covered by soil. The best way to work out how much water the plant needs is to feel the leaves. As long as the leaves feel cool and moist, you don’t need to water.

Once the plant reaches maturity, you can then begin to harvest the leaves. Select mature leaves from the outside of the plant and cut them from the base. Inner leaf gel can be stored in the frige for a couple of days but bear in mind, it can taste a little bitter. Just make sure that you avoid the outer leaf as this contains aloin, a very powerful laxative. Aloe is a brilliant natural source of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to help support a healthy immune system.

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Aloe plants produce many plantlets or ‘babies’ that can then be used to grow an entirely new plant from just a leaf.  Place the baby in a new pot once the offshoot is 2-3 inches tall and can be separated from it’s mother. Make sure the pot isn’t too big as this can slow down growth. This plant will look amazing on your windowsill and also act as first aid kit.