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How to Grow and Care for Aloe

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Aloe plants are native to Africa and the surrounding regions. There are about 400 species in the genus. Of these, about 5 are commonly found in cultivation. The most famous is Aloe vera, which has been used medicinally for centuries. All plants are succulents, forming low rosettes of fleshy, lance-shaped leaves or in the case of Aloe arborescens, growing into a taller, bare-stemmed plant topped with up to 10 inches (25 cm) long leaves. Many Aloes have relatively harmless spines on their leaves, but it is still worth being careful.

Growing Conditions

Light: Strong, bright light. They can withstand full summer sun, once acclimated. In the winter, provide bright light.
Water: Water generously in the summer and nearly cease watering in the winter. Do not let water stand in the rosettes.
Temperature: Prefers warmer temperatures of 70 to 80 °F (21 to 27 °C), but will survive down to 40 °F (4.5 °C).
Soil: A well-drained potting mix is essential. Use a cacti or succulent mix.
Fertilizer: Feed with a fertilizer for cacti and other succulents in spring and summer only.

Repotting

Aloes are not particularly fast-growing and will only rarely need repotting. Repot plants in the spring that are tipping over their pots or have ceased growing.

Propagation

During repotting of a larger plant, it is possible to carefully divide the root ball. Some Aloes will send off offsets that can be potted independently.

Grower's Tips

Aloe is a very forgiving plant and a well-grown plant can be quite beautiful. As with all succulents, it is essential that it is never allowed to sit in stagnant water and the plant should be carefully monitored to watch for signs of overwatering.

Source: about.com

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