“It grows and grows, then grows some more,
One gives two, and then four score”
SEASONS: Aloe Vera is a perennial plant. It can be grown all through the year. It thrives during our summers but is not too fond of our Mumbai monsoons! Plants tend to bloat, get disfigured and die, if not protected from excessive rainfall/flooding. If you take minimum precautions to prevent that, then this succulent will grow through the seasons and for many years to come.
PROPAGATING: This plant is propagated from young ones or “pups” that grow out of the mother plant and pop up nearby. It is one of the easiest plants to propagate, as nature does most of the job for you! Simply uproot aloe pups, cut off connecting roots carefully, and re-plant elsewhere.
PLANTING OUT: Aloe Vera pups and plants can withstand soils ranging from slightly acidic, neutral to slightly alkaline. It needs to be re-planted in very well-drained, sandy soil in strong and direct sunlight. Aloe Vera can also be grown indoors in a sunny spot. Since this plant has a spreading root system, ensure that your containers are wide enough, or grow in the open ground.
NURTURING: This is a very easy plant to grow and requires little nurturing besides watering. It stores water in its leaves, and while it can do without water for days together, it would need occasional deep watering. It needs to dry out thoroughly between watering spells, so ensure that your soil is not constantly wet, and never ever clayey. Aloe Vera does not get preyed on by insects or other pests, and will look after itself throughout its growth. Yellowing leaves/tips may need to be trimmed off occasionally.
HARVESTING: Harvest leaves as the plant grows, from the outer ring of leaves inwards. The outer leaves will be the oldest and most well-formed in terms of quantity and quality of nutrients. Aloe Vera will keep producing leaves for years – its leaf juices are edible and also have excellent medicinal and cosmetic value. And of course it will also keep producing young ones – so pretty soon you will be begging friends and family to take home some aloe pups with them!
Heart of the aloe…and re-planted pups from a single mother plant!
© Mumbai Farmer 2014. Do not copy in part or whole without prior written permission from the author. Infringement of copyright will render you liable for legal action.