Aloe vera is not only a unique-looking succulent but also comes with added health benefits. The pointed leaves of the plant are a nice contrast from round ones. Although you can buy aloe plants from a local nursery, growing aloe vera from seed is actually quite simple. You only need three main things: Seeds, a pot with good drainage, and patience. Give it a try today — we’ll tell you how!
If you’ve ever had a sunburn or a minor burn from cooking, you know one of the first things people recommend is to put aloe on it. A lot of companies make aloe vera gel for this specific purpose; however, if you grow your own aloe at home, you can easily have some on hand without having to run to the store and spend money!
Aside from burns, aloe vera actually provides other benefits to your skin. According to the Baylor College of Medicine’s Kim Chang, aloe can also be used to help treat surface acne and dry skin, as well as help prevent future wrinkling. Be wary of using aloe in this way, though, as using too much can cause your skin to dry out.
How to utilize your aloe vera
In order to get these benefits from your aloe plant, you’ll want to pick an older leaf (giving the newer ones a chance to grow), cut it off the plant, and carefully slice it open. Apply the gel inside the leaf where you need it and store any leftover so it doesn’t go to waste. It would be best, however, to wait until you have a plant large enough that it can spare a cutting or two without going into shock. Your aloe vera may take a while to get up to size, but you can always use aloe products in the meantime!
Aloe seeds are relatively easy to grow as long as you provide good care. Use well-draining soil and a pot with good drainage. Be mindful not to choose a pot that’s too large or your seeds may drown from too much water.
After your pot is filled with soil, dampen the soil and place the seeds on top, roughly one inch apart. Cover with a light layer of potting soil and mist lightly once a day to increase humidity until the seedlings sprout. When your young aloe plants have at least four leaves, you can safely repot them into individual containers to encourage stronger growth.
Where to get aloe vera seeds
If you already have an existing aloe plant, you can harvest the seed pods from the spent flowers. When the pods turn a brownish green color, they’re ready to be harvested from the plant and opened for the seeds. Aloe seeds are quite small, so place a small dish under the seed pod while you split it open to help collect the seeds and keep them all in one place. The seeds that are brown/black are ready to be planted, which you can do as soon as you harvest them!
If you don’t have an existing aloe plant, you can always check and see if local nurseries have seeds available or if you can purchase some online. You may also be able to get some from a friend or family member if they have an aloe plant with seed pods.
If you can’t get seeds, there’s always propagation
If you can’t find any viable aloe seeds from reputable sources and your existing aloe isn’t producing seed pods, you can always try your hand at propagation! Mature aloe plants will begin to grow pups that are attached to the parent plant. You may notice them growing up from the bottom, close enough to look like new leaves. As soon as the pup has four or five leaves (similar to the new plants grown from seed), you can safely remove them from the parent plant with sterilized sheers and plant them in their own pot.
Growing a few different aloe plants will allow you to utilize their health benefits without taking too many leaves from one plant. They’re fairly easy to care for, and once you have one, you can simply expand your collection by removing and repotting the pups as soon as they’re big enough. And if you have too many, you can always gift them to friends and family to share the love!
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