Where Does It Come From?
Originating in the south west of the Arabian Peninsula, aloe vera was naturalised in tropical climates all over the globe hundreds of years ago. The free-flowing trade routes of the ancient Silk Roads between the Islamic empires of the Middle East, southern Europe and China in the Far East meant that this useful plant quickly spread out from its original homeland, being used in early medicinal practices by healers from Seville to Beijing.
Why Should I Get One?
How Big Can It Grow?
Unlike most warm-climate succulents growing in the UK, the aloe vera does still have the potential to get fairly large if you’re prepared to keep upgrading it to larger pots. Mostly however, people choose to keep them medium-sized (under 30cm high) at which size they make a versatile and attractive houseplant. If miniatures are your jam, these little lovelies also flourish in open terrariums or desertscapes, their spiky leaves providing some height within the overall design.
Where Should I Keep It?
Aloes love the sunshine, so place your plant in a spot where it is going to enjoy long hours of bright indirect or filtered sunlight. Sunlight that is too concentrated can scorch the plant and dry out the juicy leaves. Although aloe is well known for its medicinal uses when applied topically, it should never be ingested as it can cause unpleasant nausea and vomiting. That being said, please be sure to keep it out of the way of any curious small children or pets.
How Often Should I Water It?
Like many succulent plant species, the aloe vera’s nemesis is standing water around its delicate roots. Drench the plant when you water it, but just make sure the pot it lives in has plenty of drainage. Then, wait until the soil is completely dried out before watering the plant again. Like all aloes, and many succulents, aloe vera do not really need fertilising. A phosphorus heavy supplement once per year should be enough to ensure that your plant maintains maximum health.
Whether looking to add to your open terrarium setup, or seeking an easygoing houseplant to brighten up an indoor space, the aloe vera is flexible and forgiving; perfect for those seeking some striking foliage that comes without the diva behaviour of more complex tropical plants.