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  • [ – ] 123-Proverb-Monkey reply The Aloe Vera plant is an attractive succulent with thick, variegated leaves that fan out from its center base. Aloe vera plants are easy to keep and useful, too, as the juice from their leaves will relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Keep the aloe vera plant in a pot near a kitchen window for everyday use. PLANTING Plant in wide containers with a well-draining potting mix, such as those made for cacti and succulents. Aloe vera plants are hardy, but a lack of proper drainage can cause rot and wilting. Place in indirect sunlight or artificial light. CARE Water aloe deeply, but in order to discourage rot, allow the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. Water even less often in winter. Aloe vera plants produce offsets—also known as plantlets or “babies”—that can be removed to produce an entirely new plant. Knock your aloe vera out of its pot and find where the offsets are attached. Sever them from the mother plant with a knife. Allow t...morehe cuts on the offsets and the mother plant to callus over for a day or two, then pot them in a standard potting mix. Put in a sunny location. Wait a week to water and keep the soil on the dry side. PESTS/DISEASES Aloe vera plants are susceptible to common garden pests, such as mealybugs and scale. Some common diseases are root rot, soft rot, fungal stem, and leaf rot. Avoid overwatering to prevent these conditions from developing. HARVEST/STORAGE Aloe Vera Gel To make use of the aloe vera plant’s soothing properties, remove a mature leaf from the plant and cut it lengthwise. Squeeze the gel out of the leaf and apply it to your burn, or simply lay the opened leaf gel-side–down on top of the affected area. RECOMMENDED VARIETIES Other especially attractive aloes include the Tiger or Partridge Breasted Aloe (Aloe variegata) and Lace Aloe (A. aristata). WIT & WISDOM Aloe vera will decorate a kitchen shelf with quiet grace while doing double duty as a self-regenerating first-aid kit. Read more about the natural health benefits of aloe vera. One of aloe’s most famous uses is to soothe sunburnt skin, and it can be also used for cold sores.
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