Most of the time, when we think of gardens, our minds wander to either delicious fresh vegetables or colorful flowers, and these are definitely two great reasons to get a garden on the go. However, there are more things worth cultivating, and medicinal plants certainly warrant a spot even in the home plot. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is amongst the easiest medicinal plants to use and grow, which is why it should be featured in everyone’s gardens.
Even for those who aren’t all that into herbal medicines or house plants, aloe vera is one that is recognizable, and most people are aware that it is great for burns. Aloe vera, though, has many medicinal uses beyond that. And, as for taking care of a houseplant, they don’t require much attention at all, are easy to find, and are cheap to buy as mature plants.
Why Aloe Vera Should Be in Your Garden
While there are a couple hundred strains of aloe, aloe vera is the most common and is recognized for being particularly packed with goodness. The gel substance inside this succulent is a great natural gift to be taken advantage of. There are many ways to do so:
- Treat burns: Aloe vera cools and pacifies burns, and it has properties that help skin recover from the damage.
- Treat minor cuts: Aloe vera, which has anti-inflammatory properties, also helps with minor cuts. Clean them, apply aloe vera, and put a bandage over them.
- Soothe skin irritations: Again, it’s a wonder for the skin. Aloe vera will cool and calm problematic itches and irritations on the skin, including sunburns.
- Moisturize: The gel from aloe vera plants can be used to make a face mask that will keep your face healthy and revitalized.
- Cleanse inside: Aloe vera is edible, and it is commonly used to aid digestion, particularly with constipation issues.
- Remove make-up: Ditch whatever chemicals are in that make-up remover, and go for some aloe vera instead.
- Sanitize Hands: No need to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Aloe vera can help make an inexpensive, all-natural one.
- Eat it: Healing, herbal, and sweet — 4-Ingredient Raw Aloe Vera Brownies
In other words, why wouldn’t we want aloe vera? It’s the perfect plant to have around the house, where we might burn ourselves on a hot pan or knick our fingers with knives. Rather than relying on some chemical medicine or expensive herbal salve, we can just use a bit of fresh aloe vera gel.
The Best Way to Grow It
Aloe vera is a succulent plant, which means it has a high water content. The good news about this is that it can survive droughts well, so we don’t have to fret over watering it often. The downside is that it doesn’t handle cold weather very well at all. The water within the plant freezes and kills it.
Aloe vera is a perennial tropical plant, so unless you are in USDA Zones 10-11, you’ll likely not be able to grow it as a permanent outside plant. Luckily, this isn’t a big deal. Aloe vera thrives in pots, and it can easily be moved inside when the temperature drops. Truth be told, the best places to have it are on kitchen and bathroom windowsills, where it gets plenty of sun and is right there when and if an accident takes place.
When growing aloe vera in pots, it’s good to remember that they have shallow, spreading roots, so it is probably better to get a pot that has a little extra circumference space around the plant. This will also help with reproducing your plant. Aloe vera propagates by sending up new seedlings right along its base. These can be taken and planted in a new pot, multiplying your supply at no extra cost.
Easy to grow, free to replicate, and useful to have, bringing a little aloe vera into your world seems like a no-brainer.
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