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As usual, if there's a particular plant you'd like me to address, just drop me a line at shell@michellesgarden.com.


Aloe
Aloe barbadensis (A. vera)

For color and textural contrast, grow several of the more than 300 perennial species of succulent aloe. The long, tapering leaves are ornamented with soft spines and contain a medicinal as well as cosmetic gel.

Best Climate and Site

Zones 9-10. Prefers full sun but tolerates light shade.

Ideal Soil Conditions

Well-drained soil low in organic matter; pH 6.7-7.3.

Growing Guidelines

Separate new shoots from established plants. In cool climates, plant in pots and move them indoors in winter. Aloes thrive with little attention. Indoors, avoid overwatering and mix coarse sand with potting soil to facilitate good drainage.

Growing Habit

Variable height; stemless rosette of spiny, tapered leaves.

Flowering Time

Rarely flowers in cool climates; drooping, tubular,yellow to red blossoms atop a tall stalk.

Pest and Disease Prevention

Spray with insecticidal soap to control mealybugs, or purchase biological controls like mealybug destroyers, or green lacewings. Control insect pests before bringing pots indoors.

Harvesting and Storing

Cut leaves for gel as needed; remove outer leaves first.

Special Tips

Grow on sunny windowsills in the kitchen and bathroom.

Precautions

Unsafe to use internally.

Other Common Names

First-aid herb, healing herb, medicine plant.


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