All about aloe

Make the most of your aloe houseplant!

Attractive, low-maintenance, air-purifying and brimming with health benefits, there are plenty of reasons to introduce an aloe plant into your home.

Characterised by its fleshy green leaves, soft spines and tubular flowers, there are over 500 species of this native African plant. But it is aloe vera – also known as “true aloe” – that most of us have come to know and love, thanks to its health giving properties.

Caring for your aloe

Hailing from the desert, the aloe is an easy-care plant that loves lots of sun and well-drained soil. Water only when the soil is dry and fertilise from April to September.

Three ways to showcase your aloe

  1. Plant in wide, shallow dishes to allow the long leaves of your aloe to spread – as well as giving its naturally sprawling roots the opportunity to stretch out under the soil. 
  2. Create an indoor succulent garden by planting multiple aloe plants in a long, oblong planter, or arrange a cluster of pots of contrasting succulent varieties on a table or shelf.
  3. The aloe’s long, lean leaves make it a sleek addition to a minimalist home. Use a simple white planter and scatter the soil with white gravel for a clean, modern feel. The gravel also assists drainage, preventing the roots from becoming waterlogged.

The health benefits of aloe vera

We’ve all reached for the bottle of aloe-vera gel after too much time in the sun, but there’s more to this botanical than its skin-soothing properties. Here are just a few of its popular uses:   

  • Hydrating the skin
  • Promoting skin renewal
  • Soothing minor burns
  • Cleansing the digestive system
  • Supporting the immune system

If you have an aloe from a specialist supplier, you might be able to create your own pure, additive-free gel, by taking a leaf, removing the spiny edges, slicing down the middle lengthways, and scooping out the gel. Some aloe houseplants can be harmful, so always check with a supplier or nursery before using them in this way.