Aloe vera is probably one of the best-known houseplants. The gel inside its leaves is famously used for soothing burns, but it’s more than just a green first aid kit. This is a plant that has adapted to live all over the world.
A wild aloe vera could grow as big as a metre across. Though it’s native to the Arabian Peninsula, aloe vera now grows wild in North Africa, Spain, Mexico, China, Australia and southern parts of the USA. Make sure it gets a lot of light and not too much water. In spring and summer, it will benefit from a feed with liquid fertiliser (make sure to use fertiliser made specifically for succulents and cacti).
Light watering: The leaves hold a lot of water, so it doesn’t need frequent watering. Water only when soil is dry.
Warmth: It doesn’t cope well with cold. The temperature of most homes should be fine, but keep it away from draughts.
Bright light: It’ll enjoy a spot with lots of bright light, though not too much direct sun. It won’t enjoy living in shade.
All the water in those big leaves mean it is a pretty heavy plant, so will need a sturdy pot to avoid tipping over.
Did you know?
There are records of aloe vera being used for its medicinal properties since the 16th century BC.