Aloe vera is one of those plants that everyone recognises on sight. I grow it because I love the look of it.
The thick fleshy leaves have little white barbs that look like teeth but this has to be one of the friendliest and useful plants.
Aloe extract pops up in all sorts of beverages, moisturising products and sunburn remedies. Here is an example of how you can make your own gel http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Aloe-Vera-Gel.
Here is a cut leaf showing the gel:
Apparently the gel and juice taste awful. I am not game to try 🙂
Freshly cut leaves and the gel have an unpleasant acrid smell but you have to get pretty close to smell it.
The flower is very attractive, lasts a long time and is perched a top a metre tall stem.
I have it planted in rich well-draining soil that gets a little sun during winter and afternoon sun during summer. I generally keep clear of it when using fertilisers and I find it low maintenance. If potted, it is also very happy to be inside for long periods.
Aloe spreads via ‘pups’ that bud off the edges as a ready-made plant. These are easily transplanted and potted aloe vera plants make a great gift.
Here are some more grow your own food posts and some of my favourite ingredients: