Helpful Notes For The Medicine Plant Aloe Vera

Buying Tips:

  • Succulent usually grows slowly inside–purchase a large, mature one if possible. If a young one is your only option, it’s still suitable for first aid treatments–just know it will take a few years to get large.
  • Young aloe is potent enough for health remedies, but the mature one offers a stronger potency, strength does increase as it ages.

General Care & Maintenance:

  • It can be grown indoors or outdoors though it commonly turns brown in harsh sun so choose a location in indirect light.
  • Will freeze, protect it during frost dangers. Not suitable for wintering over in cold weather zones.
  • Thrives outside better than inside, yet still makes a good indoor houseplant.
  • Choose well-drained sandy potting soil, a good quality commercial mix with extra perlite, granite grit, or coarse sand are added is recommended. Cacti and succulent mixes may also be used. Source: Wikipedia.
  • Remember this is a succulent, don’t overwater.
  • Allow the soil to become fairly dry. Water sparingly during winter months since the drying out will be slower.
  • If potting, ensure there is a drainage hole so liquid drains easily.


  • If it is rootbound, it gets top heavy and sends out more new shoots or pups, repot.
  • Remove new shoots when they are 3 to 4 inches high and replant in their own pots. If you don’t, they suck life from the mother. Signs it’s happening: The mother becomes bright green and spreads horizontally rather than vertically.
  • Water the pups well when repotting then don’t again for about 3 weeks, forcing the new roots to get strong and seek moisture. They may turn grey or brown initially which is normal. These make great gifts so give freely!

Symptoms Of Poor Care (Leaves):

  • Lie flat instead of upright: usually because of insufficient light.
  • Thin and curled: too dehydrated and now using up its own liquid.
  • Are Brown: located in direct sun.
  • Very slow growth: High alkaline soil or water; too damp for too long; not enough light; too much fertilizer.

Removing Pieces:

  • Harvest as you need, the wound is quickly sealed and healed. The leaf will not come back, choose those closest to the ground as they are the most mature and most potent.

For Health Treatments

For benefits and home remedies, see this page.

How To Cut:

  • Slice with a clean, sharp knife.
  • Trim the thorny edges from the severed piece, then slice across its width. The inner transparent, gooey gel is ready to be applied directly to the afflicted area. Use generously, it’s absorbed by the skin within several minutes.
  • After the gel from the first layer of ruptured cells has run dry, scratch the surface with a clean knife to rupture more cells, releasing juice. Can be continued until there is nothing but green skin left.

How Long A Cut Piece Lasts:

  • Wrap partially used slices in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate, it will last for days.

To Consume:

  • The colorless pulp is tasteless, but first rinse off the bitter yellow sap. Peel the green skin from the pulp, then rinse off the sap.

Source – More complete notes & information found in the booklet:

The Ancient Egyptian Medicine Plant Aloe Vera Hand Book
Author: Max B. Skousen

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    • fortue ma

    So does aleo vera plant contain amino acids naturally ?

    • Pat Glenn

    I have used fresh Aloe gel on poison ivy and it worked like a miracle !!

      • marie

      how did you used it? for what?

    • Lisa

    Why is it that the leaves “closest to the ground…are the most mature and most potent.”??
    Wouldn’t the tallest ones be the oldest and thus the most mature?

      • Carole De

      The leaves closest to the ground are the oldest and probably the biggest. They have had time to mature. As a plant grows up from the roots, the newest leaves are on top. If you harvest leaves for a burn, use the oldest bottom ones first. I hope this helps you.

    • Roy Lent

    Here in Costa Rica I have seen and had big Aloe vera plants, in the ground, full sun, lots of rain and they just keep on growing. Mature Aloe vera plants have plain gray-green leaves, not bright green and no light green blotches. Many people have other Aloe plants and think they have Aloe vera. Aloe vera pups do have light green blotches on their leaves but old plants have very uninspired gray-green leaves.

    • Roy Lent

    By the way, the plant pictured at the beginning of this artcle does not look like a typical Aloe vera plant. The leaves are much too short and too bright a green.

      • marie

      they are relatives,i can say.

      • Tara

      It’s not an aloe vera at all, it’s some kind of decorative aloe. Drives me crazy when people call all aloes “aloe vera” especially because it could lead to someone hurting themselves. Aloe vera is medicinal and the juice is edible, but this isn’t true for all aloe species.

    • vonetta

    thanks i have several differnt aloe plants and have been having trouble finding pictures and info online about the ones i have. I now have a better understanding about this aloe plant, thanks again.

    • jan

    since I do not have sand on hand to re-pot my aloe vera plant….is it possible to use non-deodorized cat litter or mulch

      • marie

      u can used garden soil,cat litter im not sure.

    • Fl Strom Orphan

    Aloe is not the prettiest plant in the garden but its benefits are priceless. I live in central Florida, have three vigorous patches of aloe growing in my yard started from cuttings just stuck in the sand. Here the plant seems to thrive on neglect. Mine only get rain water, no fertilizer and grow under my oak trees where there is a thin layer of fallen leaves. They produce enough vegetation for me to share with friends.

    I am 70 and eat one leaf daily. It gives me energy and reduces swelling and pain from arthritis. The leaves I harvest are about 12 to 18 inches long. I cut sections about an inch each. Cut off the ‘thorns’ on one side slice down the middle spread the leaf open and scrape the gel off with my teeth. Just consider the plant has similar benefits inside and outside your body. BTW stick the tip of the plant in the ground for another plant you can share.

    OK people complain it is slimy like mucous. Well yes but that is an illusion so shatter it! The benefits are worth this slight undesirable perception. The taste is slightly bitter but if you can’t tolerate the texture and taste go ahead don’t be lazy and scrape the gel from the plant with a spoon and mix it with juice. The benefits are worth it and far less costly than pharmaceuticals. Fresh from the garden always delivers the most benefit.

    Familiarize yourself with any possible side effects. Diabetics should be cautious and maybe some who suffer from other health problems. You are the best judge of what you need as you are most familiar with your diet and symptoms. We must all take responsibility for our own health.

      • marie

      this is new,i never heard before.

      • Dianne

      Thanks for this, I have a few plants and to b honest apart from the occasional water and finding the right spot, I do nothing else. I have heaps growing. I have health probs and I just want to make sure that I am eating the right part of the plant. I have read that eating the yellow part of the sap is not good. So do you just eat about an inch of a leaf a day for your arthritis then?

      • Kemmy

      To avoid the bitter taste: After cutting the leaf off, you need to soak the cut end in some water for a few minutes, till the yellow sap has finished seeping into the water. Throw away the yellowish water because the sap is an irritant and will damage stomach lining. Best to eat only the colorless gel. The yellow sap has a laxative effect but is harmful to the stomach. The colorless gel is not bitter but it’s taste can be improved by blending with lime juice and honey.

      Here in Singapore (tropics) I grow 2 types of aloe plants in my garden. The big plants , which are grayish green, are planted in the ground but they have yet to produce pups although they are at least 5 years old.The small plants, bright green with markings, produces pups at a fast pace.

    • Carole De

    My mother plant is very old and belonged to my boyfriend’s grandma. We would like to save it if we can, rather than just the new pups. It has a long bare spot in the middle and I would like to know if I just cut it off and plant it, will it grow? It has been very neglected for a few years and has a twist in its spine where it had to grow around another potted plant in the same window. Also, if we cut off a mature leaf to use on a burn, can we save it by putting that same leaf back into the soil directly? We are very attached to this plant because his grandma has been gone a long time and we don’t want to lose the mama.

    • Stephanie

    I took my mother’s large aloe plant when she passed away, and I certainly do NOT have the same green thumb she had. I need some advice on how to care for it because I will be devastated if it dies. I’m pretty clear on the sunlight and watering aspects, its growth is my main priority. The plant is in a very large pot (not the correct type I have learned here), and it is about 2 1/2 feet tall. However, the lower leaves had been removed and now the plant is very top heavy. So much so that even after I put stakes in it and tried to tie it up, the weight is still pulling it over and now it hangs crooked. There are also several smaller baby aloe plants growing in the pot along with it. Do I need to repot it? I’m really at a loss as to what to do with it. Any advice would be tremendously appreciated. Thank you in advance!

      • Tara

      You should repot all of them. Repot the pups into separate small pots and the big one into a pot big enough that the roots take up 2/3 the pot. Shallow pot is better than a deep pot because aloe roots grow horizontally and they won’t use all the soil in a deep pot. If it’s in a big pot and still can’t support itself (too top heavy) it may just be that the pot is too deep and not wide enough for it to grow its roots out to support itself. Even if the larger plant ends up being lost the pups should be OK.

    • marie

    u can repot in a bigger one,or better if you have a place in the ground like garden.

    • Helen Willis

    In some of the posts, I’ve noticed that writers allude to using aloe for burns. Aloe is good for many abrasions. My skin tears easily, and my fingertips are often painful, but aloe clears it up in a couple of days. This is very helpful because I’m a diabetic.

    • sherry

    here in England i am keeping my aloe inside its had alot of babies it was dying so i decided to repot adding some sand to ordinary compost but they are all squishy and falling to bits
    what should i do???

    • Irene

    My aloe vera is quite large and outgrowing it’s pot. However, it has now decided to grow a “flower”. This flower is growing so fast and is already over two feet tall. I have asked friends about it and they say that they have never heard of them flowering. It is green like an ear of corn and doesn’t seem to have colour (except green). What do I do with it?

      • Tara

      Enjoy it, it means your aloe is extremely healthy and happy! It’s very rare for aloe to flower when it’s grown as a houseplant because the growing conditions are rarely close enough to their natural tropical conditions. Flowering will not kill the plant.

    • christine

    Hello I hope someone can help me out im trying to figure out what this strange stock is thats growing out of the center of my mother aloe it looks a bit like an artichoke at the end of a long thick stem I have several aloe that are years old and have never seen this!

    • glad

    i have brown and yellow patches at the base of my bottom leaves on my aloe vera it has been in a cold dry concervatory over winter as i have been away ,could someone help

    • barb Lang

    Do any of you who plant the aloe vera outside have any trouble with deer coming up to eat it? This would be in southwest Colorado, in the rural countryside

    • Sharon

    My neighbor gave me a mature, outdoor aloe vera plant which was root-bound. I separated the pups growing alongside the mother plant and transferred them to another pot. I put the mother plant in a much larger pot in cactus soil. While the pups are now indoors, the mother plant remains outside.

    I live in Houston, Texas, which is great for aloes, but the plant’s exposure to the Texas sun has browned the leaves at its tips. As I write this, there is no shade available in the back yard, so I am wondering if misting the leaves on a daily or regular basis would help alleviate this problem.

    The mother plant also sprouted flowers, which have since blossomed and dried out. Is there anything that should be down with this growth now that the blossoms are gone? Will the stem produce more flowers or it this something that should be cut away?

    Will greatly appreciate any input.


    • Doug

    How many leaves should I cut out at one time

    • Gregory

    Too bad the photo is NOT Aloe vera. There are two varieties of Aloe vera commonly grown and they are quite different – leading to many diferences in response to direct sun as well as pupping. The more common one has light green spotted leaves and pups like crazy. The other has larger, more gray-green leaves, is much more sun tolerant and pups much less. Aloe vera ‘Barbadensis’ refers to one of these but the two names seem to be used indescriminately. I don’t know which is which.

    • Tammy

    I have a large Aloe Vera plant that was given to me by a friend about 4 years ago. Last year it made about 8 pups. I removed all the pups, and repotted the mother with new MG cactus potting mix back in the same pot. The largest of the pups, I took indoors and planted it in MG Cactus potting mix. It has grown considerably and the leaves are very plump but I will wait another 4 years before I begin to harvest

    • Anna Gail

    Hi All!

    I am from Ireland and they dont sell aloe vera stems in healthshops or supermarkets (for consumption) around here. So, I bought my own aloe plant recently from my local garden shop. I bought two big ones and two baby ones. The baby ones to grow. And the big ones to consume — Until i read the label that came with the plant that says “not suitable for consumption” !!!!!! I was sooooo gutted as this is the main reason i got the plant….to consume them (i suffer from arthritis and aloe vera has very potent anti-inflammatory properties).

    I asked the sales assistant about the label warning and he reassured me that the label was just a “collective european requirement” to warn people about plants in general. When it’s clearly stated on the label that the plant has medicinal purpose and so on….it clearly suggested that it was referring to the aloe plant. So i’m a bit sceptical. Unless they used pesticides or for whatever reason that the plant is deemed not safe to eat but is okey for use expternally.

    My question is, am I crazy to be consuming this plant? (As i am at the moment) Or will i be okey….

    Any opinion would be greatly appreciated.

      • Tara

      Be very sure that the plant you have is an “aloe vera” and not just any “aloe”. There are many many types of aloe which are not suitable for consumption or medical purposes. If you are worried about pesticides used on the parent plant, maybe you could wait for the parent plant to produce pups, repot the pups and then only use the pups when they get bigger. Also you shouldn’t eat the skin or the latex (yellow part of the inside just under the skin), only the gel of an aloe vera plant.

    • Anna


    I see there are varying types of Aloe plant. Are they all useful for health or should I be looking for one specific type?



    • Suzy

    Help! I have a 10+ year old aloe I call “Momma.” She was very tiny when we bought her and she is huge now and I get anywhere from 27-30 pups off of her yearly. I’m into the stages now where her grandpups are having pups.

    My question is this — I’ve recently noticed that a few of my aloe “babies” 12″ high or more — and Momma now have pups coming out the sides of the main plant stalk — between the existing stems. Is this going to hurt Momma? She means the world to me and I want to do what’s best for her.

    Any suggestions or recommendations?

    • Jean

    I bought an Aloe Vera plant back from Lanzarote this year, planted it up and it seems to be surviving ok. The only thing is I’ve noticed that it secretes a sort of sticky liquid…. is this normal.

    • dorie

    Someone told me the aloe does wonders fo the face so i went and bought the plant to grow in my garden.Now my question is when can i start using it because the plant is still rather small..Need your advice please

      • Tara

      You can use it at anytime but it will get more potent if you wait for it to be bigger and older. More potency is not necessarily better for an acne medication and I’m not sure how potent you are aiming for so you should ask whoever told you that.

    • Wayne Murrow

    Our large plant has sent up a two foot stem and has blooms on the top. It has never done that before. Is it no0rmal?

      • Barb

      My plant is about 3-4 years old and still only about 3-4 inches high and so spindly. I”m ready to give up. 🙁 Wish I could post a picture.

    • Lena Barley

    Hi! Aloevera Lovers: I’d learned over the years that those plants, no matter the size, does not like direct sunlight. Every Spring, I assist at Corpus Christi “Spring Fling” in the Gordon Booth and the members of the church donate small/medium/large plants but the succulent plants are damage the most, due to the Sun.Those type of plants love partial sunlight and never over water. The most important nourishment each plant needs is Love and the checking of the soil before watering. God created different types of plants for our healing but most of us have abused those plants and have not use them according to God’s purpose for us. The Medicine (Aloevera)Plant, is one of the wonderfully made plants by God and working together with prayers to heal;burns,facial wash,cuts,sores,scalp
    infections and hot soup dropped on feet but I’m not familiar with eating aloevera.Since liquids absorb through skin, rub aloevera plant gel on skin.Lol

      • amit


      I recently received two aloe Vera plants from back home in the UK. I live in dubai.

      I live in an apartment and because of the the balcony not enough soon light comes into the apartment

      for about 20 minutes a day in the morning I do get sun rays into the apartment. I have put the plants in these locations but they seem to be struggling as they are not how they were when I received them

      unfortunately the garden centres are not very helpful over here. you get so many different opinions on how to look after them

      in the UK the mother plant was in a conservatory which during the winter months had underfloor heating and had sunlight coming through and just normal light

      so my question is where do I position them . in the area where the sun rays hit the apartment briefly or close to the window or outside ?

      do they need direct sunlight or just light

      I had one before and when the winter months kicked in ( yes they call it winter here in dubai also) the plant basically struggled the leaves started to twist and it eventually died

    • Elisa

    Bought a baby aloe at Home Depot, it did amazingly well, then my daughter started eating the leaves, although the plant started flowering so I was assuming it was fine…. daughter did more cutting, then it flowered again. I noticed that my daughter happened to be cutting & eating from the center leaves & it looked horrible so I trimmed them back to the base, now the poor plant looks freaky. Leaves at the bottom, then a cut back shaft & a healthy looking top. Question is, can I just cut the shaft to the center of the bottom growth & replant the cutting? Afraid it might be top heavy & fall over & break.(just so you know, I asked my daughter to leave the plant alone since she doesn’t know how to harvest)

    • Rita Casper

    My aloe plant has a tall stem coming up the middle with two buds but the little flowers are dying before they open. My aloe has never bloomed and I am so disappointed is there anything I can do to keep them from dying so they will open?

    • Delores Barden

    I have several different types of cacti and I say they need to be watered once a week my husband said that is too much but If I don’t they start to to wilt plz help us

    • Joea

    All very interesting. I have just recently bought my a/v plant from a charity
    Shop here in Scotland.l am not too sure how to go about getting the best from it but with this site l now have high hopes.I’m delighted and looking forward to
    Learning more

    • teamcross

    I bought a young aloe from home depo this summer and repotted it into a basic clay pot maybe 6inch diameter and it is now almost the same diameter as the pot. My question is is it to young to propagate? From what I have read and watch all have been huge older plants. But mine looks like it has 8 shoots and possibly the mother plant is kind of growing horizontal. And it has a cute tiny but getting taller flower sprouting and maybe a second one:-) surprisingly because I live in alaska but maybe not so since the sun is farther away? It has been sitting in my windowsill aprox 5 hours of sun now that we are losing day light but mid summer it was get 6-8 hours of full sun. I also bought miracle-gro cactus potting mix and fertilizer. Side tracked sorry but question is can it be to young to separate the shoots from mom? Thanks for reading:-)

    • Charlotte

    I have just cut away some pups from my main aloe vera plant and set aside the pups to callus over before planting. My question is do I need to leave the main plant a few days before water to callus over? shes been about 3/4 weeks without water and is going soft.

    • Iram

    I got a stem from someone and planted it. It has a little shoot growing next to it but the original one looks like it’s rotting? Please help?!

    • vvc

    Hi there,

    Thanks for information provided. It was really helpful. I would like to know more information on cultivation of Aloe Vera with other plants in the same area? will that be a good idea? what are the pros and cons? what other plants can mix with Aloe Vera?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Elaniey

    This is wonderful I got a little baby aloe plant and it keeps growing and this website is a great help! Now my plant is going to grow to be a beautiful aloe plant. But its still a baby so yeah. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

    • roger

    we have a hugh alvra outside for yrs this yr theres a tree like limb about 5 ft long growing straight up out of the center its never done this before what is it?

    • Stacey Kershaw

    Hi all! I live in Boston and the weather here today is very rainy and windy. My aloe plant was sitting on the banister on the porch and the wind knocked it over and the tips of two leaves broke off. Can anyone tell me if they Will grow back?

    • Jennifer A. Gylling

    I have an abundance of Aloe Vera Plants growing in every single window of my mothers home. The plants love the garden windows and seem to be extremely happy. Just wanted to let everyone know that it IS possible to grow them happily inside. They are healthy and growing like weeds

    • Holly S

    Hi! I left my large aloe plant outside for a few nights with cold temps. Now, the ends of the larger stems are bent. What do I do?! I have several pups that need to be cut and planted but I’m afraid to do anything right now. ! I brought the plant inside for the winter. (I live in Georgia). What should I do? Appreciate any words of wisdom.

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