Question: Aloe Vera, first purchase, various doubts
Hi, I hope you will understand my completely inexperienced language on the subject! Yesterday I bought an Aloe Vera plant in the center closest to my house (I live in Lombardy, province of Mantua), as I have had an annoying sunburn on my face for almost a week and since I had a desire to having an Aloe at home this problem convinced me to buy one!
I state that, no one in the nursery where I bought it has been able to answer me or give me clarifications on the age of the plant (so I bought it by going to logic alone), on how to maintain itself etc. I have moreover responded badly by telling me to document on the internet or elsewhere! What a courtesy !! Leaving aside this lack of professionalism, at this point I would like to document myself on the subject from who, surely with kindness and passion for the craft, will be able to give me the necessary information to be able to take care of this beautiful plant with a thousand beneficial powers!
So, first of all the plant is about 50 cm high, the leaves are green, long, full of gel inside, it has some small leaves at the ends of the vase that are growing.
I immediately start with the first question: yesterday during transport by car, despite having paid a lot of attention, a piece of leaf, about 10 cm long, came off, from which the gel started to come out and I obviously didn't throw it away but used it immediately on the face burned. However, I noticed that on the broken leaf (very long and adult) a brownish substance was formed, as if in the broken point of the leaf it had healed on its own; what should i do with this leaf? I have to remove it all from the root and renounce all the gel that is inside it, since I won't be able to use it all, or I can be quiet and leave the leaf as it is that does not damage the other leaves, nor itself, nor the plant in general?
Another question, I noticed that a leaf, always external, adult and coarse has a kind of brown spot, dry and flattened on the base of the leaf that folds it horizontally, as if I placed an object on the base of the leaf and it is crushed horizontally (with base I mean the innermost part of the leaf. If there was a way I would post a picture because it's not easy to understand my rather inexperienced language).
Another question, in general, how is this plant maintained? When and how much do you have to water it?
How long can this plant last?
Would it be appropriate to repot the smaller leaves that do not have space to grow, being attached to the ends of the pot? If so, how are the leaves extracted for repoting them? (In this regard, together with the plant yesterday I also bought some soil for succulents, in addition to this I should add some substances to the soil or the soil is already enriched with what is needed for the plant ?)
Sorry for the thousand questions but I'm on the high seas and I don't know where to start !!
A hug, Tania
Answer: Aloe Vera, first purchase, various doubts
congratulations for your explanations, very clear and exhaustive of the problem, your request should be considered as an example by anyone wishing to make a request to our experts, since you give us all the necessary information to be able to be useful in the best way. Aloe vera leaves contain a particularly moisturizing mucilage, both for the skin in case of burns, and for the leaves of the plant itself, which even if broken or damaged, survive without problems; clearly this mucilage oxidizes on contact with the air, more or less rapidly, leaving unsightly marks on the foliage; therefore usually, in these cases, the ruined leaves at the base are removed, near the stem where they are attached, using a clean and sharp knife, avoiding to engrave the stem itself. This is useful to avoid dark signs, but also to prevent open wounds in the foliage to act as a gateway for bacteria and fungal diseases. The leaves you found marked, with an obvious dark spot, could be affected by a fungus, but also could simply have received a bump during his life in the nursery; if the leaves develop healthy, apart from the dark mark, leave it where it is; if instead you notice that it perishes, or becomes soggy, remove it at the base. Aloe plants are very long-lived, and often produce basal shoots, in the form of small new plants; if desired it is possible to remove them, detaching them from the mother plant, if possible together with some roots, and repotting them in individual pots. The soil for succulent plants is perfect for aloe, if you think it remains too moist you can add a little river sand, which improves drainage. These plants are native to Africa, where they enjoy a fairly warm climate, with torrid summers, and mild winters; in Italy aloe is grown outdoors, and in regions where winters are cold, as in your case, they shelter in autumn and winter, possibly not at home, but for example in a stairwell, where they can enjoy of a cool climate, with temperatures close to 10-12 ° C; or you can place the plant on a south-facing terrace, near the house, covered with non-woven fabric, so that it does not receive rain water, but enjoy the sun even in winter. Aloe loves good sunshine, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight every day, but avoiding the excessively hot and burning sun of the evening. Watering is to be provided only when the soil is dry, from April to September, so it depends on the climate and how many rains there have been. In winter it is good to avoid watering, if the plant is outdoors; if instead you keep it at home, place it in a very bright place, and water only sporadically, about once a week, when the substrate is perfectly dry.