New aloe Vera owner, I have some questions


SunshineAndSoil

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Well, I just got an aloe Vera plant from a friend I was visiting who had a surplus of aloe. I just left it on our porch for a couple days, and I finally have brought it in and done a bit of research. I have a few questions.

1. I read in a couple places that the leaves can get "burned" if they're in direct sun... and it's been sitting on my porch in full sun... soooo... whoops. Should I be worried?

2. It's sort of big and I would like to prune it a bit so the leaves are less all over the place. Is that okay to do for aloe?

3. Any other tips? I used to have a patch of aloe, but I was living in a completely different climate, and we basically just stuck a couple plants in the tiny "yard" that we had and it fended for itself.

And now... pictures!
image.jpg
image.jpg

It's about 2 feet tall and a little over a foot in diameter, and it has a bunch of little baby plants, too.
 
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SunshineAndSoil

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Oh, and
4. I've read about a bunch of things that you can mix with aloe to make various hair and skin products, but what happens if you, like, just smear pure aloe gel on your face, besides making a mess?
 
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Hallo SunshineAndSoil, aloes are hardy plants. I guess you could say I have grown up next to them in the Karoo, that semi-desert region in the Northen Cape Province of South Africa. They can survive without water for months on end in the scorching African desert sun. So I don't think you should be concerned about them getting too much sun. (Too little sun may be a problem. ) I have some aloes that grow along a westerly concrete wall that is heated by the sun. Few other plants would grow there. Last year I had to chop off most of the leaves on the one side of one of those aloes as they have covered a water supply pipe I had it repair. It did little damage to the plant, but unfortunately it did spoil its shape a bit. In Afrikaans, a language that is derived from the 17th century Dutch spoken by the first settlers at the Cape and that is widely spoken in South Africa, aloes are also called "kanniedood" (literally translation: "cannot die"). That is a very fitting name for them.

Aloe vera plants are also cultivated in the Eastern Cape Province and I know of at least one factory in the area where the leaves are cut at the edges and left to "bleed". The fluid derived from them are then used in shampoos, diet drinks and for medicinal uses.
 

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