As a very low maintenance succulent plant, its probably the case that you have heard of an Aloe Vera. They are generally very forgiving and can be grown indoors and outdoors in some climates (they don’t like frost temps). But in addition to being a pretty mellow plant, Aloe Vera is also known to be medicinal.
For humans, Aloe Vera has been known to help with a variety of symptoms:
- Skin, including acne and sunburns
- Digestive Health
- Oral Health
For details on medicinal qualities check out this helpful article.
But what about your plants?
Well, turns out, plants LOVE Aloe Vera too (and bugs hate it). Read on for some Aloe goodness.
Aloe Vera helps protect your plants against disease.
What is saponin? Well, in extreme layman’s terms, they are exactly like what they sound like: the makings of soap. It has a foamy quality when agitated with water and has a toxicity that is sterilizing (in small doses not considered enough to harm us when ingested – but please do your own research before ingesting anything with saponin). See this article from The Naturopathic Herbalist for more deets on saponin.
The greatest concentration of saponin will be when the plant is flowering, and the most saponin is found in the woody parts of the plant like thick stems and roots, but the leaves also have some.
Okay, so what does saponin have to do with how Aloe Vera helps protect your plants? Well, high levels of saponin can be found in Aloe Vera, and, just like in soaps, this helps to protect against insects, pets, detrimental microbes, fungi, and mold. It has even been known to help clean out your soil, allowing water easier access to the roots of your plants.
A more commonly used term, salicylic acid is typically what you hear about in face washes as an acne fighter. Salicylic acid penetrates into your skin and works to dissolve dead skin cells that are clogging your pores.
But what about for your plants?
Aloe Vera is used by many organic gardeners as a rooting hormone, and has been known to speed up and increase the amount of cuttings that produce roots. To use as a rooting booster, mix 4 TBSP of fresh aloe vera blended gel with 1 gallon of water. Dip the freshly cut end of the cutting into the solution, then into your rooting block.
How can you use Aloe Vera in your garden?
Many ways! The list below lays out just a few ways to use freshly blended Aloe Vera gel, mixed with water in your garden.
- Fertilizer for Your Plants
Aloe Vera gel, mixed with water has been called the “Protein Drink for Your Plants,” and it is so accurate. To make a natural fertilizer with Aloe Vera, I like to “skin” the leaves. So cut off the prickles on both sides and slice the leaf down the middle. Then, you can take a spoon and scoop the gel very easily out of both sides and right into your Vitamix.
Add water and blend the Aloe Vera gel. Dilute this mixture with additional water and it is ready to use!
Don’t have Aloe Vera? That’s okay too. There are Aloe Vera powders that can do this exact same thing and are pure & organically cultivated. You can buy an 8oz pack for $9 here or go big and buy 1lb here – chances are you will definitely use it over time.
- Foliar Spray
Foliar spraying is an effective and fast way to provide directly through the leaves of your plants. This is a great way to try to bring life back to your plant when it first starts showing signs of deficiencies.
To make a foliar spray, mix 2 tsp of freshly blended aloe gel with 1 gallon of water, shake it in a spray bottle and mist the tops & bottoms of your plant leaves.
- Rooting Supplement
Looking for something to help boost your root growth when trying to grow from cuttings? Aloe Vera, of course. Mix 4 TBSP of freshly blended aloe gel with 1 gallon of water. Dip the fresh cut end of the cutting into the solution, then place in your rooting block. It’s that simple.
- Dry/Cut Hands & Sunburn
Aloe Vera (commonly known for treating sunburns) is also great for minor cuts and scrapes, which we all know happen when gardening due to the nature of dirt sucking the moisture from our hands and feet what seems like instantly. Well, good news, is you can turn to Aloe Vera to help heal those minor cuts and scrapes too.