Pages

15 April 2011

Aloe vera

Amongst the many species of plants in flower during the spring, it is also possible to see aloe vera plants in flower. 



"Aloe vera, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe that is believed to have originated in the Sudan.  Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India, and other arid areas. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine.

Description
Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall,spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces.  The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.  Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.

Cultivation
Aloe vera can be grown as an ornamental plant.Aloe vera has been widely grown as an ornamental plant. The species is popular with modern gardeners as a putatively medicinal plant and due to its interesting flowers, form, and succulence. This succulence enables the species to survive in areas of low natural rainfall, making it ideal for rockeries and other low-water use gardens.  The species is hardy in zones 8–11, although it is intolerant of very heavy frost or snow.  The species is relatively resistant to most insect pests, though spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and aphid species may cause a decline in plant health.  In pots, the species requires well-drained sandy potting soil and bright sunny conditions; however, in very hot and humid tropical or subtropical climates, aloe plants should be protected from direct sun and rain, as they will burn and/or turn mushy easily under these conditions. The use of a good-quality commercial propagation mix or pre-packaged "cacti and succulent mix" is recommended, as they allow good drainage.  Terracotta pots are preferable as they are porous.  Potted plants should be allowed to completely dry prior to re-watering. When potted aloes become crowded with "pups" growing from the sides of the "mother plant," they should be divided and re-potted to allow room for further growth and help prevent pest infestations. During winter, Aloe vera may become dormant, during which little moisture is required. In areas that receive frost or snow, the species is best kept indoors or in heated glasshouses.  Large scale agricultural production of Aloe vera is undertaken in Australia, Bangladesh, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, India, Jamaica, Kenya and South Africa, along with the USA to supply the cosmetics industry with Aloe vera gel."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...