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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Aloe Vera offers natural healing jelly like pulp

By Staff | Jun 15, 2016

Plant Subject: Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)

First impression: Honeysuckle shaped blossoms in yellows and oranges. These bright blossoms cover the upright flower stem, which stands taller than the plant. I notice the plump light green leaves arranged in a pattern that reminds me of a starburst. They are edged with serrated teeth to prevent breakage and/or being eaten. No fragrance that I can detect, but a hummingbird would love to partake of this beauty. Look, but don’t touch, a sticky situation might occur if you try to pick these blossoms.

Upon further investigation: Aloe hails from the Old World and can easily be confused with over 380 species. Aloe Vera is well-known all over the world for its natural healing jellylike pulp. It was discovered on the Canary Islands, whom we have to thank for giving us such a beneficial worldwide plant today. As a member of this family you can expect drought tolerance and oodles of plant stages that are attractive to wildlife.

Pollinators including hummers, feed on the sweet nectar from the long and slender tubular flowers. Each blossom consists of 20-30 flowers emerging from the end of a tall, branched, stiff flower stalk. These flowers are the colors of sunrise in bright shades of yellows, oranges, grays, and pinks. I have heard many a gasp from northern visitors who had never seen aloe bloom.

Unlike agaves who bloom once in a lifetime, aloes bloom many-many times in their lifetime. Once the flowers begin to wilt, they produce a light green colored seed pod. Of course when we think of aloe, it’s the leaves that we all covet, smooth on the outside and plump with healing jelly on the inside. They are arranged in a gorgeous whorled rosette pattern with a short trunk at the base, so they make a very attractive, xeric ground cover.

Our star can be identified by its light smooth green leaves, usually edged with small sharp teeth, so look out! These barbs try to protect the aloe from all those critters, including us, who want to get to the succulent juice inside.

Maximum growth of the shrub is 2-3 feet tall. Pruning can be done carefully, but really not necessary. Many times I have cut off a leaf for the healing gel to soothe kitchen and sun burns. This is a must have side benefit for planting this over achiever in your garden.

When transplanting the babies, wear thick leather gloves and long sleeved shirt. Wrapping a long rolled-up section of newsprint, or fabric around a plant provides a convenient handle that avoids the edged teeth. Whaa-la! You have another fabulous aloe plant that is beautiful inside and out, and rewards you with the gift of healing without a lot of fuss or muss. Now that’s my kinda plant!

Pros:

Unique long bloomer

Noninvasive

Easily propagated by itself

Makes your northern guests very happy to see an aloe bloom

Is great for a hard to grow area

Must have for hummingbirds

Great habitat plant

Easy care

Healing gels

Cons:

Be careful with teeth on leaves

Fast grower

Non native

Who doesn’t love hummingbirds????

Conclusion: Aloe how unique and beautiful, we usually only think of it from a lotion or cream. Your aloe is free range and blooming, blooming, blooming in your tropical eye catching garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!