Aloe Vera Growing Guide:
Introduction of Aloe Vera growing
Aloe Vera is one of the fast-growing medicinal plants throughout the world. The plant is indigenous to Africa and other Mediterranean nations. The plant is hardy perennial tropical plant and as its drought resisting plant, it can be cultivated in places where other crops cannot be cultivated. Aloe Vera grows to a height of 45 to 75 cm; the leaves are long 25 to 30 cm and three to five centimeter in width, thick and juicy. The leaves grow in a circulating row around the trunk. The edges of the leaves on either side grow thorny tips. The leaves at the top are much skinnier than the bottoms which are thicker and fatter. Though Aloe Vera is rich in medicinal properties, much research is going to exploit its potential but still, it remains as disregarded and scattered as a wild plant. Aloe Vera growing is gaining momentum in recent years for its market demand because of its rich natural nutrients, fiber, and importance in herbal medicine.
Aloe Vera growing in Container
Aloe Vera can be grown in our own gardens such as backyard, terrace, and patio in pots or containers. It is the easiest way to get fresh and natural Aloe Vera gel or juice. When planting Aloe Vera in a container use a cactus potting mix as a medium to grow, or one can make own growing medium by mixing equal parts of soil, sand, and gravel. After placing the transplant in the container with a proper drainage hole, place a layer of small rocks or pebbles around the base of the plant. After transplanting by cutting the young shoot from the parent plant, it is recommended not to water for a few days and let the roots recover from the damage. Watering increases the chance of root decay or rot.
Scientific/botanical name of Aloe Vera
Aloebarbadensis Mill Aloe Vera Linn is the botanical or scientific name and the plant comes from the family Liliaceae.
Other names of Aloe Vera
The plant is also called in other popular names such as Aloe, Indian Alces, Kumari, Chirita, Gawarpaltra, Barbados Aloe, Curacao Aloe, Korphad, LuHui.
Aloe Vera in Indian Languages
- ·Gujarati –કુંવરપાઠુ(Kunvarapāṭhu).
- Malayalam – Kumari / അലോയര (alēāyara).
- Telugu – కలబంద (kalabanda).
- Kannada – ಲೋಳೆಸರ (Lōḷesara).
- Bengali – Ghritkumari.
- Tamil – Katralai.
- Hindi – Ghritkumari.
- Bangla – ঘৃতকুমারী (Ghr̥takumārī).
- Marathi – कोरफड (Kōraphaḍa).
- Punjabi – ਕਵਾਂਰਗੰਦਲ਼ (Kavānragadaḻa).
Aloe Vera Varieties / Aloe Vera Cultivars
It is observed there are somewhere around 350 types of Aloe Vera in the Aloaceae family. The different cultivars exist in size, color and growing habits. In India the commercially important sub-species are Aloe barbedensis, A. chinensis, A. perfoliata, A. vulgaris, A indica, A. littoralis and A. abyssinica. IC111271, IC111269, IC111280 etc
Climate and Soil requirement for Aloe Vera growing
Aloe grows well in various soils and climatic conditions. Either hot humid and dry climate or dry sandy soils, Aloe Vera plants are well adapted in growing. However, it is intolerant to frost and low winter temperature. The plants are highly sensitive to water stagnation and prone to disease infestation when growing under shady conditions. Plants can be grown in a wide variety of soils from sandy soil to loamy soils. Aloe plants are tolerant to high pH and in high Sodium and Potassium salt soils. In well-drained medium fertile soils with organic compost, the growth rate is faster with higher foliage.
Land preparation in Aloe Vera growing
Land must be prepared free from weeds and the soil slightly acidic. The fields are moderately fertile and fast draining. The land is plowed and cross plowed two to three times. Incorporate farmyard manure in the last plowing. At 45 to 60cm, ridges and furrows are formed in the fields.
Propagation in Aloe Vera growing
Propagation through seeds is difficult. Seedlings are normally raised from root suckers or rhizome cuttings. For propagation, medium sized roots suckers are taken by dug out from the parent plant at the base and directly planted in the farmland without damaging the parent plant roots. In the case of rhizome cutting, the rhizome in the soil is dug out about at least five to six centimeter having two to three nodes on each of them. The cuttings are rooted in containers or special beds at the nursery for sprouting. When the seedlings or young sprouts are ready they are transplanted to the main farmland or field. About 14000 to 14500 seedlings are raised in a nursery to be planted for an acre land or about 35,000 seedlings for one hectare.
Spacing in Aloe Vera growing
In commercial farming, Aloe Vera seedlings are planted in pits of 13 to 15 cm depth. The suckers or young seedlings are planted at a spacing of about 60 cm x 50 cm apart. By following this spacing dimension a grower can plant about 12,500 saplings in an acre land.
Irrigation in Aloe Vera growing
Proper drainage is more important than irrigation in Aloe Vera growing as the plants are sensitive to waterlogging and slightly tolerant to drought conditions. Irrigation must be provided after immediate planting. Light irrigation during summer is enough for a good harvest.
Manures and Fertilizers in Aloe Vera growing
Aloe Vera responds well to manures and fertilizers. During land preparation and in the last plow 15 tonnes per hectare of well rotted farmyard manure is applied. Every year the same dose of farmyard manure (FMY) must be incorporated in the subsequent years. Besides FYM, application of 50 kilograms of Nitrogen, 50 Kilogram of Phosphorous and 50 kilograms of Potassium must be done as a basal dose.
Intercultural operations in Aloe Vera growing
Effective weed management is a critical step for successful xxx production. Weeds compete for light, nutrients, water thereby interfere in yield. Weeds can be controlled either by cultural control methods (transplant seedlings free of weeds) or mechanical control methods (mowing, disking, plowing or hand pulling of weeds).2-3 hand hoeing and weeding is recommended to break the surface crust for better aeration and water absorption.
Pests and diseases in Aloe Vera growing
Aloe Vera can be infested with various insects and pests and can be controlled with special care as Aloe Vera juice is directly taken from the leaves as medicine. Clean cultivation with regular intercultural operations and need-based irrigation must be taken for healthy crop growth. Protect the plants with organic raw garlic juice, neem oil (10,000 ppm) of two to three milliliter per liter gives good results.
Leaf spot disease is caused by fungus. Leaf spot disease will affect the yield and quality of the gel. The disease can be controlled by spraying fungicides available at the local nursery stores as prescribed.
Signs of sick Aloe Vera plant growing
- Too much sunshine will make leaves get a suntan and the leaves turn brown.
- Too much shade will make leaves lie flat instead of upright.
- Too little water will make the plant use its own water resources thereby the leaves turn thin and curled.
- Too much fluorine or chlorine in the water will make the tips of plant leaves turn brown and dry up.
- Too much water, too much shade, and too much fertilizer will slow down Aloe Vera plant growth.
Harvesting in Aloe Vera growing
The thick fleshy leaves are ready for harvest starts after eight months of planting. A sharp knife is used for harvesting the leaves from the plant base. Grower can expect maximum yield from the second year of planting and for about four to five years of good yield could be harvested. Three harvests can be taken in a year by removing three to four leaves from each plant that are two and more years old. Harvesting must be taken in the cool times of the day usually morning or evening. The cut leaves are regenerated from the scar. The side suckers are separated from the parent plant and can be used as planting material or can be sold.
Yield in Aloe Vera growing
At the rate of 12 leaves harvested from each plant per year, a grower can expect as high as 50 to 55 tonnes of thick fleshy leaves per hectare. 50% of the plant suckers could be sold out annually.
Economics in Aloe Vera growing
For a hectare of Aloe Vera growing will incur an expenditure of about 1,20,000 rupees. A grower can expect a yield of about 11 tonnes of crop per hectare and the expected amount of the yield would be 3,50,000 rupees. A grower can almost expect thrice the amount he invested. Removing the invested amount, the grower will easily gain a profit twice the invested amount in a year per hectare.
Marketing of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera and its products have much demand locally and in distant markets because of its health benefits and can be marketed locally and exported directly or by the marketing agency. The demand for Aloe Vera products has increased in Europe, North America, and the Middle East because of the increase in health awareness in these regions. Marketing in medicinal plants is very important even though the demand is high, commercial growers must pre-arrange marketing facility before starting, unlike food crop which has universal demand.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera growing
As an herbal medicine, Aloe Vera is been used for centuries. Much research is going on this medical herb and so far it is found the herb contains more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, high water content, and fatty acids which are used in a wide range of remedy products. Because of its skin healing properties, it is vastly used as the primary product in the cosmetic industry. Some of the additional benefits are as follows:
- It soothes rashes and skin irritations.
- For treating burns.
- Used in moisturizer for skin, hair, and scalp
- For treating constipation.
- Helps in digestion.
- Boosts immune system.
- Used to reduce inflammation and provides antioxidants.
Aloe Vera growing tips
- While planting or transplanting cut the side shoots without damaging parent plant.
- The plant needs adequate sunlight and warmth.
- Aloe Vera needs well-drained soils.
- Leaves may rot when in contact with the soil.
- Cover the soil with gravel or pebbles, white stones are recommended as they reflect warmth from the sun to the plant base.
- After planting do not water for the first few days, water whenever the soil is dry during the growing season.
- The plant does not need fertilizer, if you want to then go with low in N, K and high in P once in a year.