The last two weeks we have been potting up our aloe plants (equal parts of sand, vermiculite and compost). The aloes came as most plants arrive in my classroom ... donations or we borrow a piece when someone asks us to repot one of their plants, or we grow it from seed. The latter has not been the case of the aloes. So, when I decided to sell some aloes this week to folk around the school, I was curious to see how much a person who buys plants would pay (please don't hate me for my roomful of plants which came by way of seed or donation). A very non-exhaustive search found that I was in the wrong line of business. Artificial aloes get a much better price. I was amazed at how cheap the real plants were, but then thought about how they self propagate.
The aloe above is looking rather healthy. To keep all my aloes this green I need to rotate them away from the light stands to the sun, which I accomplish by placing them into our one south facing window (and they stay green as long as they are not touching the window on cold winter nights). As this page of info indicates, they do not like to be in subfreezing temps. The aloes below were my introduction to their diversity, a wonderful discovery.
My main concern for the aloes is over watering and plants in two of the pots showed some sign that we had over watered. Some rotted roots, some black areas on leaves, and that stress may be why they were the only aloes in the room that had scale insects. We scraped off the pests, then cut off the sad looking parts when we potted. We also did a test spraying to see if the insecticidal soap would damage the aloe. For now they are isolated from the rest of the healthy plants. As far as the healing powers of Aloe ... I am convinced and use the inner juices to touch up any time I burn myself in an unmindful moment.
I wish I would have a sunny place for one in my house, so I can buy one of my own plants