Aloe plants can successfully be grown from seeds indoors. Harvest the seeds from mature aloe plants and sow in moistened sandy soil.
Using a plant dome or plastic bag will ensure proper humidity for proper germination. Maintain warm temperatures and bright light for at least 2-4 weeks before repotting.
Obtaining seeds from existing aloe plants may prove difficult. Aloe plants do not produce flowers or seeds until they are at least four years old, and some varieties do not flower until ten years of age. It can be difficult to encourage indoor aloe plants to flower, and outdoor aloes prefer full sun and warm temperatures.
Outdoor aloe plants flower in the spring when grown in zones 8-10. The flowers are a cluster of red tubules atop a tall central stalk. Mature flowering plants may produce seed pods.
Harvest the seeds from mature flowering plants by splitting open brownish seed pods after the flowers are spent. Healthy seeds that will germinate are tiny, flat, and dark in color. Lighter colored seeds are not yet mature and cannot produce healthy aloe plants.
Soil and Containers
Aloe is a succulent plant and prefers well-draining soil, even when in the early stages of germination. Select a ready-made potting soil blend created especially for succulents for quick results. A loose mixture of potting soil and sand also makes an excellent growing medium.
Peat and perlite may also be added to the sandy potting soil. If you are mixing your own growing medium, it is very important to sanitize the soil before planting the seeds. Sterilize the soil by baking in the oven at 200 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the soil may be microwaved on high for 90 seconds to kill bacteria and fungi.
Make sure all sterilized soil is completely cooled before planting aloe seeds. Using unsterilized potting soil risks fungal growth or damping-off of your young aloe plants.
A nursery flat or small container with excellent drainage is ideal for growing aloe plants from seed. Thoroughly moisten the soil mixture before planting. This provides the correct moisture for the seeds to germinate and ensures that the tiny seeds are placed correctly in the soil. Space seeds one inch apart.
If growing aloe from seed outdoors, sow directly into sandy soil in the spring and maintain moist soil until the seedlings have sprouted. Ensure that they are planted in a climate which has a minimum ambient temperature of 70 degrees or higher.
Water and Light
Germinating aloe prefers a bright light and moderate watering. Maintain moist soil while the seeds are germinating, but be careful not to overwater. Use a plant dome to trap moisture inside the container and maintain appropriate humidity. Be careful to avoid fungus growth in the warm and humid container. Germinating seeds inside a plastic bag is a simple way to maintain humidity.
Provide eight to ten hours of sunlight per day. Placing the seedlings in a sunny windowsill may be sufficient, but the use of a lamp may be preferable if there is not enough natural light.
In warmer climates, aloe plants may grow from seed outdoors. To grow outdoors, simply sow the seeds in healthy sandy soil in the spring and maintain moderate watering. Outdoor aloe plants can succeed in zones 8-10.
In cooler climates, warm the growing container with a heating pad or lamp. An ambient temperature of 70 degrees fahrenheit is recommended. Aloe can grow in a sunny windowsill or in direct sunlight.
With sterile tools or clean hands, place the seeds on the surface of the soil about one inch apart from each other. They do not need to be pressed into the soil, but may be covered with a light dusting of sand. Small containers are preferred for germinating aloe indoors in order to maintain a stable temperature and climate. In correct conditions, aloe seeds will sprout within two to four weeks after planting.
Keep the seedlings on the heating pad until strong roots develop. Maintaining constant light moisture will allow the delicate seedlings to grow healthy leaves. Using a plant dome is a great way to keep the humidity stable. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the plant dome. Make sure the tender leaves do not dry out after the dome has been removed.
Another popular method of growing aloe from seeds is the plastic bag method. Sow the seeds in small containers as described, then place the entire container in a large zip-top bag. Express most of the air from the bag, then place the bag in a warm, sunny area. Do not unzip the bag until the seeds have sprouted. Then unzip the bag very slowly over the course of days to acclimate the seedlings to the environment. When the seedlings are matured, they may be repotted.
Rate of Growth
The seeds will sprout between two and four weeks after planting. Once the seedlings are at least one inch tall and have developed four or more leaves, they may be repotted into a larger container. Protect the young plants by keeping them in their original pot for several months while they establish strong roots.
Established Plant Care
Once well-established, succulents like aloe plants require very little watering. Allow the sandy soil to dry out completely before watering, then water deeply and allow for thorough drainage. Overwatering is the biggest danger to aloe plants, so ensure that they are not watered too often and that the water drains completely from the container.
Aloes do not require fertilization, but a small amount of phosphorous-rich fertilizer may be beneficial to weakened plants. Aloe plants are native to arid environments and prefer only a little water and a lot of suns. Outdoor aloe plants will flourish in zones 8-10. In cooler climates, potted aloe plants may be kept outdoors and brought back inside during the cool months.
Aloe plants may be grown from seed in a variety of methods, but always require constant humidity, warm temperatures, and full sun for best growth. They prefer to be started in small containers with sandy soil, then maybe repotted or transplanted once they have established roots.