Aloe Vera plants are hardy succulents. With their dramatic tall spikes, they add some height to the place where they sit, and while they live outdoors very well if you live in a warm, arid environment, they do splendidly indoors as container planers. While a single Aloe Vera plant can be attractive in just a plain pot, there are also many Aloe arrangements that you can create using stones, signature containers and even other succulents.
First, from a design standpoint, Aloe plants do not do very well with other plants in the same container. Because they grow upright, and because their thick fleshy leaves are so eye catching, taller plants tend to look crowded, while shorter plants tend to get lost in their fronds. However, that does not mean that the Aloe needs to be your only succulent, especially indoors where you can control the environment. For example, a jade plant, with its fat full leaves and falling branches, makes an attractive counterpoint to an Aloe plant’s spikes, while cape Aloe, also known as Aloe Ferox, has similar tall leaves with a slightly different texture. For a bushier look, consider an Aloe Haworthioides, while a cereus cactus produces blooms once a year, lending some color and fragrance to your home.
When you want to plant your Aloe Vera outdoors, consider using several Aloe Vera plants in the center of the arrangement and then surrounding the plants completely with a shorter succulent, like the ever popular hen and chicks. These plants do very well when together, and the hen and chicks plants will add some color to the milder color of the Aloe Vera. When you want something a little more plain in an outdoor garden, plant a few Aloe Vera plants spaced irregularly in the bed and leave the ground between them bare. This recalls high desert conditions and it allows each plant to show off its curving leaves.
When working with outdoor plantings, consider bordering your Aloe plants in their beds with broad flat stones. Choose stones with warm dusty colors like brown, red, and yellow for that charming Southwestern look. Take advantage of these colors to complement the slightly dull color that some Aloe Vera plants get when they are grown outdoors.
If you are considering growing your Aloe Vera plants indoors, think about how attractive planting them in clay dishes could be. Aloe Vera roots can grow out as easily as they can grow down, and a dish container gives them plenty of room to let their leaves sprawl. If you are not worried about your Aloe arrangement having a small footprint in the place where you are setting it, a dish allows you to keep the plant low to the ground. A dish planting also allows the focus to be on the spread of the leaves.
Scatter river stones over the soil where you have planted your Aloe Vera, whether you have planted it indoors or outdoors. These stones do very well as a visual marker as their smooth surface contrasts nicely with the plants sharp leaves. Similarly, they can add a little bit of color to the area as well. In addition to their decorative use, the stones can also help your Aloe plants drain more effectively; as desert plants, they are very prone to wet roots which will then rot.
When looking for pots for your Aloe arrangements, consider the benefits of choosing terracotta. Terracotta pots allow excess water to evaporate through to the air, keeping the roots drier, and they also have a warm color that contrasts nicely with the vibrant color of the Aloe plant. These pots are also sturdy and heavy; as Aloe plants can become top heavy as they get older, this prevents the plant from tipping over easily. If you don’t mind losing some of the pot’s evaporating ability, painted pots can also create an eye-catching display.
If you’re ready to get started, check out our post on Aloe planting and care for more information. Try group plantings, broad dish planting or start with a single Aloe Vera plant on your window ledge. There are many reasons to love Aloe and to have an plant or two (or a whole garden), in your home. Not only are they infinitely useful and easy to grow, but they are beautiful too!
Planter from Stoneface Creations.