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If you have ever experienced mild burns as a child, your grandmother might have used Aloe Vera as first aid. Even with the existence of more modern medicines, Aloe Vera has always been a top choice to treat mild skin conditions. This plant is not just popular for having medicinal properties, but it has also become a favorite indoor ornament as well. And just recently, many people found out that growing Aloe Vera in aquaponics gardens is possible.
In this article, we have some of the most pertinent information that can help you grow your Aloe Vera in an aquaponics system.
Why Grow Aloe Vera in Your Aquaponics Garden?
Originally from the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species that belongs to the genus Aloe. The plant is known for its multiple uses and benefits. Aloe Vera grows in hot and dry climates and thrives in well-drained soil.
Ancient Egyptians and Chinese used Aloe Vera to treat wounds and even fever. In fact, legend has it that Alexander the Great secured massive supplies of Aloe Vera to treat his injured soldiers. Cleopatra, on the other hand, used the plant to maintain her supple skin and youthful appearance. To date, growing Aloe Vera in aquaponics gardens is encouraged by both backyard and commercial growers due to its health benefits.
Types of Aloe Vera
According to research, there are around 400 types of Aloe Vera. We will share with you some of the most popular ones.
This type of Aloe Vera has bright-colored flowers and a unique look. This makes it a perfect addition to your garden. One of the best features of Stone Aloe is that it improves the air quality of its surroundings.
This specific type of Aloe can grow and climb up to five meters. Hence, the name. It can also bloom all year round. Climbing Aloe can attract bees and sunbirds, which improves its surrounding environment.
Spider Aloe is considered the favorite of most growers. This type of Aloe Vera has long leaves and has orange, yellow, and red flowers. Its gel is highly effective for treating mild burns.
How to Serve Aloe Vera From Your Aquaponics Garden
The topical use of Aloe Vera gel is popular amongst millions of people. They use it to apply on burns, rashes, mosquito bites, and even as a facial mask. However, you can also add it to your food and drinks to reap its maximum health benefits.
In making Aloe Vera juice, you need two tablespoons of Aloe Vera mixed with 1 cup of water. Add your favorite fruits before blending to make it even more appetizing.
You can also consume fresh slices of Aloe Vera gel, but it is best to eat it as quickly as possible. Store it in the freezer if you plan to eat it at a later time.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Over the years and across the globe, people have recognized the importance of Aloe Vera due to its health benefits. It has a slimy tissue or gel that is jampacked with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Here are some of the common health conditions where you can use Aloe Vera:
- Treats mild burns
- Prevents dental plaque
- Delays skin aging
- Reduces constipation
- Lowers blood sugar levels
Cultivating Aloe Vera in Your Aquaponics Garden
Below are a few of the most important details if you wish to start growing Aloe Vera in Aquaponics Gardens.
Aquaponic System Types
We recommend that you use a media bed for your Aloe Vera. It’s cost-efficient, easy to start, and the design is pretty straightforward. Most backyard growers use this system, especially if they are planting Aloe Vera in small quantities.
Ideally, you should choose a well-draining grow media like gravel or perlite. Keep in mind that your Aloe Vera plants are not able to tolerate too much water.
Water and Air Temperature
You don’t need to water your Aloe Vera every day. As mentioned, it can damage or either kill your plant.
While it thrives in warmer temperatures, it can also survive in cooler conditions. However, a temperature below 25 degrees Fahrenheit can be lethal for your plant.
You need to provide at least 2 inches of space for smaller Aloe Vera offshoots.
This plant needs 8 to 10 hours of sunlight. If you notice that your leaves are flat and low, you should expose your plant to more sunlight. Take note, though, that it is possible to burn Aloe Vera too. If the leaves are turning brown, you should add shade to your plants in the meantime.
Ask an aquaponics grower and they will likely recommend tilapia for your system. It is a hardy fish that can thrive in almost all conditions. It doesn’t require high-maintenance so it’s perfect if you are beginning your aquaponics journey.
Mussels, while not a fish, is another aquatic creature that works well in an aquaponics system. These are filter feeders that can help in cleaning the water.
Aloe Vera will thrive in neutral and slightly alkaline pH. We recommend that you keep the pH levels at 7 to 8.5.
Aloe Vera cannot be grown by leaf cutting. What you need is to detach the smaller clone plants from the base of the mature Aloe Vera. These younger plants will have to be at least 3 inches tall. Be careful not to damage the roots when removing the young Aloe Vera. Usually, it will take 3 to 4 years for your plant to reach its full maturity.
Sap-sucking insects can damage your Aloe Vera. As there is no way to correct it, you should separate the infected plants from the healthy ones. Other growers are using insecticidal soap for protection, but this is not recommended in most cases.
Upon noticing brown spots in your Aloe Vera, immediately check if there is a pup or younger plant. Remove these right away and replant it. Immediately take out the leaves that show signs of disease and observe the new growth.
To wrap this article, here are a few warnings when using Aloe Vera:
- Do not use it on severe cuts and injuries
- Avoid Aloe Vera consumption if you are allergic to garlic
- Children under the age of 12 and pregnant women must not consume Aloe Vera
- If you have special health conditions, seek approval from your doctor before taking the gel orally