Did you know there are more than 400 species that belong to the genus Aloe?
As desert plants, aloes grow best in warm, dry climates, but many will thrive in most coastal and inland areas. They are also great house plants!
Most species of aloe germinate reliably from seed and will establish a healthy root system in just a few months; however, they must be kept warm and slightly dry to prevent fungal infections.
Combine 2 parts sand, 1 part perlite and 1 part potting mix. Stir the components while adding water. Add water and stir until the mixture feels moderately moist and takes on a uniform appearance.
Pack the sand mixture into seed starting planter. Fill it to within 1/4 inch of the top. Press the surface to make it even and squeeze out any trapped air.
Lay out the aloe seeds 1 inch apart on the surface of the sand mixture. Push the seeds into the surface of the mixture with the flat of your hand. Cover the seeds with a very thin layer of sand.
Place the planter in a place where it will receive eight to 10 hours of sunlight daily. Shine a fluorescent lamp onto the nursery flat for eight to 10 hours daily if sufficient natural light is unavailable.
Warm the bottom of the nursery tray with a heat mat set to 70 F. Keep the heat mat turned on at all times while the seeds germinate. Drape a sheet of plastic wrap over the planting tray to help hold in the warmth. Remove the plastic wrap for a few hours to dispel trapped moisture whenever excess condensation forms inside.
Mist the aloe seeds whenever the sand mixture dries out in the top 1/2 inch. Avoid letting the sand dry out completely for longer than six to eight hours, but do not saturate it either.
Look for sprouts in two to four weeks, depending on the species of aloe. Keep the starting planter on the heat mat for two weeks after germination. Water by drizzling water carefully around each sprout instead of misting the seedlings with water, which can precipitate a fungal infection.
Transplant the aloe seedlings into individual 2-inch pots filled with the same growing mixture. Scoop the seedlings from the starting planter using a spoon and transfer them into the pots. Water them with 1 tablespoon of water every three days.