Harvesting aloe vera is easier than you might think, and doesn’t take much time. In this post, I’ll show you exactly when and how to do it step by step.
Learning how to harvest aloe vera at home is a great way to utilize all of its benefits. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll know exactly when and where to cut it.
It’s not difficult, but it’s important to know how to do it the right way so you don’t end up killing your plant.
In this detailed guide, I’ll tell you all you need to know about harvesting aloe vera, including when, where, and how often, and I’ll also give you tons of tips for success.
When To Harvest Aloe Vera
The ideal time to harvest aloe vera is a few days after watering it. When it’s well-hydrated the leaves will be full and plump, which means they’ll contain more gel.
They grow much faster in the summer than the winter, so the best time of the year to cut them is during the warmer months.
Related Post: How To Grow & Care For Aloe Vera Plants
How Do You Know When Aloe Vera Is Ready To Harvest?
You’ll know your aloe vera is ready to harvest when the largest most mature leaves around the bottom are large, thick, and firm.
Ideally the plant should be a few years old, have a couple of big leaves at the base, and several smaller ones on top.
The tips of the leaves might turn a slight pinkish color when they’re ready, but you certainly don’t have to wait for that to happen.
What Part Of Aloe Vera Do You Harvest?
The best part of aloe vera to harvest are the largest and most mature leaves around the base of the plant.
Look for ones that are bright green, firm, and thick. Avoid any that are thin, browning, or shriveling, as they won’t contain much gel.
Related Post: How To Propagate Aloe Vera By Division
Tips For Harvesting Aloe Vera Leaves
Harvesting aloe vera leaves is actually very simple, but there are a few tips you will want to keep in mind before you begin.
- Alway take the largest bottom leaves, as removing too many small ones can be a detriment to the plants health.
- The leaves are very easy to cut with a sharp knife. Never try to pick or break them off, or you could damage or even kill your plant.
- Only take as much as you need because it doesn’t store well, and only lasts a few weeks in the fridge.
- You could cut a partial leaf if you want. The piece left on the plant will heal and callus over so you can come back for it later. It won’t look pretty, but it will last longer that way.
How Often Can You Harvest Aloe Vera?
How often you can harvest aloe vera depends on the size of your plant. The larger and more mature they are, the more leaves you can remove.
Also, they tend to be very slow to regenerate, especially during the colder months. So, to prevent overharvesting, never remove more than ⅓ of the leaves at once.
Related Post: Rooting Aloe Vera Cuttings Step By Step
What To Do With Aloe Vera After Harvesting
But before doing anything with it, you must first drain the leaves.
Draining The Leaves
The leaves contain a yellow substance inside of them called aloin. This latex-like liquid can be irritating to your skin and is not safe to eat.
So it’s important to drain it from the leaves first thing. I also recommend wearing disposable gloves when handling it.
Don’t worry, it’s easy to get rid of it. Just place the leaves into a jar or cup with the cut end facing down. Once the yellow liquid has drained, simply rinse it away.
Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel
There are 3 ways you can harvest aloe vera gel: squeeze the leaves, cut off the skin, or slice it open and scoop out the gel.
For smaller leaves, it’s much easier to squeeze the gel out, rather than trying to cut it open or slice off the skin.
But if you have a large leaf, then you can easily remove all of the skin, which will give you one big block of gel. Or you can slice off the flat part of the leaf and scoop out the gel with a spoon.
In the next section I will answer the most common questions. If you can’t find yours here, ask it in the comments below.
How long does freshly harvested aloe vera last?
Freshly harvested aloe vera only lasts a day or two at room temperature, but you can keep it much longer in the fridge or freezer.
How do you harvest aloe vera without killing the plant?
To harvest aloe vera without killing the plant, only take 1-2 of the largest bottom leaves at a time. Then wait until a few new ones form on top before cutting off more. Never remove more than ⅓ of them at once.
Does aloe vera regrow after cutting?
Aloe vera will not regrow the same leaves after cutting them off. But it will continue to produce new ones on top, and the remaining bottom ones will get larger with time.
Harvesting aloe vera is easy and rewarding. Now that you know when and how to do it, you’ll be able to get the most out of your plant.
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Share your tips for harvesting aloe vera in the comments below.