This online guide has been created for you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics, using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise advice from fellow back
yard gardeners and farmers. You are welcome to add your wisdom and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. Send to
Welcome to the Pro-Organic Belize
Tropical Garden Grow Guide

Where you are the student and the teacher
September 2022 Plant of the Month

Botanic name: Aloe Vera
Plant Type
Succulent perennial
Sun Exposure
Approx. 6 hrs
Soil Preference
Loose sand mixed with equal parts potting soil
Soil Ph
6.0 8.5
Depth to plant
just cover root
7-8 months
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 feet
2 feet
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that can be grown outdoors all year-round in tropical climates. 

Aloe requires little care and is a helpful first aid treatment for burns, skin care and good health.

The plant grows long thick leaves with serrated edges. The leaves are full of a viscous gel.

How to plant: gently remove small 'pups' from the main plant, loosen soil and plant the shallow root to the surface of the soil in a sunny location, water, but do not soak the plant every few days for about one month

Maturity: In 3-4 years the plant reaches full maturity and will start to grow 'pups/slips' around the base of the plant which form a colony.

Pests: Aloe vera plants are hardy, but may be bothered by aphids or fungus gnats. Plants can be cleaned with a cloth dipped in a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. To treat fungus gnats the plant can be dug up the root ball washed with mild soap and baking soda, then replanted in a new location.

First aid: Aloe vera is a soothing remedy for burns, sunburns, bedsores, diaper rash, ulcers. Pick a large leaf, slice it open with a knife and scrape the gel with a knife, mash it a bit, then place on the affected area a few times each day until the conditions clears up. Rosita Arvigo's book Rainforest Remedies cites a treatment for embedded thorns, stones or fish scales. “a piece of the leaf is sliced in half, applied over the area and secured with a band or cloth; the dressing is left on and changed once daily – this draws out the object in 3-5 days.” Aloe Vera is also used to reduce scarring from wounds.

Aloe vera contains over 75 vitamins and amino acids in an easily digestible polysaccharide gel which makes it ideal for persons wanting to heal their gut and those with intermittent stomach ailments.

Aloe vera is a natural saponin which makes it an ideal shampoo for those that are sensitive to commercial soaps. It provides an ideal pH to balance hair health and nutrition to the scalp as well.

This is also an incredible acne treatment and it manifests antibacterial and antifungal properties in addition to the amino acids and vitamins that are readily absorbed into the skin and the muco-polysaccharide layer that provides a barrier to the elements that irritate the skin.


Harvest: Cut the aloe at the base of the leaf without moving too much of the collar. This will only give the plant a small area to “heal” and will not trigger mechanical immunity signals which the plant will cause resources to send to that area rather than put into growing…. Basically, don’t break or cut the leaf in half. Take the whole leaf and if a leaf is broken, remove it completely.

Slice the leaf base off at the white part (this can be use to treat constipation) and trim the thorns.

Cut in 5-inch pieces and soak in water for 10 minutes changing the water at least twice.

Slice the leaf in half lengthwise and use a knife and gently scrape along the gel without cutting into it…. just breaking the cells to release the gel

Or just cut the flat part of the leave away close to the leather and scoop out the gel. Try never to blend it as this introduces oxygen and the material will oxidize and reduce the potency. Aloe has numerous benefits taken internally, but is not warranted for long term use. One leaf is scraped mashed and soaked in a glass of water for 20 minutes, then strained and drunk as a tonic. Warning: the taste of this brew is a bitter mix of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, and E and B12.

Submitted by Metyline Bailey (grower extraordinaire of aloe) from

Other contributions regarding Aloe

Aloe Vera is generally not started from seeds. Vegetative propagation is easy and convenient. "Baby plants" will sprout from around base of existing mature plants which can be rooted in pots or in garden. Aloe grows well in a variety of well drained soils and enjoys full sun.

Although Aloe Vera gel is widely known to relieve sunburn, it can help in healing wounds and has a long history of being used for other medicinal purposes, dating back to ancient Egypt. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands, but has proved to thrive in tropical climates worldwide.

Researchers are just beginning to discover the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that can result in heartburn.  Consuming 1-3 ounces of aloe gel at mealtime could reduce the severity of GERD and may also ease other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy for heartburn.

A 2014 study published by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the tomatoes. In another study similar results were found with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.

A study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found an extract made with aloe vera is a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a high dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief for swollen or bleeding gums.


According to a study in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacy, ingesting 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice can lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. However, caution to those also taking glucose-lowering medicines as glucose count can get too low.


These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates, make aloe an effective skin moisturizer and pain reliever.

A current study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine is studying the therapeutic value of a compound in the plant’s leaves (aloe emodin) as it shows potential in slowing the growth of breast cancer.

Be sure to consult your doctor if you plan to use aloe vera in a medicinal manner, especially if you take medication(s).
Eating aloe vera latex, a yellow substance that is found inside the leaf, has potential risks.


Aloe Vera Smoothie

  • Coconut milk
  • Frozen strawberries
  • A banana 
  • ¼ cup of aloe vera gel

Aloe Salsa

  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Tortilla chips to serve

  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly harvested aloe vera

  • 1 small  cucumber, 3-4 inches in length, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled

  • 3 fresh mint leaves1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice 

  • 2 tablespoons Agave Nectar or honey

  • 1/2 cup filtered water

  • Ice cubes for serving

If you have additional info to share, send to