Aloe vera plants do best when potted in cactus potting soil mix or a mix of regular potting soil and perlite or building sand. They need plenty of drainage and cannot tolerate standing in water. They should be placed in south- or west-facing windows.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant native to Africa and naturalized in China, southern Europe, Australia and parts of the United States. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 8 through 11 but does not tolerate heavy frost or snow. Gardeners around the world cultivate it as an ornamental and medicinal plant.
The key to maintaining an aloe vera plant is proper watering. The gardener should allow the soil around the plant to dry out completely before watering, then drench the soil thoroughly. After watering, the gardener should allow water to drain freely from the pot. Aloes do not usually need fertilizing, but the gardener can use a phosphorus-heavy water-based fertilizer diluted to half strength and applied in the spring.
Gardeners propagate aloes by separating and planting the plants' offshoots, sometimes called "pups." A pup should be at least one-fifth the size of the adult plant before the gardener separates it from the mother plant's root system. The gardener should use clean, sharp tools while separating and removing a pup to reduce the risk of transmitting plant diseases and pests.