Introduction to Organic Aloe Vera Farming
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant and it belongs to the Liliaceae family. Aloe vera plant is a perennial plant grown for its succulent leaves which have a variety of medicinal uses. The leaves can be flecked with white and are pale green or grey-green. It has many well-known uses for human health. Aloe vera farming in India is gaining popularity as Aloe vera production profit per acre is much higher than normal agriculture farming and it can be done using much less water and effort. Aloe vera farming business can be done by selling the plant leaves or extracting and then marketing the juice.
A Step by Step Guide to Organic Aloe Vera Farming, Cultivation Practices
Aloe vera plant care can be easy for first-time plant owners or for those who tend to neglect plants. In general, Aloe vera plants require plenty of sunlight, minimal regular watering, and warm temperatures. Basic examples of Aloe vera benefits include anti-inflammatory action, laxative effects, and anti-aging effects, and wound healing. Due to medicinal properties, Aloe vera is most commonly used in Ayurvedic and herbal medicines and beauty products. Nowadays, the demand for Aloe vera juice and gel is high in the market. Thus, the business of Aloe vera plantation, cultivation, and related products is increasing rapidly.
Actively growing Aloe vera plants also thrive in temperatures between 15 and 23°C, which make the average room temperatures favorable for growth. If you are forgetful when it comes to planting care, the Aloe vera plant can be the best fit for you. You can set up an Aloe vera processing plant and extract juice or gel. In recent times, many people are planting Aloe vera for commercial purposes. They are tying up with pharmaceutical and Ayurveda companies. Because of this, they are earning good profit margins with Aloe vera farming. Organic Aloe vera farming business profit has tremendously increased with the growing demand for herbal and cosmetic products and pharmaceutical companies. The main advantage of Organic Aloe vera farming is that it requires less water and maintenance. The cost of production is less and there is a high-profit margin in organic Aloe vera farming.
Things to consider before starting Organic Aloe vera farming;
You need to consider a few things before starting Aloe vera farming. These things include;
- Land size for Aloe vera cultivation to have definite and satisfactory profit
- Quality of soil and favorable conditions for Aloe vera cultivation
- Investment required and return on investment
- Type of Aloe vera variety being planted to have desirable profit
- Necessary equipment available for farming
- Market to sell the Aloe vera and a proper business model
Types of Aloe Vera Plants
Now we discuss different types of Aloe vera plants. Aloe vera plants come in different variety of textures. Some important Aloe vera types include tiger Aloe; lace Aloe, and blue Aloe.
Tiger or Partridge-Breasted Aloe (Aloe variegata) – Tiger Aloe is a small succulent that grows up to a foot tall with leaves as long as 6 inches. This plant’s leaves have a green and white striped texture to them, hence the “tiger” nickname. In comparison to the tiger plant’s leaf size, the flower tends to be the largest part of the partridge-breasted Aloe, reaching up to about 18 inches.
Lace Aloe (Aloe aristata) – Lace Aloe is a stemless plant with dark green color leaves that reach up to four inches long. During fall months, the lace Aloe plant can develop terminal panicles, which reach 20 inches in height, and a few inch-long orange flowers.
Blue Elf Aloe (Aloe ‘Blue Elf’) – This plant has a bluish-white pigment and stretches up to 24 inches wide. This type of Aloe plant requires sufficient draining to grow strong.
Quality of Soil and Favorable Conditions in Organic Aloe Vera Farming
The pH level of the soil is about 8.5 for Aloe vera farming. It would be better that you use an organic fertilizer such as cow dung so that the plant is free from chemicals. Many medical markets ask for chemical-free Aloe vera leaves because of medical requirements. Also, controlling pest is an important aspect. To control pest you need to spray 0.1% of parathion pesticide on the Aloe vera plant. Also, you can spray Malathion aqueous solution of 0.2% to control pests like Mealy Bug. Other favorable conditions like the climate are also important. Aloe vera plant grows in all climates but it would be better if the climate is warm, humid with a temperature level of 25-35°C.
Land must be thoroughly ploughed till the soil becomes finely separated and drained. To increase the fertility of land just adds about 10 to 15 tonnes of organic farmyard manure. The pH level of the soil should be 8.5 with adequate salt content.
Light Requirements for Organic Aloe Vera Farming
Aloe vera plants need to be housed in a bright location with some direct sun in the winter season. If you move an Aloe vera into direct sunlight from a shady location, the sun can harm.
Increase the amount of sunlight if the leaves look flat and low
If the Aloe vera leaves are growing flat and low, increase the sunlight. Aloe vera plant leaves should grow upward or outward at an angle, toward the sunlight. If they are low to the ground, the Aloe vera plant is probably not receiving enough sun. Move it to a sunnier location. If Aloe vera grows indoors, consider keeping it outdoors during daylight hours.
Decrease sunlight if the leaves turn brown
If the Aloe vera leaves turn brown, decrease the sunlight. While Aloe is hardier than most plants when it comes to sun exposure, it is still possible to burn the plant leaves. If the Aloe vera plant turns brown color, move it to an area that receives shade during the early afternoon.
Aloe Vera Plant Propagation
Generally, propagate Aloe vera from seed but is easily propagated from suckers that are produced by the mother plant. The suckers are normally referred to as “pups”. The pups must be cut from the main root by gently uprooting the mother plant and finding the point of attachment. The young plant must be cut from the parent using a sharp knife. Pups can be safely removed when they have several sets of plant leaves. The young plants must be planted in their pot and watered deeply. Refrain from overwatering to force the growth of new plant roots. If multiple plants are being planted, provide them with the plant at least about 60 cm apart outdoors.
Seed Rate and Seed Sowing in Aloe Vera Farming
Plant suckers in July-August for better growth. Under irrigated conditions, sowing seed can be done around the year except in winter months. Plant 3 to 4-month-old suckers in a pit having a depth of about 15 cm. Aloe vera is obtained by cutting the leaves at their base and letting yellow color, bitter Juice drain out. The water is evaporated off from the juice by heating and that results in a light to dark brown color mass. Usually, 22000 suckers are required for one-acre land.
Best Spacing in Aloe Vera Plantation
Normally spacing of 45 cm x 40 cm or 60 cm x 30 cm is followed in Aloe vera farming. If you have some knowledge about Spacing, then you will understand that it is one of the important things to good crop yield. Apart from that, it helps in the healthy maintenance of the crop.
Planting Process in Organic Aloe Vera Farming
Aloe vera plant is mainly propagated by rhizome cutting and also from root suckers. For Aloe vera propagation the underground rhizome is dug out and a suitable length recommended 5-5.5 cms is cut which must contain a minimum of 2 to 3 nodes in its first it must be rooted in sand beds after its sprouting it is ready for the plantation. Similarly, the root suckers are dug out from the parent plant and should be planted with a separation of about 50×45 cms and length of rhizome cutting and root suckers must be in 12-15 cms range.
Water Requirement for Aloe Vera Farming
Aloe vera plants are drought resistant, so the plants can survive with minimal watering. However, not watering Aloe vera plant will shorten its lifespan. An appropriate method to water an Aloe vera plant is to water thoroughly and let the excess water drain. Then, water again when the top inch of soil is dry and this allows for optimal Aloe vera growth.
An indication that the Aloe vera plant is not receiving enough water is brown leaf tips. However, a more common indication of improper watering in Aloe vera plants is black spots on the leaves due to overwatering. Overwatering can be more dangerous than under-watering because it can lead to root rot. Yellowed or “melting” leaves are suffering due to excess water in Aloe vera plants. You can remove any discolored leaves from the plant without much chance of harm, although it is best to use a disinfected knife.
Aloe plant is generally easy to care for but care should be taken to avoid overwatering. The plants must be watered deeply but allowed to dry out before the next watering. Check the soil before watering. Then, allow the soil to dry down to a depth of 7.5 to 10 cm for older, well-established plants or 3.5 to 5 cm for younger plants. If the plant is receiving too much sun, the leaves will begin to turn a brown color.
Aloe Vera Plant Care
- Special plant care is needed for pests control in medicinal plants like Aloe vera where the juice of the leaves is directly taken as medicine. Clean cultivation, application of adequate organic manure, and cultivation of Aloe vera in sunny conditions are conducive for the healthy growth of the crop. Use of organic source of plant protection materials such as raw garlic juice, neem oil (10,000 ppm) 2-3 ml/liters, tobacco extractant 20 ml/liters gave reasonably good crop results.
- Aloe vera is forgiving and, being a succulent, can go a long time without water – but it grows best with water.
- Overwatering is one of the common sources of improper Aloe vera plant care.
- Signs an Aloe vera is overwatered include brown, droopy leaves, and soft spots. Repotting the plant in half soil and half sand can return the plant to its strong, green color. Feed with a balanced liquid feed about 2 or 3 times during the growing season from late spring to late summer.
- Aloe vera is easy to propagate by removing the offsets that are produced around the base of mature plants when they are 5-7.5 cm tall. Cut the offsets from the Aloe vera plant with a sharp knife. Then, allow the cut to callus over for a day or two and then pot up into small pots. Wait a week before watering and then keep the compost on the dry side.
Organic Feeding Requirements in Aloe Vera Farming
The use of organic manures such as farmyard manure, vermicomposting, or green manure is preferred for Aloe vera crops. The recommended dose of farmyard manure is 10 to 15 tons per hectare which should be given at the time of soil preparation. It is advisable to follow the FYM application in subsequent years to harvest a high gel yielding crop. Vermicomposting can be applied at the rate of 2.5 to 5.0 tons per hectare for obtaining higher leaf yield.
Irrigation and Organic Pest Control in Aloe Vera Farming
Irrigation management in Aloe vera must be regular enough to prevent shriveling and encourage growth but not so frequent you drown the plant. Watering damaged plant roots increase the chance of root rot. Aloe vera plants store plenty of water in their leaves, and should not be harmed by the lack of water during this time. Give it a light watering the first 1 or 2 times you water if you would like to be extra safe.
After proper plantation, the irrigation should be done as per the moisture content of the soil. Pest control is also necessary to step to be taken to avoid damage to the plant. Mealy Bug is the major threat to the Aloe vera crop and the major disease is the spotting of plant leaves. Also, 0.2% of dithane M-45 spraying must be done weekly to prevent leaf spot.
There are not many Pests and diseases that attack Aloe Vera Plant. But once you see the attack, the Aloe vera plants will end up dead or with poor quality. Hence one should follow proper pest management in organic Aloe vera cultivation. But not many know about the control measures for the pest in this plant. Aloe vera is a medicinal plant that has economic importance. Therefore you cannot use the pesticide in Aloe vera. You should go for organic methods to control Aloe vera pests.
List of Aloe Vera Pest Control Measures and Methods;
Some of the basic methods are to remove the pest’s infected Aloe plants.
1. Organic Sprays
Use Chillies, Onions, and Garlic to prepare this Spray for Aloe vera plants. Ground them and mix them with water. Once you have done this, spray it on this Plant. Apart from that, you can also use Neem Sprays which is efficient in killing some pests.
2. Beneficial Insects on Aloe Vera Plant
Several beneficial insects feed on harmful insects. One such beneficial insect in the Aloe vera plant is Ladybugs. They are efficient in eating and killing the Aphids in Aloe vera plants.
3. Biological Poisons in Aloe Vera Farm
This is another way to kill the pests in the Aloe vera crop. One of the best biological poisons is ethyl alcohol. You have to mix a few drops of bleach ethyl alcohol in water. Next, you have to spray this solution on the places where you find the pest incidence.
4. Homemade Solutions
You can also prepare some solutions at home. One such is the Alcohol swabs in water and making it rest overnight and then spray the next day. Another solution is to put snuff in water and let it soak for a night. While you can use these solutions to spray on the pests in Aloe vera farming.
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Aloe Vera Diseases and their Organic Control Measures
Here we discuss how to control Aloe vera diseases;
1. Control Measure of Root Rot Disease in Aloe Vera Plant – This is one of the common diseases in the Aloe vera plant. Fungi are responsible for the Root rot disease. If you find this disease in your Aloe vera, then you have to remove and destroy the affected plants. This disease transfer via farm tools. Hence you should disinfect those tools with the help of a 70% alcohol solution. You should avoid overwatering in Aloe vera.
2. Aloe Rust Disease Management – This is the second important disease in the Aloe vera plant. You can avoid it rather than controlling it. You have to make sure that every plant gets enough sunlight. For this, you have to maintain proper spacing in the Aloe vera farming. Avoid overwatering the plant while taking care that no leaf is in touch with water.
3. Disease Management in Soft Rot – For this disease, you have to remove and destroy the infected Aloe vera plants. This will avoid the spread of diseases to other Aloe vera plants. Like the same way for this disease too, avoid overwatering the plant.
When and How to Harvest Aloe Vera
Harvesting of Aloe vera leaves starts after 7-8 months of planting. A sharp knife is used for Aloe vera harvesting. Plant care has to be taken to reduce the loss of juice from the cut portion. If harvesting is done once in a year, October – November is the best period for plant harvesting. Second-year gives maximum yield and for about 4 to 5 years good yield could be harvested. After harvesting plant leaves are dried in shade and then in sun before storages. Flowers are collected from December to January and preserved after proper drying.
Commonly Asked Questions about Aloe Vera Farming
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Do Aloe vera plants need direct sunlight?
Aloe vera plants need about 6 hours of direct sunlight; however, be cautious because immediately moving an Aloe vera plant from a shady area to direct sun can cause an Aloe plant to sunburn.
Do Aloe vera plants clean the air?
Aloe vera plants mainly clean the air of formaldehyde and benzene, products found in chemical-based cleaners. Then, this makes them a great indoor plant for kitchens and bedrooms. Also, more pure air results in easier breathing and a better night’s sleep.
Should I fertilize my Aloe plant?
Fertilizing your Aloe vera plant is not always necessary. Some recommend fertilizing Aloe vera plants 1 to 2 times a year.
Why are the tips of the Aloe vera plant turning yellow?
Tips of Aloe plants turning yellow can be due to improper watering or too much direct light.
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