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Aloe Vera plant - a special story

Updated on August 2, 2015
Silva Hayes profile image

Silva has a background as a technical writer and in addition to how-to articles she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.

The aloe vera plant is truly a miracle of Nature. Everyone in the world should have an aloe vera plant on their window sill.

Aloe vera plant
Aloe vera plant

As you probably already know, the healing power of the aloe vera has been documented for centuries. It has the ability to heal burns and cuts and soothe pain and there is a legend that Cleopatra used aloe vera to keep her skin soft.

There are so many articles about the wonderful aloe vera plant already that I hesitated to write another, but I do have a special story about this excellent plant.

My sister came for a visit one August. She lives hundreds of miles away, in west Texas, and she had stopped at a friend's house on the way. She was driving an old pickup. She stayed about a week with us and as she was leaving, I walked out to the pickup with her carrying some of her luggage.

She said, "Just toss it in the back," and when I did, I noticed an odd-looking creature laying there on the blazing hot metal of the pickup bed. It was gray-green, shriveled, and parts of it were crisp and brown. I gingerly picked it up by the tip of one tentacle and said, "Ewww, what's this?" She gasped and said, "Oh that's an aloe vera that my friend gave me when I left her house! I forgot all about it. Just toss it in the bushes!" This pathetic thing was not even planted in dirt! It had been laying there on the hot metal in the direct sun with its roots exposed!

I did toss it in the bushes, but after she drove away, I retrieved it and planted it in our back yard. Now we live on solid limestone rock with barely any topsoil; there is a small amount in the back yard but not much. When I scratched the hole for the poor plant I hit rock right away. I planted it, watered it, and promptly forgot about it. Weeks later I noticed that it was alive; struggling, sickly-looking, still shriveled, but clinging to life.

Well, the brutal Texas summer finally ended, followed by a dreary miserable winter.

Spring came, and our little backyard oasis burst into glorious bloom. Our rose bush was a cloud of pink, the sage was a vision of lavender blooms, and the Gregg's Salvia drew the humming birds and butterflies by the dozens. I was admiring the rose bush when I noticed an unusual red-orange bloom on a stalk nearby.

Sauntering over for a closer look, I gaped in amazement at the aloe vera plant, back from almost certain death and blooming! It began to throw off babies; every time I went out to check, it was surrounded by more and more babies. It must have had 70 or 80 babies spreading around it. I debated whether or not to separate and transplant the babies, but I just left them all alone.

Well, this situation went on for 6 or 7 years. My sister was amazed; I would occasionally send her pictures of the aloe vera bed. The big mama plant bloomed every spring.

Then during the winter of 2010-2011, we had several severe freezes that seemed to hang on for weeks and weeks. Sadly, the entire bed of aloe vera appeared to die. The plants were all completely dry and grey. I felt so badly and wished that I had covered them or somehow saved at least some of them. I started to clear away the dead plants because they are unsightly, but in the end, I left them and did nothing. I would often check to see if new little plants might appear but the entire bed appeared to be completely dead.

The following summer, Central Texas went into another severe drought period. The lake level went way down, there was a fire ban in effect, and we were struggling to keep our few plants alive. Imagine my amazement when, in the middle of July, I spied a little green aloe vera leaf peeking up through the dead plants! I began checking around and found dozens of the little plants hiding under the dead foliage of their mamas, a miracle of regrowth.

My theory is that the babies are thriving because they are sheltered from the blazing sun by the dead bodies of their mothers. Again, I will leave them alone and let Nature take its course. Perhaps when Fall arrives I might finally go out and clear away the debris.

Here is one tip for using your aloe vera plant. If someone in your family comes home with a bad sunburn, cut off one leaf of your plant. With one long slice down each side, trim off the thorns and discard. Then split the leaf lengthwise in half. Lay the two halves directly onto the sunburn, and listen to your patient sigh with relief as the aloe vera draws the heat from their sunburn.

Aloe Vera, truly a miracle plant.


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    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Love your comments, Mr. Stok. Thank you so much. Yes, I continue to be amazed at our bed of aloe vera.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You are right that there are many articles about Aloe vera, but the way you added the words "special story" to the title pulled me in. Then the way you described this miraculous story kept me going all way through.

      And the way you write and express yourself with details made me feel like I was right there with you. Your garden, for example -- after that first harsh winter, I could envision your garden coming to life just as you described it.

      But most of all, I found this so very interesting that aloe vera can pull through such harsh conditions. Your special story is like the story of life.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Yes, vespawoolf, our little plants are still alive, even though we are having a terrible drought here in Texas. I water them with rainwater that we catch and store in barrels. Aloe vera drink is available at the grocery stores here.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      What an amazing story! I hope you're still enjoying your plants. Here in Peru, aloe vera is often blended and drunk. It's great for the whole digestive tract!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thanks for stopping by, carriethomson. The interest in this article has been terrific.

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      hey very nicely written... i too have an aloe plant but its planted in a pot so no aloe beds for me... but its a miraculous plant and can be used for more than one causes.thanx for the wonderful hub :-)


    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thanks, MyFavoriteBedding! Yes, it's an incredible plant!

    • MyFavoriteBedding profile image

      MyFavoriteBedding 6 years ago from United States

      What a great story and an incredible plant! We always make sure we have aloe in the house in the summertime just in case we get too much sun, because it is a life saver!

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Thank you for stopping by, saddlerider1. The aloe vera is truly an amazing plant.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      Interesting hub indeed. I have kept an aloe vera plant in my home for a few years now. It certainly has come in handy more than once for emergency burns, cuts, scrapes.

      I simply snip about half an inch off one of it's abundant sprouts and squeeze the gel directly onto the injury, cut, etc etc. Works like a hop and refreshing drink as well.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Jim, thanks for visiting. It does soothe the pain of burns and speed up the healing. My mother always kept a pot of aloe vera on the kitchen window sill, just in case of a stovetop accident.

    • profile image

      Jim Burnett 6 years ago

      I use it mostly for burns and it does a great job here in deep south Texas.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      RTalloni, thanks for your comment. You should try again with another one ..... oddly enough, I just used two leaves of the new baby aloe veras tonight. My granddaughters came home from tubing down the Comal River and one of them was painfully sunburned, even though she used sunscreen. She says the aloe really, really took away the pain.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      That's a great story--but now I'm really, really sorry that I ditched mine when I thought it died! Voted up.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 6 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      Hi, Laral, thanks for visiting! I urge you to buy an aloe vera plant and keep in in your home in a pot near a window. If you lived in the U.S. I would send you one of these. I know they would make the trip safely through the mail after what their grandma plant lived through!

    • laral profile image

      laral 6 years ago from England

      what a wonderful story!! I am a fan of Aloe Vera but I don't have the plant....sadly. I don't even have a garden. Anyway I drink it regularly. I think it does tons of good to me.