Dividing Aloe

My Great Aunt Lila used to say that plants bring out the goodness in people. Her house in the Hudson Valley was full of exotic tropicals and orchids that she cared for meticulously. And yet she was always ready to give them away when anyone showed an interest in one, which for me was every visit. She would carefully divide an established plant that she had nurtured for decades, wrap up a chunk of the roots in a wet paper towel, and send me home on the five-hour drive holding a new precious plant in my lap. Her generosity forever established a connection between plants and people in my life. Whenever I watered my orchid, or glanced at it while feeling sad, I would think of Lila and her love for me. Twenty years later, my parents are still taking care of one of the orchids she gave us, so our memories of her are still very much alive through this plant. 


This activity can also be done with well-established perennials from your yard. Spring clean your landscape and share with neighbors.

Aloe plant care: Keep your new pups in direct sunlight. Lightly water them once a week for two to four weeks. Plants in a newspaper pot can be transplanted directly into a larger pot full of soil. If you have them,  add rocks at the bottom of your pot for drainage.

When I am missing friends or apart from loved ones, I always think back to Lila and look for ways to reconnect to people through plants. The simple task of dividing a houseplant allows us to channel our love for others into nurturing a new plant that, with a little time and a little care, can eventually be gifted to another. As a horticultural therapist, I look to provide opportunities for stress relief and sensory engagement to enrich the lives of my clients. I hope this activity gives you and your family the same rewards, as you think about sharing your plant goodness with some of the people you  miss seeing. Get your hands dirty in an activity that’s good for your plants and your spirit.


Kay Knight
April 30, 2020

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