Aloe Vera is a beautiful houseplant, but there is one thing that makes new gardeners stay away from this plant.
And that thing is the spikes!
They do look terrible and scary, especially if you have never seen a full-grown Aloe plant in your life.
So, what is the reason for such Aloe spikes?
Let's learn more about this Aloe leaves feature in the following guide.
Why Does Aloe Vera Have Spikes?
For those who don't know, the Aloe plant produces spikes when it enters into the growth phase.
If you have a relatively young plant or Aloe pup in your garden, you won't see any such spikes on the leaves.
The plant develops these spikes as it turns old.
Now, let's understand why the Aloes have spikes in the first place.
Well, there are two reasons why this type of plant have this unique formation on their leaves.
The first reason is related to the protective mechanism.
Aloe plant grows in desert-like conditions where you don't get to see too many plants or other living beings thriving in large spaces of sandy soil.
Now, this might seem like great quality for the plant, but it also brings threats from the predators.
It becomes an easy target for predatory animals and birds who often try to survive on the things available in such harsh conditions.
This is the reason why we get to see the spikes on the Aloe plant.
Due to these thorns, the predators stay away from the plant.
Even if they try to break the leaves, they easily get bruised by these protective spines.
So, as you can see, the spikes do help a lot in forming a protective shield around the plant.
The other reason is quite different, though!
These Aloe Vera spikes act as a mechanism to prevent loss of water from the leaves.
Since the plant grows in dry and hot weather, it becomes a challenging task for it to conserve enough water for survival.
This is why you will also not see any pores on the Aloe plant's leaves.
The leaves have a flat surface and spikes on the edges, which makes it a perfect structure for these types of weather conditions.
Other Aloe Vera Spikes
Now, what are these other Aloe Vera spikes?
Generally, the common Aloe spikes appear on the leaves, and they are visible throughout the lifetime of a mature plant.
Like I mentioned earlier, these spikes are primarily meant for the survival of the Aloe plant.
However, the other spikes come up when the plant is about to bloom in its growing season.
In case you don't know, the Aloe plant does bloom every year or so, and its flowers look absolutely stunning in the garden.
When the plant is going to bloom in the season, you will see a spike coming out of the center of the plant.
The spike or stem will rise from the center to a considerable height and form inflorescence, i.e., a group of clusters that produce small flowers on their heads.
So, if you see something like this on your Aloe plant, you don't have to worry about it at all.
Just be patient for a week or two, as your Aloe is going to have flowers on top of its typical rosette structure.
It truly is a pretty sight in your home garden, so enjoy it till it lasts!
Note: If you are not sure what to do with Aloe flower, check out this detailed guide I have shared earlier on the blog.
It should help in clearing any more doubts about this unique succulent flower.
In the next section, you will find a few tips to get rid of the spikes on the Aloe leaves and harvest the pulp tactfully.
Step By Step Guide To Remove Aloe Spikes While Harvesting Pulp
Here are the important steps you need to follow -
1. Remove The Entire Leaf From The Plant
When you want to harvest the pulp from your Aloe plant, you should remove the entire leaf.
Do not cut the half leaf or small part of the leaf, as it will cause damage to the entire leaf anyway.
If there is a fungus in the soil or pest infestation in the garden, the half-cut leaf will attract even more issues to the plant.
So, try to remove the entire leaf from the plant.
For this purpose, you can either use pruning shears or a sharp knife.
If the plant is quite old, you will have difficulties operating the shears.
Therefore, it's better to use a sharp knife to cut the bottom of the leaf.
2. Cut It Into Small Parts
Have you harvested the leaf?
Now, make sure you cut it into small parts.
Place the leaf on a flat surface and cut the leaf into sizeable parts.
This is an important step, as it will make things easier in the later stages of harvesting the pulp.
3. Take A Sharp Knife And Cut The Edges
It's time to remove the spikes from your Aloe Vera!
If you are not comfortable handling the leaf, you can also wear garden gloves.
The gloves will protect you from the pointed spikes.
Now, take the piece of your Aloe leaf and place it vertically on a board or hard surface.
Hold the leaf with your palm and slice the edge with your knife.
Similarly, do it on the other side and get rid of the spikes from the leaf entirely.
4. Remove The Leaf Cover Using Knife
Let's get to the harvesting of the pulp now!
Once you have removed the edges, you can swiftly remove the pulp from the leaf.
When you cut the entire leaf down into small parts, it makes the whole job far easier in this step.
Hence, it would be best if you always cut the leaf into small pieces whenever you wish to remove it for harvesting.
Alright, here's how you should go about the pulp harvesting process -
- Place one hand on the leaf's surface. (Do wear gloves if you are not a pro!)
- Take a sharp knife in the other hand and try to get rid of the outer layer of the leaf.
- Follow the same process on the other side of the leaf.
- Take the pulp and rinse it with water.
If you are a chef, you can efficiently perform this task without wasting too much pulp.
It's pretty close to skinning a salmon fillet.
So, you should be able to do it with ease.
If you are not used to performing such tasks with a knife, you can take one step at a time and slowly get rid of the unwanted layer from the leaf.
Don't hurry into harvesting the pulp!
Even if you lose some of it in the process, it's completely fine, too.
Moving on, let's jump to the FAQs section!
Here, you should find some useful answers to the frequently asked questions by the readers.
As explained earlier, the spikes are nothing but the protective features of the Aloe plant.
These unique pointed thorns help prevent the loss of moisture from the plant and keep predators away.
Yes, Aloe Vera is a spiky plant, though you won't see any such spikes in its pups.
The spikes develop when the plant begins its growth phase.
Yes, the Aloe Vera plant does have sharp spikes on the edges of its leaves.
Although they are not harmful, you should be careful while handling the plant.
These spikes can be called thorns, prickles, or spines if you like.
In general, though, they are called spikes.
Aloe Vera is succulent despite showing so many similarities to the cactus plants.
The most significant difference between them is the areoles.
These are only formed on the cactus plant and not on any of the Aloe species.
Over To You
Are you still worried about the spikes on your Aloe plant?
Well, don't be!
If you feel the plant can harm with its spikes, you can keep it in a place where it will be out of reach for any of your family members.
This way, you can prevent any possible injuries that may cause due to its spikes.
Moreover, it's one of the must-have succulents in your indoor garden.
So, don't hold back.
Go ahead and get one for your garden too.
Meanwhile, let me know if you have any more doubts or queries in the comments section below.
If you found the information I've shared in this guide helpful, please share it with your friends and family.
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