Generally, I don’t like to buy my plants online. But, after my pleasant experience with Mudbrick Cottage herb farm, I thought why not?
Recently a neighbours dog was in our yard and knocked over my aloe vera. I bought it from Bunnings. At the time I bought it, I was unsure if it truly was an Aloe Vera Barbadensis. It looked very similar to Aloe Vera Perryi or another variety often called Aloe Vera Chinensis. Regardless, it was knocked over and turned into a nub. I still have it planted in hopes that it regrows because it was quite an attractive little aloe plant.
Bunnings stopped selling their aloe vera and I have no idea why. There were so many and all of my nearby stores had none in stock. I was upset. Summer is coming in fast and I’d really like to have an ample amount of fresh leaves. Not just for sunburn, but bug bites well.
After a lot of research and looking around at just about everywhere that was within driving distance, I came to find that my only option was to buy it online. I must admit, I did look at Gumtree and eBay as a source of online shopping. But, in the end I avoided it. A lot of the aloe vera advertised as Barbadensis or the Stockton Miller variety, were often not those types. I could tell just by looking at them and their spines. I’m quite surprised at how many people assume that all aloe vera is the same. There are so many species! Anyway, I looked elsewhere.
Eventually I came across Aloe Vera Australia and their website. Usually when I find a site like this, I feel almost as if it’s too good to be true. So I emailed them, not expecting a reply. Usually, it’s been in my experience, that a lot of Australian business websites often have their information still posted, but don’t actually sell any longer. Luckily, this was not the case.
The email I got was polite, quick and even had several links provided. No hidden fees or costs and a flat rate shipping fee. I was thrilled that the links linked me to a paypal cart. I refuse to purchase anything online that isn’t through paypal unless I’m 100% certain I can trust the seller and there’s very few that I trust. There was also no pushy marketing mumbo jumbo. Very calm and to the point. And that’s something that I really like.
So I made an order as soon as I had the money to do so. More expensive than I normally would spend on plants but, I very badly wanted that specific type of aloe vera. Not just for myself but for my family. I had actually waited almost a year for Bunnings to begin selling medicinal aloe vera again so you could imagine how angry I really was when my plant was more or less destroyed.
I got my package within 5 to 7 business days. I’m not sure of the specific day now that it arrived, but I’ve had my plants almost a week now. They’re all doing quite well.
When I opened my package the first thing I noticed was the smell. It was a fairly strong scent. I had never smelled it before. I assume though, that the smell was strong since I had ordered three aloe vera plants and they bumped about each other as they were delivered. I was happy with the smell because it was a unique plant scent that can only be described as “Aloe Vera”.
My current large one that I already own, I am constantly unsure of what type it is. When it’s cut it smells like bad onions and B.O. and is frankly only good for topical applications. But it’s not particularly potent. I keep it for it’s attractive leaves and to occasionally grind up into goop and put on my plants as fertilizer. But, being about 40cm or longer it still has some white spots which has been the most confusing part about trying to identify it. That and it’s never flowered.
Anyway, after I pulled out my three, very large and well matured aloe vera plants (I’m glad I didn’t have to grow them from pups) I then found two sizeable pups in amongst the packaging peanuts. So I have 5! I was quite thrilled. They’re very cute in my small terracotta pot. Digging about further as I noticed an invoice I then pulled out 3 bottles.
There was a 1 liter aloe vera concentrate fertilizer. The fertilizer is organic and made mostly with aloe vera. I was impressed with how potent it professes to be. I have yet to use it though because I am unsure of what measurements to use. Then I pulled out a zip lock bag containing a decent sized sample bottle of inner leaf juice aloe vera and aloe vera gel.
I’d have to say the two best things about both of these products was their lack of fake smells and the taste of the aloe juice surprised me. I didn’t like it actually. I’d rather get it raw from the plant. But compared to store bought stuff, even from the health food stores, this one actually tasted like aloe vera. It was a bit bitter but it was tolerable. My mum didn’t mind, which was good because she needs it the most.
The gel was really nice. Very cooling and refreshing with no smell. I personally hate green store bought aloe vera gel for sunburns. It’s never worked and you find yourself constantly applying it. It’s almost never worked or even hydrated my skin and I’ve always been disappointed in the end. And I was also to silly to realise that of course you have to use a lot, because then you’ll go out and buy more! But I don’t think that will be the case with this gel. It’s a faint yellow and delightfully odourless. You only need a small blob and it spreads very well.
After mum tried it she said she liked how the gel absorbed which is impressive coming from her. Other than being allergic, she seems to have trouble getting products to absorb into her dry skin. She also said it didn’t feel like she had any on which is another bonus.
I was extremely happy with my package and the samples were a wonderful surprise! Although it felt expensive at the time, the size and weight of the plants, it turned out to be far cheaper to purchase them this way. Even after factoring in the shipping cost which was a small fee of I think $9. There’s no way I would have gotten three large full grown aloe vera for less.
I was able to finally fillet a leaf yesterday. I had waited first for them to get used to their new environment before cutting any leaves off. I took off another from a different plant today. The aloe vera smell is strong and the leaves are healthy. They also didn’t suffer much damage during shipping which is good. But it wouldn’t have mattered to me if they did because I know how hardy aloe vera can be. It would only be a matter of time before they would be replaced by nice green leaves.
So far I have two in pots and one in the ground. I don’t trust my yard. It’s prone to clay and flooding. I chose the driest spot that seems to drain the best for one of my aloe’s and I’m hoping for the best. I really do hope that the one in the ground does well because if it does, it will hopefully grow wild along that area and make my garden more attractive!
I also can’t wait for them to start growing pups so I can give them out to people as presents!
All round, I was really happy with my order. Just looking at it in the pictures and how it arrived, I finally have the right aloe vera! I couldn’t be happier! I’m really glad that I went outside of my comfort zone and emailed Aloe Vera Australia. I would definitely order from them again in the near future!
[A quick authors note, the featured image is a photo of one of the leaves from my plant that I did not purchase. It use to be my nana’s.]