How to Separate Aloe Vera Pups

Aren’t pups just the cutest!… No, not the dog kind, although they’re pretty cute too.

Aloe Vera pups are so stinken’ cute. The main aloe vera plant (or parent plant) is gorgeous, thick, healthy and harbors so many nutritional and cosmetic benefits, while the pups are gangly little dudes that crowd around the base of the parent plant with no real direction. They’re a little in the way, but hold a lot of potential.

That potential is hard for them to reach when they’re stuck like glue to their parent plant, so, once they get a little too big to share a pot, it’s time to separate them out and move them to their own little homes. The process is pretty simple and doesn’t take long to complete. Let’s work through it together.

HOW TO SEPARATE ALOE VERA PUPS:

  1. Remove your Aloe Vera entirely from the pot it’s in, dirt and all.
    • Place this on a surface like a plastic lid or metal table top, that way you can easily clean up and reuse your dirt as well as easily locate all the parts of the plant you are working with.
  2. Locate your pups
    • The individual pups should be easy to locate unless you have a whole lot of them. Take an outer, smaller leaf and follow it to the root, the root should be near the base of the parent plant.
  3. Begin to separate your pup
    • Each pup’s roots are thoroughly entangled in the parent plants roots, so it’s not going to be as simple as pulling the pup off the parent plant by hand.
    • Take a sharp, hand-held gardening shovel and gently begin sliding it between the main plant and pup. This will separate the roots without causing irreparable (plant killing) damage.
  4. Take your newly separated pup and transfer it to a small/medium pot
    • For this you can fill that new pot with some dirt from the parent plant’s pot, or add new dirt.
    • Fill the base of the pot with dirt to ensure they roots have insulation. Make sure to completely burry the roots of the pup on top as well.
    • I recommend adding a good sized layer of mulch or other filler around the base of the plant after you’ve buried it to insulate the plant from the top. This will help the dirt retain some moisture while out in the sun.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for every pup
  6. Put your parent plant back in it’s pot
    • Now that you have separated out all of your pups, you’ll need to add some dirt to your parent plant’s pot to make up for empty space.
    • Fill the pot about 1/4 with dirt and set your parent plant on top.
    • Fill in the rest of the pot with dirt until the roots are, once again, completely buried.
    • Add filler to cover dirt again like you did to insulate the pups.

Doing this with my aloe vera plant has given both the parent and the pups so much more room to grow. While my pups were still in with the parent plant they had gotten big enough that they began to tip the parent plant over from one side causing some of the leafs to cover up the center of the plant where new growth forms. They were inhibiting each others growth so it was time to separate.

However, I have come to realize that the pups become fairly sensitive once you remove them from the parent plant. They need more water than they used to, they need less sunlight, and they need a little help standing upright. It is better for the over all health of your parent plant to remove the pups when they get too big, but be ready to give some extra love and care to those pups once they’re in their own pots.

If you have separated your aloe vera pups- how did it go? Did you follow these instructions? If so, I’d love to see what you did! You can use the contact information on the website to send in some pictures of your pups and I’ll post some to the Garden To Gorgeous Instagram page!

Homemade Rosewater

Sometimes in life you just need a moment to feel ethereal. To feel pure, like a Disney princess singing to a little bird in a field of gardenias, roses and peonies. And recently, I need that more often than not- and I’m assuming you do too. Really, who doesn’t want that?

A simple little at home trick to get yourself feeling like you’ve been sucked in to an elegant, enchanted fairy tale is to make yourself some rosewater. Rosewater is incredibly quick and easy to make and seemingly has an infinite amount of uses. You can use it as a bath soak, facial toner, hair cleanser, face mask, nail treatment, aromatherapy, and so much more. Heck, you can even use it in your cooking.

Let’s go through two ways you can make rosewater. The first way is to make just a simple rosewater, and the second is to make a rosewater essence which is a more concentrated version that just makes a bit less per batch.

Simple Rosewater

Rosewater in its simplest form can be used for just about anything, and it’s super easy to make. Personally I love using rosewater for a little DIY hair cleanser as a replacement for dry shampoo after a workout, as a toner when my face needs a little moisturizing boost, and as a face mask when mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel from my garden.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a pot of water (fill a medium pot with as much water as you’d like- I recommend making just as much as you can properly store).
  4. Place the pot on the stove top and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the temperature down to a simmer and let sit until the petals begin to look wilted and the water becomes tinted with the color from the flowers.
  5. Strain out the rose petals, and let the water cool before putting it in to your storage containers.
  6. Once you pour your rosewater in to your air tight containers place the ones you want to save in the refrigerator to keep fresh. The rose water is ready to use and will keep for about a year when stored properly.

Rosewater Essence

Rosewater essence is better to make when you intend to use it for cooking or aromatherapy purposes. It is not necessary to use the concentrated version on the skin, and if you have sensitive skin it may be too harsh. However, in its concentrated form, the smell and taste of the rosewater are much more potent and make a great, light, floral addition to many DIY concoctions.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a medium sized pot that is about half full of water.
  4. Place a smaller bowl in the center of the pot, and bring the water in the pot to a simmer.
  5. Once the rose petals begin to look wilted and discolored turn off the stove top and cover the pot with a lid. As the water cools the condensation that will form on the lid will drip in to the bowl you placed on top of the water.
  6. After the water has completely cooled remove the lid and remove the bowl. You should have a substantial amount of rosewater essence in your bowl, but it will not be full of all of the water you started with.
  7. Transfer the rosewater essence to an air tight container and place in the fridge. This should keep for about one year when stored properly.

I’ll tell you, this last time when I made rosewater I made a big mistake. Not in the recipe, not in the preparation, but honestly one of the dumber mistakes I could have made. I didn’t measure out the amount of water I’d be able to store at all. I just went about my merry way, making a big ol’ pot of rosewater not even thinking about how to store it. Well, I ended up using about 5 jars (every jar I had at my disposal), and then still had about a cup’s worth left over. Please, don’t let all that good rosewater go to waste and measure out what you can use before you just go about making your rosewater like I did. I ended up using what was left as a soothing warm facial steam, so it didn’t go totally to waste, but I would have liked to save everything I made for later projects.

The first thing I made with my simple rosewater was a little birthday gift for my friend: A rose water and aloe vera gel face mask. If you want the recipe for that, I’ll be posting it soon here, so be on the look out for that.

In the mean time let me know: What are your favorite uses for rosewater? What are some rosewater DIYs you’d like to learn how to make?

7 Simple, Safe DIY Home Cleaning Products

A healthy home is a happy home, and healthy homes aren’t full of chemicals. That’s why I have collected a set of recipes for DIY house cleaning products that actually work and are 100% non-toxic to humans and pets alike.

My roommate and I used to use a number of cleaning products that weren’t necessarily safe for us and our cat. Our apartment had bug issues with ants and water beetles, and since we lived community style the fridge and other surfaces and drains started to stink after a while. Because of all this we used products like Raid, Clorox, and Lysol. But, over time, we learned and did what we could to adjust our purchasing habits. We switched to using products from brands like Method, Honest, and Ever Spring that are non-toxic and available at reasonable prices just about anywhere cleaning products are sold.

That was a great first step in our healthy home practice, but since then I’ve learned that there’s even more effective things I could do to keep my living space clean and keep the earth happy. While these products were healthier and safe for us and our cat, they weren’t necessarily totally eco-friendly. They still were housed in plastic bottles that were mass-produced and contained chemicals many people aren’t familiar with.

By either reusing the bottles from these past purchases, or grabbing some empty glass spray bottles at the store, you can start making your own cleaning products at home full of ingredients you can identify and feel safe using just about anywhere.

  1. Drain Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Baking Soda
    • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Let sit for 15 minutes before pouring 1/3 cup vinegar down the drain. The baking soda and vinegar will mix and create bubbles and popping sounds. Let that sit for 15 more minutes before running water to rinse this mix out.
    • For an extra touch of freshness and delight, I suggest putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil down the drain after doing this clean out. (My favorites for this are grapefruit oil and lemon oil)
  2. Bug Repellent
    • Ingredients: Water, Witch Hazel, Essential Oils (Tea Tree, Lavender, Cedar, Eucalyptus, Peppermint)
    • Mix 1 cup water with 1/2 cup witch hazel in a spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of essential oil and shake. You do not have to add all of these essential oils, but the more of these you have the more bugs you have the potential to repel. For some common pests, I suggest using peppermint oil for ants and cedar oil for silverfish.
    • Spray this mixture directly on area where you find bugs are entering your home and where they prefer to congregate. This works best if you spray these areas once daily until the infestation is resolved.
    • Bonus: This mixture can also be used as a bug repellent for your body! How fun! All you have to change is that you should only use 15-20 drops of essential oil rather than the 20-30 to protect skin from potential irritants. (Mosquitos especially hate tea tree and eucalyptus. You can thank me later.)
  3. Multi-Surface Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Water, Castile Soap, Isopropyl Alcohol, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol, and 3 tablespoons castile soap in a spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of the essential oils of your choosing and shake.
    • Use this just as you would any other multi-surface cleaner.
  4. Toilet Wash
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Castile Soap, Tea Tree Oil, other Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with a 1/2 cup castile soap in a spray bottle or squeezable bottle. Add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil and other essential oils of your choosing and mix again.
    • Spray this mixture directly into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes before flushing.
  5. Shower Head Cleaner
    • Ingredients: Vinegar, Baking Soda
    • Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/3 cup baking soda in a bag. Take the bag and tie it around your shower head. Make sure the shower head is fully submerged in the mixture. Leave this on for 3 or more hours (overnight is best). Once it’s ready, remove the bag and wipe the shower head with a damp cloth.
  6. Fridge Refresh
    • Ingredients: Water, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Mix 2 cups of warm water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda in a spray bottle (if this creates a foam let it sit before adding anything else or closing the bottle). Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil- this is primarily for smell, but you can also get the benefits of a disinfectant from certain oils (i.e. tea tree oil, etc.). I suggest using food friendly scents like lemon oil, grapefruit oil, rosemary oil, etc.
    • Spray this mixture onto the surfaces in your fridge, let sit, and then wipe clean.
  7. Air Deodorizer and Refresher
    • Ingredients: Baking Soda, Essential Oils of your choosing
    • Put 1 cup of baking soda in a cup or jar. Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil and mix. Put a lid with holes in it on the jar to both allow the mixture to pull in and trap odors while also releasing the refreshing scent of your choice of oils.
    • You can put these just about anywhere you need help with odor. I prefer to keep this in a closet or other small space so that it can work more proficiently. However, that isn’t necessary. It will help deodorize wherever you put it. Simply replace it when you notice unwanted odors returning.

These are my staple recipes for easy and safe home cleaning products, and hopefully they will become yours too! My favorite thing about these recipes (aside from the fact that they are so much more eco-friendly than their commercial counterparts) is that they are incredibly cost effective. You can buy the ingredients in bulk since so many of the products require similar ingredients. They’ll save your money, your time, and your health!

Let me know: Which of these will you be trying? Are there any other home cleaning products you make yourself?

DIY Hair Growth and Anti-Dandruff Spray

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my scalp health is the pits. My scalp is a notorious war-zone in which the skin just refuses to act natural. No matter how much I hydrate or attempt to balance my scalp, within only a day or so my scalp goes right back to it’s crazy business. I’ve used just about every dandruff shampoo and “itch relief” product at the drug store, and all of them have similar issues. They were either chock full of chemicals and ingredients I didn’t recognize, or they helped my scalp but made the lengths of my hair dry and waxy. Aside from the relief of rosemary rinse that lasts about a day and the ice packs I keep in the freezer that help sooth the burn from itching so much, I needed a long term solution. I only wash my hair every 2-3 days for the health of the lengths of my hair, but my scalp has been in dire need of extra love. I needed something that I could use more often than just in the shower.

After extensive Googling, and “Pinterest research” as well, I landed on a mixture that I could use as a hairspray. This hairspray is easy to make, all-natural, and can be used anytime, anywhere. That anytime, anywhere factor is the biggest plus because when that itch kicks in and you’re not intending to wash your hair within the next 30 minutes, you need that relief, and you NEED IT FAST!

What you’ll need:

  • a spray bottle
  • a bag of organic green tea
  • 1-2 medium sized sprigs of rosemary
  • tea tree oil

How it’s made:

  • Heat 1 cup of water and add a bag of green tea and 1-2 sprigs of rosemary.
    • Let sit until tea is fully brewed and cooled.
  • Once tea is cooled, fill your spray bottle with the tea until it’s about 3/4 full.
  • Add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Screw the spray bottle top on and shake vigorously to mix the oil and tea.

How to use:

  • Separate hair into sections and spray directly onto the scalp.
  • Once you feel the scalp is sufficiently covered, use your fingers to massage the spray into your scalp.
    • You can follow this up by brushing out the hair to help spread the spray further, but this isn’t necessary.
  • That’s it, it’s that easy.

This simple mixture is made to last and can be stored in the cabinet or in your purse for on-the-go use. It doesn’t weigh the hair down and won’t leave your roots greasy. Since tea tree oil is a dry oil, you might even notice this spray refreshes limp hair on the days you don’t wash it. You will need to shake the bottle before each use to re-mix any separation of oil and tea; however, the longer you have the mixture the more it will blend naturally.

As much as I am raving about the delight of relief this hairspray is for a devastated scalp, it has so many other benefits as well particularly for cleansing of the hair follicles and removing impurities. Aside from dandruff and itch relief, this cleansing can help promote healthy hair growth and decrease excessive hair loss.

Green tea contains a natural antioxidant compound called a catechin which helps to reduce dihydrotestosterone (DTH), a hormone derivative of testosterone (which both men and women have), that can cause hair loss. By reducing DTH on the scalp hair is less likely to fall out, allowing hair to grow thicker and healthier over time. You can also reap these benefits by drinking green tea regularly.

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which can help to gently cleanse, condition, and remove impurities from the scalp that can cause that itch.

Finally, tea tree oil is a staple of both skincare and haircare that is well known for its ability to remove toxins from pores and hair follicles, as well as lift product residue off the skin along with dead skin (in this case, dandruff). You can also add a couple drops of tea tree oil to your normal shampoo for an added boost of dandruff and itch relief in the shower.

This combination not only brings sweet relief when scalp pain sets in, but also brings nutrients and over all restorative health to the scalp. And if you don’t suffer from scalp issues, this can still benefit you in your hair growth and chemical free living endeavors.

Once you’ve tried this DIY hairspray, let me know how it worked for you. It’s now a staple of my haircare routine, and I’d love to know if it becomes one of yours too.

Rosemary Hair Rinse

Rosemary hair rinses are the perfect DIY goody for anyone with a scalp in need of some love.

For months now due to fad hair product usage (Function of Beauty…), anxiety, stress and irregular washings, my scalp has been as irritated as the day is long. I have been desperate to try just about anything to soothe my burning, itchy scalp. My first shot was an apple cider vinegar rinse, which is great and all, it just wasn’t enough to last between washes. Each time I’d wash my hair, I had about two hours of relief before the itchy came back, and I was scratching so hard my hair was falling out. It HURT! I had red patches that felt like fire, dandruff everywhere, and, for some reason, oily roots (which was just adding insult to injury if you ask me).

Disgusting right? I’m sorry you had to read that, but also not sorry. I want you to understand just how bad my scalp health was, so you’ll know just how incredible this rosemary rinse is.

The recipe is incredibly simple, and it doesn’t take a lot of prep.

All you need is about 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and some water.

I start by cutting 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary from my garden and washing them. I often find that there’s a bit of dirt and sometimes little bugs hiding in-between the leaves, and I don’t want either of those things in my hair (bugs? No Thank You!).

Once they’ve been washed, I toss them in a pot and pour in around 32 ounces of water which is enough to make two bottles of the rinse. I often reuse old GT’s kombucha bottles which are 16 ounces a piece (I’m a kombucha addict, so I reuse those bottles for everything). You can use however much you want, or however much your pots can handle. Just make sure you have the proper containers to store the rinse in after.

Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down a bit and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. As the rosemary simmers the water will turn an olive green color. Once the color is dark and the leaves look a bit limp, it’s time to let the rinse cool.

Once it’s cool enough, you can pour your rinse into whatever bottles you have. I personally prefer to store these bottles in the fridge before using them even though that’s not entirely necessary. I find that using them is more effective for scalp relief when they are chilled before use.

When you’re ready to use one just take it out of the fridge, take a normal shower, and then pour the rinse over your head making sure to thoroughly coat the scalp. Let this stay in your hair for about 5-10 minutes (usually I’ll wash my body and face while I let it set in), and then rinse it out with nice cold water. While it sits in your hair and as you rinse it out, it’s also good to massage the scalp to really make sure you work this product in and purify the scalp. I use inversion here and flip my hair upside down while I massage my scalp to encourage hair growth and healthy blood flow to the scalp. It also doesn’t need to be rinsed out for long, you only really need to give it a quick once-over since you want to retain as many of the benefits as possible.

It’s really the simplest thing you can do to help your scalp maintain a healthy pH and remove impurities that cause irritation.

Bonus: I often add about a tbsp of apple cider vinegar once I take a bottle out of the fridge for a bit of added purification. Apple cider vinegar can increase hair’s natural shine, and can also be incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy pH, removing product build-up, and soothing an itchy scalp since it’s anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.

Thanks for reading!

Once you try this Rosemary Hair Rinse let me know, how did it work for you?