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I came across a very beautiful aloe in a shop a few days ago, which I would like to plant in my office next to my computer. However, there is no natural light (sunlight) and only fluorescent light, which hangs 2m above the table, is available. Can aloe grow healthily in such conditions?

The aloe is a small one, with an 8cm (diameter) pot

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4 Answers

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Aloes, like most succulents, are very hardy and will withstand considerable neglect . I have had two Lace Aloes (A.aristata) in a low-lit, sunless room for several years, and they are thriving. The winter temperature in this room is sometimes as low as 7 degrees celsius (44.6F) and they are quite happy. Aloes like a marked difference between day and night temperatures. Make sure your potting compost is light and well-draining, and water thoroughly in summer, but very infrequently in winter. Aloes - at least the Lace variety - can manage perfectly well without sunshine and, provided there is some daylight in your office, the one you have in mind should adjust well enough to the conditions you describe.

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As well, our aloe in our living room has endured considerable neglect and only a meager amount of indirect, shaded sun/incandescent-light from windows. –  mfg Jun 14 '11 at 18:39
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Some of the guys at my office have potted aloe plants. They do reasonably well and are hard to kill. They are under flourescent lighting, just like every other office building in the US (our lights are flush with the ceiling tiles, which puts them about 6f/2m above the desks). The plants get watered weekly. Office temperature is in the 70s like every other office in the US.

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You are dealing with a very sensitive plant. Aloe's require a lot of sun and love hot weather. Unless you are working outdoors in the sun you will not see this plant flourish. I have never tried growing one indoors but what you can try is to use some cactus soil mix with very good drainage. If you are planting a new one do not bury it too deep, the plant likes to be on the surface of a pot. You must water very well in the beginning until it drains out of the bottom of the pot.

But again without any sunshine it is hard to say what will happen to this plant.

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The OP implies the fluorescent light be harm the plant. I wonder if the opposite might be true? I think fluorescent lamps have more blue in their spectrum - so, speculation on my part, this might be more 'natural' for the aloe? I agree with the bright light though. –  winwaed Jun 14 '11 at 14:29
    
@winwaed - Light is only one factor, you have to remember that there needs to be a very warm temperature in his office for this plant to survive. Again to be fair I have never tried to grow aloe inside an office, our temperature here would kill it instantly (AC is blowing constantly and it is usually freezing). Light is only part of the equation. –  JonH Jun 14 '11 at 14:34
    
gunbuster363 - I'm not discouraging you from growing it, but without direct sunlight and heat it will be hard...like I said I've never grown it under fluroscent light indoors. If I was a living thing and placed like that I'd be shocked! –  JonH Jun 14 '11 at 14:57
    
As for plants that require hot weather: a lot of what you find in tropical rainforests. Mangoes and avocados need heat. Often it is the frost that is the problem - otherwise avocado would be a crop here in North Texas! –  winwaed Jun 14 '11 at 15:09
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-1 I would hardly call an Aloe a 'sensitive plant'. These plants grow naturally in conditions that kill just about everything else. I have grown aloes indoors in limited sun without any problems whatsoever. –  WienerDog Feb 13 '12 at 19:50
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I have had several aloe plants derived from one tiny plant 29 years ago! I am in Michigan and they live on my window sill facing east so they get the morning sun. They have thrived so much that I have repotted several of the pups for centerpieces at a wedding shower and a baby shower. I did pot some to put on my outdoor deck one summer and the direct sun killed it! I was surprised as the original plant came from Florida. So they seem to do well as long as there is a pane off glass separating them from the sun, they are a beautiful lime green and very hardy. I found this site because I was wondering if I could put one on my desk at work under flourescent light and if it would be okay with no direct sunlight coming in?

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why not put your last paragraph up as a question? –  kevinsky Sep 7 '13 at 17:14
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