Aloe vera plant care is simple, easy, and rewarding. This amazing succulent is great for beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts alike.
It is a sleek and attractive plant that produces a soothing gel, perfect for use on sunburns and minor cuts or scrapes.
Furthermore, Aloe vera is drought and sunlight tolerant. It easily bounces back from a lack of water.
Quick Care Infographic:
The species Aloe vera is a type of succulent in the genus Aloe. In fact, there are more than 500 different species of aloe that are all unique in interesting in their own way.
However, Aloe vera is the most useful and easiest type of aloe plant to care for. Their benefits include healthier skin, reduced inflammation, as well as a cure for sunburns.
Aloe vera is a short-stemmed plant that grows thick, fleshy leaves filled with watery sap. The leaves grow outwards from the plant’s center and in an interesting pattern.
Small teeth-like spines run along the edge of the leaves. Some varieties have much larger and jagged teeth.
Aloe Vera Plant Water Requirements:
Similar to most succulents, aloe vera likes to be on the dry side. The plant is native to Northern Africa, so it can survive extended periods of time without water.
Water aloe plants thoroughly but infrequently. This gives the plant enough water to grow without allowing the roots to rot.
Specifically, water the plant once the top 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) of the soil has dried. Give it plenty of water.
Aloe vera plants should be watered once or twice every 3 weeks. This may be more or less depending on the temperature of the environment.
Above all, never let aloe sit in water. Excess water that cannot drain will cause root rot. If the plant stays in damp soil too often it will start to wilt.
Water the plant less in the wintertime. Water once every 4-5 weeks instead of once or twice every 3 weeks. (Aloe plants naturally have a dormant period in winter and will grow more slowly as they prepare for a spring and summer growing season.)
Aloe vera requires a lot of light to stay healthy and thrive. They can be kept indoors, however, they will not do well in dark environments.
6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for these plants. They will also do fine in indirect light, but they will need more of it.
Avoid giving the plant more than 8 hours of direct sunlight as it can cause its leaves to sunburn and dry out.
If planted indoors, a southern or western-facing window should let in enough light for an aloe. If it looks leggy (stretched out), then it is not getting enough light.
Move the plant to a brighter spot or shine a light on it if it isn’t getting enough light.
Learn more about leggy succulents at www.sunspotnursery.com
Aloe Vera Plant Temperature Requirements:
Aloe vera, and most other succulents, should be kept between 65°F and 75°F (18-24°C) for optimal growth. Slightly higher or lower temperatures will suffice for these plants.
Aloe vera can survive in temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) and temperatures up to 90°F (32°C). They can survive in lower or higher temperatures for a few hours, however, they should be brought indoors.
If you live in agricultural zones 10-11, plants can be kept outdoors all year. Make sure to provide them with enough water and cover them during extreme winters.
Never place Aloe vera in drafty areas. A constant breeze will dry out the plant’s leaves or cause parts of it to chill.
Aloe vera and other succulents require a quick-drying soil that does not hold water. There are many different types of soil that these plants can survive in.
Here’s a list of the best soil for Aloe vera.
- Cactus and/or Citrus potting mixes
- Soil and Sand mixes
- Perlite or Lava Rock mixes
A little bit of organic matter, such as manure or decomposing leaves, can be added to soil to help with growth.
Consider adding a layer of rocks or coarse gravel to the pot of Aloe vera pots. The rocks provide an area for water to drain away from the roots to prevent rotting.
Also, make sure pots have drainage holes in the bottom. Aloe and other succulents cannot tolerate standing water, so drainage holes let excess water escape.
For optimal growth, the pH of Aloe vera soil should be between neutral to slightly alkaline (basic). However, plants can tolerate slightly acidic soils as well.
Fertilizing Aloe Vera Plants:
Aloe vera plants do not need to be fertilized in order to survive and thrive; however, fertilizing plants promote new and faster growth.
When fertilizing aloe uses a phosphorous heavy fertilizer diluted in water. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product you choose to buy.
Fertilize the plants once a month during the spring. This helps to boost new leaf growth and production of offset aloe plants.
Succulent and cactus plant foods also help Aloe vera. Plant foods can be liquid-based or in the form of pellets that release nutrients into the soil over time. Make sure to follow the product’s directions when using this option.
Dengarden.com has a great guide on aloe vera fertilizing and cultivation tips.
Proper aloe vera plant care is rewarding because it offers the growth of new plants (called pups or offsets) over time.
The mother plant (the big one) produces tiny pups that start growing underneath the soil. Eventually, they will be able to survive on their own.
Separate pups from mother plants with a sharp cutting tool sterilized in alcohol or warm soapy water to prevent infection. Their root systems will quickly develop in moist soil.
Leaf cuttings are another form of propagation, but this method has a lower success rate than using offsets or pups.
To propagate leaf cuttings, carefully slice off a leaf at its base and plant it about an inch (2-3 centimeters) into the soil and keep it moist. The leaves should slowly develop roots.
Additionally, try using rooting hormone if planting leaves for a better chance at success.