Aloe vera (or aloes) plants are native to tropical regions, but even if you live in a place with cold winters, you can have a beautiful, healthy indoor aloe vera plant. You should put your aloe in a pot with a special soil mixture for succulents. This plant likes drought and heat and does not tolerate humidity and cold, so it should be watered only when the soil is almost completely dry. If they are healthy, these plants produce “babies”, which you can remove and offer in a pot to a friend.
How to Care for an Aloe Vera Plant?
Taking care of an Aloe vera plant is not difficult, even for beginners in gardening or for those who do not have much time to take care of their plants. Generally, Aloe vera plants need a lot of sunlight, warm temperature and minimal irrigation.
How much sun does an Aloe vera plant need?
A sunny window in the kitchen or another sunny place in your home will be perfect for an aloe vera plant. Aloe also holds up well in areas with indirect sunlight. It will not tolerate shade, so make sure there is at least a bit of sun in the room where you place your aloe.
- You can move the plant outside during the summer as long as there is no risk of frost. It is 95% water and even a light frost would freeze and destroy it.
- If you live in a warm place and plant your aloe outdoors, choose a place in full sun (six to eight hours of sunlight a day).
How often to water Aloe vera?
Aloe vera plants require relatively minimal caring because they don’t require a lot of water. Wait until the soil is at least 2 cm dry on the surface, then water slowly and deeply until you see water rising through the drainage holes.
- Water Aloe vera only when the soil is dry at least 2 cm above the surface. In most environments, this is equivalent to watering it once every 1.5 weeks or once every two weeks, and less than that in winter.
- If you have just repotted your Aloe, wait two or three days before watering it. This gives the roots time to adapt to the new soil before absorbing water.
- If in doubt, water less, never more. When your Aloe vera is too wet, the roots begin to rot and the plant eventually dies. It is best to wait a few more days if you are unsure whether it is the right time to water it.
- If you really like your Aloe vera, consider using rainwater. So water your plant only when it is raining. This reproduces the natural environment of Aloe.
- Do not over water, as mold will develop and the roots will rot.
From April to September, the aloe will grow vigorously. You can help it if you wish, by providing fertilizer twice a month during those months. Dilute fertilizer 15-30-15 with water, using one part of fertilizer for five parts of water. Apply the fertilizer when you water it.
- Stop fertilizing during the winter, since the plant cannot use the fertilizer when it is not in the active growth period.
Aloe vera is the favorite plant of certain pests such as mealybugs. These insects are brown, flat, and they like to savor the sap of aloe vera. You can use a natural pesticide to prevent them from invading your plantations.
How to repot Aloe vera plant?
Aloe vera is often bought in small and fragile plastic pots. To help your Aloe thriving for years, it is best to repot it in a larger pot where it will have more room. If the Aloe is already in a large, solid clay pot with holes underneath, you don’t necessarily need to repot it.
Use a gritty succulent soil
Aloe vera, like other succulents, prefers dry and sandy soil and they do not tolerate the humidity of regular potting soil well. Look in your garden store for a mixture designed specifically for cacti or succulents, as these are plants that store their water and prefer to have dry, not wet roots.
If you live in zone 10 or 11, where there is no risk of frost, you can grow your Aloe vera outdoors as a garden plant instead of a houseplant. Change the soil by breaking it up and adding a special bag of potting soil for succulents. If the soil where you live is very rich and moist, add a little sand to make sure it is well-drained.
Choosing the right pot for Aloe vera
This plant likes to keep growing easily, so it’s best to choose a large pot that will give it plenty of space. Choose a clay pot with drainage holes and a saucer to place underneath to catch the soil and water.
After several months or a year of care, you will probably notice that your Aloe begins to extend beyond its pot. If the leaves of your aloe vera are as large as the pot, it’s time to put them in a larger container. Buy a new pot, three times larger than the current size of the root ball, and repot it.
Repotting your Aloe vera
Partially fill the pot with soil, then put the clump of Aloe in the center. Add soil around the root ball up to the base of the leaves. Gently tap with your hands to fix the plant; the soil should cover only the roots of the plant.
Spread pebbles or shells over the ground
This will help retain moisture and replicate the natural environment of the Aloe vera. Choose any type of small pebbles, stones or shells you like. Press them lightly into the soil at the base of the plant.
Repotting Aloe vera pups
These are the tiny Aloe vera plants, which grow from the main plant. When you see that a “baby” has fully formed, detach it from the mother plant, taking care not to break the roots. Put it in a clean and dry place for two or three days, so that it forms a callosity. Then repot it in a small pot using special potting soil for cacti or succulents.
If the “baby” has no roots, you can still spread it. Fill a small pot with suitable potting soil and place the cut side of the “baby” over the ground. Instead of watering, spray with water every day. Finally, you should see some roots that are starting to germinate. When this happens, you can put it in a pot with potting soil.