Aloe vera is the perfect plant to grow in your home. It’s beautiful, it smells great, and aloe vera can be used for everything from soothing burns to moisturizing skin. The aloe that you are growing may not seem like much of a task, but there are some things you need to do to ensure you keep your plant happy and healthy.
One of the most important things aloe vera needs is water. You should be watering aloe vera once every three to four days, as aloe doesn’t like being over-watered or under-watered. In fact, aloes are so sensitive to their environment that it’s not uncommon for them to die if they get too much or too little water at a time.
Before you acquire an aloe, keep in mind that it needs bright, indirect sunshine (or artificial light). The plant, on the other hand, does not like being exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time.
Have a read of this blog to find out the best way to water and care for your Aloe Vera plant:
Table of Contents
About Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a succulent plant belonging to the genus Aloe. The plant has no stems or only very short ones, with broad, greenish, fleshy leaves that fan out from the central stem. The leaf margin is serrated and includes tiny teeth. Along the leaf surface are small white spots. Aloe vera grows from a single rosette of leaves at the base of the plant and does not branch off as some other succulents do.
You should note that you’ll need a location with bright, indirect sunshine (or artificial light) before purchasing an aloe. Direct sunlight can also overchill the plant and cause its fleshy leaves to discolour, so if your aloe is in a particularly sunny area, you may need to water it more frequently.
Aloe Vera Overview
The aloe vera plant is endemic to tropical Africa, specifically in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Kenya. It was introduced to Europe in the 18th century and has been used medicinally since then. The gel inside aloe vera leaves is widely used for topical application on skin problems including burns, sunburns, frostbites, eczema and psoriasis. Cosmetically it is used in shampoos, soaps, moisturizers and lip balms.
Before You Plant Your Aloe Vera
- It’s crucial to get the appropriate sort of container. A terra-cotta pot or a comparable permeable material is suggested since it will allow the potting soil to dry thoroughly between waterings and will also be robust enough to keep the plant from leaning over. A plastic or glazed container, on the other hand, may be used; however, they will hold more moisture.
- When purchasing a container, look for one with drainage holes in the bottom. This is important since it allows water to drain. Aloe vera plants are resilient, but lack of proper drainage can cause rot and wilting, which is quickly the most common reason for death for these plants.
- Choose a container that’s the same width and depth as your aloe plant. Choose a container that’s deep enough to bury the complete stem of your aloe plant if it has one.
- Growing Aloe vera plants are succulents, so use a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents. Use prepared soil instead. Perlite, lava rock, bits of bark, or any combination of the three should be included in a good mix.
- It is not necessary to add a layer of gravel, clay balls, or any other “drainage” substance to the bottom of the container. This just takes up space that the roots could be using. A drainage hole is more than enough for drainage!
- (Optional) Dust the stem of the plant with a rooting hormone powder to encourage your aloe to put out new roots after planting. Rooting hormone may be found at a local garden centre or hardware shop, as well as purchased online.
How To Plant Your Aloe Vera
Water the plant thoroughly before planting. This will help reduce transplant shock once your aloe is in the ground.
Remove the aloe from its pot and loosen the potting soil around the roots with your fingers. If the aloe has a long stem, you can cut it back to about six inches (15 cm) tall so that it will fit more easily into its new pot or container.
Fill in around the aloe with some of the potting mix, gently packing it down as you go; don’t tamp too hard or you’ll compact the soil and make it difficult for air and water to reach the roots. The top of the soil should be level with or just below where the leaves meet the stem.
Gently tap on the sides of the pot to settle the aloe in and then water well.
Place your aloe vera in a bright, indirect spot – an east- or west-facing window is ideal. If you’re using artificial light, place the plant within two feet (60 cm) of the light source.
Watering Your Aloe Vera
How often you’ll need to water your aloe vera will depend on a number of things: how hot and dry your climate is, how big your aloe pot is, how much sun the plant gets, etc. In general, though, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. You can test this by sticking your finger into the soil; if it’s wet more than ½ inch (12 mm) below the surface, it’s time to water.
If you are using an aloe vera plant that has a stem, then water until there is some liquid seeping out of the drainage hole in its base. If your aloe doesn’t have one or if this step produces very little draining from the bottom of the pot, simply pour water into the top half-inch (12 mm) of sandy soil and allow it to drain through naturally over 20 minutes or so before removing any standing water on the saucer beneath.
How To Water Your Aloe Vera Plant Using Distilled Or Reverse Osmosis Water
Even though aloes are drought-tolerant plants they prefer well-aerated soils which will be difficult to achieve with hard water. If you have very hard water or live in an area where the water is not safe to drink, then you will need to use distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water to water your aloe vera plant.
You can either purchase distilled or RO water from a store, or distil your own by boiling regular tap water and collecting the steam in a clean container. Be sure to allow the boiled water to cool completely before using it to water your plants.
Aloe Vera Plant Food
If you find that your aloe vera leaves are losing their colour, becoming soft, or developing brown spots – which often indicates that the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients – then you can give it some aloe vera plant food to nourish it.
Avoid using standard aloe vera gel, though; this can cause fungal growth on the aloe leaves and stem. Instead, use a water-soluble aloe fertilizer that contains an NPK ratio of roughly 12-12-12 or 20-20-20 (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). Follow package instructions for fertilizing your aloes twice monthly in spring and summer and once monthly during fall and winter.
* Optional: Rooting Hormone Powder * Dust the bottom inch (25 mm) of the cutting with rooting hormone powder before planting in order to encourage root development. You can find rooting hormones at most garden centres or online retailers like Amazon.
Aloe Vera Plant Propagation
Aloe vera plant propagation is easy and can be done in two different ways: by taking stem cuttings or by division.
To take a stem cutting, use sharp scissors to cut off a six-inch (15 cm) piece of the aloe stem just below a leaf node. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting and then dip them in rooting hormone powder before planting it in moist potting mix. Cover the pot or container with plastic wrap to help maintain moisture levels and place it in a warm, bright spot until new roots have formed – this will usually take four to six weeks.
Aloe vera plant propagation via division is best done during late spring or early summer when the aloe plant is in active growth. Use a sharp knife to cut the aloe plant into two or three pieces, making sure each piece has at least one leaf and root system.
Other Related Questions
What is bad about aloe vera?
Taking aloe latex or whole-leaf extract by mouth is generally considered to be dangerous and most certainly so in high dosages. Taking 1 gram a day of aloe latex for several days may result in acute kidney failure, which can be fatal. Aloe latex has the potential to induce cancer as well. Other adverse effects include abdominal pains and diarrhoea.
Is aloe vera poisonous?
Aloe vera is not poisonous, but aloe latex can be. The clear gel found inside aloe leaves does not contain aloin and is safe to ingest in small quantities as a laxative, though larger doses may result in vomiting or diarrhoea.
What do I need for my aloe vera plant?
Aloe Vera plants don’t require much to thrive. In fact, they do well in dry and hot environments. All you need is a pot with soil, aloe vera plant food (optional), and water. Be sure to only give your aloe vera plant distilled or reverse osmosis water if your tap water is hard or not safe to drink.
How much sun does aloe vera need to survive?
Aloe vera plants need plenty of sun to thrive, but they can also survive in shaded areas. Aloes that don’t receive enough indirect sunlight may not produce as many aloe leaves. Ideally, aloe plants should be placed in an area that receives a bit of sun for at least six hours a day.
Why do aloe leaves rot and die back if you put it in water?
How do you keep aloe vera from rotting?
Repot your aloe vera into a porous container to keep the growing medium as dry as possible. A clay pot creates a draining environment that does not stay wet, which is ideal for succulent plants since chronically moist roots are prone to develop root rot.
What happens if you water aloe vera too much?
A damaged aloe may grow brown and water-logged. A bloated aloe will have blistered cells in its leaves, which indicates oedema. Mould in the soil or softening of the stems are other indicators of over-abundance of moisture. Plant leaves that have been overly dried will shrivel and pucker.
Can you save a dead aloe plant?
If your aloe plant has dried out and turned brown, it isn’t necessarily dead. The roots of aloes can remain viable for several years until they are no longer able to absorb water from the soil. Wait a few weeks after you think you’ve killed an aloe before composting its remains or throwing them away.
How quickly do aloe vera plants grow?
About 3-4 years in total. Aloe vera plants typically grow about two inches per month. If you want your aloe to grow more quickly, fertilize it with an aloe-specific or general succulent fertilizer every other month. You can also propagate new aloe plants by dividing existing ones into several pieces during the active growth period in late spring or early summer.