How to take care of Aloe Vera?
Everything You Need to Know

The Aloe Vera plant requires has little needs but offers many benefits! From the soil to the leaves, learn how to care for this beautiful houseplant.

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Jimena Bolívar

May 02, 2021


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Introduction

Are you a proud caretaker of an Aloe vera plant? Or soon to be one? Well, you’re in for a treat. The Aloe vera is a fantastic air purifier. And more so, the gel from its leaves can be equally beneficial for you!

The Aloe vera thrives well in a hot and dry climate. It requires water only when the top of the soil runs dry. Its ideal temperature ranges between 55°F to 80°F (13°C to 26°C). It can be easily propagated without the need for too much fertilizer.

Aloe vera 101

The Aloe vera is a trendy choice for outdoors and indoors alike. It comes in many sizes, so you can even grow a small one in a tiny container. When placed outdoors, your Aloe vera can even bloom beautiful flowers! Just like these!

Aloe vera with beautiful red flowers

Here are some details about this very useful succulent:

  • Scientific name: Aloe barbadensis miller
  • Common name: Aloe vera
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Genus: Aloe
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Native Country: South-East Arabian Peninsula
  • Flowering: Flowers when it is in the wild and outdoors. Rarely flowers indoors!
  • Hardiness: USDA zones 10 and 11

Caring for The Aloe vera Plant

In a nutshell, your Aloe vera will need the following:

  • Ideal soil: the soil should be well-drained. Too much moisture can kill your Aloe vera.
  • Drainage Needs: Needs a lot of draining
  • Water Requirements: Deep watering, but infrequent. Cut the water needs by half during winter.
  • Sunlight Requirements: Partial, indirect light. Direct sunshine can cause harm.
  • Temperature: 55°F to 80°F (13°C to 26°C)
  • Humidity: Doesn’t like to stay in too much moisture; around 40% or dry air is best
  • Ideal pH: 6.0-6.5 (Somewhere between neutral to acidic)
  • Frost-Resistance: Needs to stay out of frost
  • Fertilizer: Does not require too much fertilizer
  • Pruning: Trimming of dying or dead leaves
  • Propagation: Removal of pups
  • Repotting: Possible with proper drainage
  • Toxicity: Contains chemicals that are not good when consumed

Still haven’t got an Aloe vera plant? You may want to buy one from here.

Aloe vera 6 Inches Live Plant With Pot

This tiny Aloe vera plant is between 2 to 6 inches! It's the perfect size for both beginners and enthusiasts.

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1. What is the Ideal Soil for the Aloe vera Plant?

The Aloe vera requires soil that drains out very quickly. The ideal mix is that of sand and gravel.

A soil mixture that uses sand and gravel will help keep the Aloe vera healthy and full of nutrients. Feel free to add more sand if your Aloe vera is in a container. Since the sand is dry, it will help resist too much moisture.

If you live in a very wet climate, you may have to drain the soil then and now. It’s ideal to use a cactus potting mix. I would recommend that you use this potting soil for Aloe vera.

Aloe vera Organic Soil Mix

This organic soil will be enough for two to three small Aloe veras or one or two bigger ones!

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2. What are the Sunlight Requirements of the Aloe vera Plant?

Your Aloe vera can benefit from all types of light, even artificial!

The Aloe vera can be placed both indoors and outdoors. For indoors, partial and indirect sunlight is enough. For outdoors, a balance.

Outdoor Sunlight Requirement Indoor Sunlight Requirement
Your outdoor Aloe vera would require 2-3 hours of morning sunshine. You can place your aloe at the windowsill.
Light shade is recommended. Too much direct sunlight can be harmful. You can put it in a shady indoor place too. This won’t give you any flowers, though!

Warning

The condition in which your Aloe vera would need protection

When it gets too hot, you should consider moving your Aloe vera. Remember that direct sunshine can make your Aloe vera unhealthy and sunburnt.

3. What is the Humidity Requirement of the Aloe vera Plant?

The Aloe vera holds a lot of water, making it easier to survive in low humidity!

During winter, remember to bring your Aloe vera indoors. Do this if the temperature drops below 50°F. Your Aloe vera can freeze since it is so good at staying moist.

4. How Should I Water the Aloe vera Plant?

Deep but infrequent watering is the key to a happy and healthy Aloe vera!

Your Aloe vera plant doesn’t need water too often. The top 1 to 2 inches of soil should be dry before you water it again. Also, the amount of water you give to your Aloe vera depends upon the season and weather conditions.

For Spring and Summer

  • Once in a week is more than enough!
  • Moisture should be average. Neither too high nor too low.

For Autumn and Winter

  • Water in a couple of weeks

Aloe vera retains its water during the winter. If you water it a lot, it will die because of too much moisture.

Signs you’re overwatering your plant:

  • Wilting
  • Leaves getting darker
  • Blistered cells in the leaves

Signs you’re underwatering:

  • Withering
  • Puckering

Pro-tip

Take care of the tiny Aloe vera plants and pups!

Younger aloe plants and pups might need more water. When you propagate them, the soil should be misted. Or else the soil will be too dry for the pups to start making roots.

5. How to Fertilize the Aloe vera Plant?

The only time you should be fertilizing your aloe is during the growing season!

You can set a fertilizing schedule for your Aloe vera. Typically, once a month is enough. Fertilizing the soil may be required in case there is a lot of sand. This is because sand has little organic material. Fertilizer can help keep the moisture and organic activity going on for faster and healthier growth.

If your Aloe vera is in a pot, water it thoroughly before feeding. Fertilizers designed specifically for succulents will work the best.

Warning

Never give too much fertilizer to the Aloe vera.

The Aloe vera is good at keeping its nutrients. All you need to do is take care of the water. A good drenching now and then will eliminate the risk of root damage due to excessive fertilizer.

6. How to Prune the Aloe vera Plant?

Pruning the Aloe vera helps you make use of its wonderful gel. It also helps in keeping your plant proper and healthy!

An Aloe vera needs trimming when the leaves change color. The spike growing on the leaves’ edges may also need to be cut. At most, you would need a spade, scissors, and a pruning knife.

Here’s what you need to trim for a healthier and happier Aloe vera!

  • Any leaves of your Aloe vera that have turned pinkish-brown
  • Any edge spikes that have grown too long

You can also cut off healthy leaves for Aloe vera gel. Make a slice in the middle of the plump leaves, and there you have it!

A sliced Aloe vera leaf showing gel

Did you know you can use the aloe gel in many ways after pruning? You can read on the amazing benefits of Aloe vera here on NCBI.

7. How to Repot the Aloe vera Plant?

You should repot the Aloe vera plant when it has become rootbound or is making too many pups!

Holding an Aloe vera by its soil.

The drainage hole needs to be covered. Before repotting it, make sure all the pups are removed. If your aloe is rootbound, then cut the roots using a knife.

You don’t have to repot your Aloe vera again and again. Only do so when the roots begin to outgrow the plant.

Warning

Things to look out for when repotting!

Make sure your new pot is thoroughly clean. Do not water immediately after repotting. Why? Because the plant was already carrying some moisture from its earlier pot. More water can lead to the plant rotting.

Things You Should Know About the Aloe vera Plant

To make the most out of your Aloe vera, here are a few other things you should know!

1. How to Propagate the Aloe vera Plant?

You can easily propagate the Aloe vera using its pups!

Look at your Aloe vera. You may see tiny babies surrounding the main aloe plant. Just make sure that your Aloe vera pup is between 2-3 inches tall before it can be removed. It would help if you were very careful while removing them.

Here are a few basic steps to follow for better propagation of your Aloe vera.

Removing Aloe vera Pups:

  1. Look out for tiny Aloe veras popping out around the edges of the parent plant.
  2. Next, dive into the soil with your hand.
  3. Use your hand to find the roots of the Aloe vera pup.
  4. Gently remove the pup along with its roots.
  5. Prepare the soil pre-hand with water.
  6. Plant and soil each pup in a new pot.
  7. Don’t water again until the soil is completely drained.

Your pup will start growing in a couple of weeks! If you don’t want to use your hand, you can use shears, scissors, or a sharp knife instead. The shears can be used to separate the aloe pup from the roots of the parent plant.

2. How Toxic is the Aloe vera Plant?

Your Aloe vera is an air purifier, but it is highly toxic if you consume it orally!

You need to keep your Aloe vera out of reach of animals and children. The Aloe vera contains polysaccharides and phenolic chemicals. But what does this mean actually? Eating Aloe vera can result in a variety of conditions. These can range from allergies to diseases.

3. What are common issues with the Aloe vera Plant?

Your Aloe vera can suffer from improper care and pest attacks alike.

An Aloe vera can turn brown or wilt due to many reasons. This happens due to improper sunlight and imbalanced water.

Rotting Root

The root of your Aloe vera can rot if you choose the wrong soil mix. To tackle this issue, you will need to take out your Aloe vera. Never place a dish beneath your aloe plant pot. Drainage will not be as good as it should be and will keep the soil inside the pot moist.

Barely Getting Any Light

Your Aloe vera will begin to die if there is not enough light. Remember never to place an aloe near glass surfaces. When you start to see the leaves bending, shift your Aloe vera to a brighter place. When it gets colder, you will have to move it to a much brighter spot. Also, make sure to rotate your Aloe vera pot a bit, so it gets light evenly.

Sunburns

Your Aloe vera will start turning brown in the case of sunburns. Never put your Aloe vera plant against the glass. A heated-up glass can easily scorch and wither your Aloe vera.

Diseases Caused by Pests

All the above problems give an open invitation to pests! If you see brown spots, it’s a warning sign of pests. Remove any healthy pups as soon as you can. And to prevent pest attacks in the future, keep a good check on water balance.

Conclusion

The Aloe vera needs well-drained soil and medium intensity light. Direct sunshine can cause harm to Aloe veras that grow indoors. Water should be half of the frequency in summer. They are at their best when exposed to temperatures between 55°F to 80°F (13°C to 26°C). Fertilizers should only be used as per schedule during growth season.

Want something more to do with your great Aloe vera plant? You’ll love to read up on these eight awesome Aloe vera recipes!.

8 Best Aloe Vera Recipes. With Step by Step Instructions!

Have you been dying to incorporate aloe vera into your diet or skincare routine? We have you covered! In this ultimate guide you’ll find all the aloe recipes you’ll need to make aloe a staple in your life.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

Posted in:

Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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