Aloe Vera Plant Care | Caring For An Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe Vera Plant Care

Aloe Vera Plant Care | How to Care For Aloe Vera

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Aloe vera is a great plant to grow indoors, and out. It’s very easy to grow, being drought tolerant, and low maintenance. Learning how to care for an aloe vera plant is simple.

You might notice there are a few different types of aloe. Like many other living things on this planet, aloe comes in a couple of different shapes, colors (shades of green), and sizes. When it comes to growing aloe vera they pretty much all like the same growing conditions.

Helpful Supplies For Aloe Vera Plant Care

Succulent Tool Kit
Terra-Cotta Pots
Succulent Potting Soil

Aloe Vera Plant Care

Caring for aloe is pretty simple. It loves a nice little sunny window. Or it can be placed in direct sunlight. However, an aloe plant like most other plants, must be hardened before going out into direct sunlight. Do this by placing it on a covered porch for about a week, before exposure.

Watering Aloe Vera Plants

Watering an aloe vera is easy, but a little tricky. Many sources say to water once every 3 weeks. I don’t find this to be true. I tried this method and my aloes were turning brown and shriveling.

The trick to watering aloe is waiting until it’s completely dry before you water it again. Depending on the size of the planter, type of soil, lighting, and temperature this can be anywhere from once a week to once every three weeks.

To help you determine when it’s completely dry, you can use a hygrometer, or just stick your finger in the soil and see if it’s dry.

Daily Aloe Vera Plant Care

For daily aloe vera plant care, we need to make sure aloe vera gets a proper amount of sun. In the summer this comes easy, aloe can be placed in a sunny window, or conditioned to be outside.

Aloe only needs to be watered about once every week to every three weeks. A nice slow, deep watering, in a planter that has a drainage hole, and well-draining soil will do aloe some good. However, do not allow the aloe to sit in water!

Aloe doesn’t do well with dramatic temperature changes. Most plants need to be acclimated to the bright sun, and the different temperatures when bringing them from indoors to outdoors.

Acclimating plants is usually pretty easy. Place them on a covered porch out of direct sunlight for a week, before placing them in the direct sun rays.

During the colder months, it’s important to bring your potted aloe vera inside. Try to find a sunny window to place the aloe vera in, that’s not too drafty.

My windows are drafty, so if it’s super cold outside at night I remove them from the windowsills. If it’s cold during the day, you can place the aloe on a table near a sunny window.

Planting Tips

Choose a good planter or pot. Terra-cotta helps the soil to dry out between watering since it’s porous. It’s also beneficial to use terra-cotta because it’s heavy enough to keep from toppling over.

As a bonus, many terra-cotta pots have drainage holes.

Drainage holes are important to help keep out excess water.

You can also plant aloe vera in a plastic or ceramic container.

Gravel, and other drainage mediums don’t need to be added to the planter. The drainage hole in your planter is enough. Adding gravel will take up viable space, that could be used by root growth.

Monthly Aloe Vera Plant Care

Fertilizer

Use a fertilizer specifically designed for succulents. I like EarthPods because they are pet, child, eco-friendly + 100% sustainably made in the USA.

Fertilizer should typically be applied once monthly. No more.

However, you don’t have to apply fertilizer to aloe vera. If given enough water and sunlight, and not too much of either, it will usually do pretty well.

Yearly Aloe Vera Plant Care

Leggy Aloe | Top Heavy Aloe

When aloe isn’t getting enough sunlight, it does what most plants do, it reaches for the sun. For aloe, this can be a problem, with those big heavy leaves.

Leggy example of aloe vera plant

If your aloe is toppling over, it needs to be repotted.

  • Remove the aloe from the pot, and break up the dirt around the roots, very gently.
  • Add 1/3 of the soil back into the planter or pot. Then, place the aloe in the planter, while adding more soil around it.
  • You want the bottom leaves to touch the surface of the soil.
  • Leave a 3/4 inch headspace at the top of the planter, to give water the room to absorb, instead of pouring out of the rim and making a mess.
  • Find a sunnier spot for the aloe, or place it outside under a covered porch for a week, where it can receive plenty of indirect sunlight. After that week, you can place it in direct sunlight if the temperatures are below 90ºF. If the temperatures are super high, keep it out of direct sunlight.

Some sources say that you can cut off a leggy stem if it’s really bad or wonky. However, they warn that it will most likely kill the plant entirely. So this method isn’t a very good one. If you want to save the aloe, try to follow the repotting instructions and see if that helps.

If the stem is too wonky, and top heavy it may end up lying down. Getting a larger planter so that it can lie down comfortably in the soil. The plant should be fine as long as the roots stay put in the soil. the aloe may look a little strange laying over, but eventually if placed in a sunny enough window, it should thrive in it’s own funky little way.

Troubleshoot More Common Issues With The Aloe Vera Plant – Aloe turning brown, white, or shriveling. All of these are common issues. Click below to learn how to deal with them!

Replanting Aloe That’s Outgrown It’s Planter/Pot

You may need to replant an aloe every once in a while, maybe once a year. When it gets too big for its container, you’ll need to buy a larger planter and replant it.

  1. Wash the new planter with mild soap. Set aside to dry.
  2. Remove aloe from the original planter carefully as to not damage any roots. Break up the dirt around the roots gently.
  3. Add 1/3 of the soil back into the planter or pot. Then, place the aloe in the planter, while adding more soil around it.
  4. You want the bottom leaves to touch the surface of the soil.
  5. Leave a 3/4 inch headspace at the top of the planter, to allow water the room to absorb, instead of pouring out of the rim and making a mess.
  6. Don’t water the aloe for about a week after replanting. This will allow it to put out some roots, to provide stability, before watering.

What To Do With Aloe Vera Pups

When repotting an aloe that has pups, you can choose to keep the pups with it, or you can separate them from the mother. Propagating aloe by separating the pups is a great way to multiply your aloe vera plants!

How to Get an Aloe to Flower

Yep, you heard that right, aloes are a flowering succulent, believe it or not. We rarely ever see a flowering aloe vera, because the conditions have to be just right.

Aloe vera flowers are tall and spikey-looking, yet very beautiful. The flower is called an inflorescence. There are several yellow or red tubular blossoms on the flower itself.

Flowering aloe vera

Aloes kept as houseplants don’t usually flower since it has very particular needs. To flower, an aloe needs sufficient light, water, and the perfect temperature. The most important of these being light.

To Get An Aloe To Flower

Aloe vera flowers usually bloom in late winter or early spring. Since they like warmer temperatures, you should be located somewhere tropical during the winter.

Flowering aloe vera

Light: During the spring and summer, the aloe needs to get as much light as possible. When the temperatures are 70ºF or higher, the aloe should be kept outdoors in a sunny location.

Note: If it gets super hot like above 90ºF you may want to put it in indirect sunlight to avoid the leaves turning yellow or brown.

Another note: Plants need to be acclimated when moving from indoors to outdoors. The bright sun is kind of shocking when you’ve been in a dark room right, your eyes need time to adjust. The same kind of thing happens with plants, they need to adjust to the brighter light and the hotter temps. Place on a covered porch for about a week to acclimate plants.

Water: Rain, can be an issue. It’s super rainy you should probably bring the aloe indoors. When it’s not raining, make sure to water the aloe slowly and deeply. Don’t water again until it’s completely dry. Grab a hydrometer so you can know when to water.

In the winter, aloe needs even less water. Watering less frequently can give the aloe a period of rest that can aid in the production of flowering.

Dealing With Pests & Common Diseases on Aloe Vera

Common Pest and diseases that can affect the aloe vera plant:

  • mealybugs
  • scale
  • root rot
  • soft rot
  • fungal stem rot
  • leaf rot

Many of the common diseases can be avoided by not overwatering your plant.

To Deal With Mealybugs and Scale

Add rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab, and simply touch a mealybug and it should die. You will have to apply the alcohol to each mealybug, and probably for several days before the infestation has been knocked out.

Mealybugs like to play hide and seek. You can find them around the edges of the planter, and even on the bottom of the planter. Make sure to inspect each leaf, the base, and the stem of the plant.

Also, check any other indoor plants, since the mealybug probably likes them too.

Harvesting Aloe

Note: Some people have bad reactions to using aloe vera externally or internally. If you’re allergic to aloe vera, don’t use it!

Aloe can go bad very quickly. Only harvest as much as you need.

To harvest an aloe leaf, use a sharp knife to cut it as close to the trunk as possible. Place the leaf on a flat surface, and allow the yellowy latex fluid to escape. This fluid is different from the coveted gel. It probably doesn’t smell too great.

Harvest the gel by running a knife along the spiney edge. You want to basically skin one side of the aloe vera. You can use a fillet knife to filet the aloe gel much like you would a fish. Or you can use a spoon and sort of scoop it out.

Then, you can use the gel as you wish.

In Summary

Aloe Vera is a wonderful plant and is not only giving but forgiving! Caring for an aloe vera plant is pretty simple, especially when you understand what it needs.

Good luck and if you have any questions please let me know!

More Aloe Vera Posts

Benefits of Aloe Vera
Homemade Hand Sanitizer (using aloe)
Baby Wipes Recipe (uses aloe)
How to Propagate Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Turning Brown and Soft, shriveling or turning white (troubleshooting guide for aloe vera)

Garden Pest Control

Fighting insects in the garden is not my favorite past-time. I’m pretty sure they think that the “human” planted them a buffet. Besides, we live in the woods, and there are a million insects out here just ready to devour my garden. Even so, I’m fighting back, I’m not laying down! Therefore, I put together…

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Aloe vera plant care

Resources:

https://www.almanac.com/plant/aloe-vera
https://getbusygardening.com/how-to-kill-mealybugs/

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