Is Aloe Vera an Indoor or Outdoor Plant?

It is no surprise that the popular succulent, Aloe vera, is frequently grown in homes due to its eye-catching visuals and exceptional healing abilities. No matter where you choose to grow this enchanting plant, inside or in your garden, it will undoubtedly become your favorite succulent. However, there arises a question; is it more beneficial to cultivate aloe indoors or outdoors?

An aloe vera plant can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. People with appropriate weather conditions can grow aloe outside, while people with cooler microclimates should grow aloe as a houseplant.

Although aloe vera is one of the plants requiring minimum care, it is important to consider a few things before growing. Here is an insight into aloe vera’s required growing conditions that will help you know whether you should plant it indoors or outdoors:

Aloe Vera Ideal Growing Conditions

If you are unable to pick the ideal spot for your new aloe plant, you should first know about the growing conditions that these plants demand. Once you have an idea of what an aloe vera plant needs in order to thrive, you will be able to decide whether you should position your aloe vera planter inside or in your garden.

aloe vera cover image

Aloe vera can do quite well, even with minimal moisture. Being drought-tolerant, aloe is also a great option for xeriscapes. They also need bright and full sun for around 7 to 8 hours a day to thrive. However, it is better to protect them from harsh sun rays during noon as it can cause sunburn. You can check out this blog to know exactly how much sun an aloe vera plant needs.

What Soil Conditions Does Aloe Prefer?

Aloe vera usually prefers poor, sandy soil that drains well. Also, frequent irrigation would not be a concern. Moreover, you might have to avoid watering your aloe plant for a while as too much water can harm the plant.

Aloe vera plants are susceptible to root rot. So, you need to ensure the soil has dried out before you water again. Usually, an aloe vera plant must be watered every fortnight during summer.

To allow the water to drain off, you can place the planter on gravel. Also, ensure that the plant receives enough sunshine and warmth. If your area gets significant rain, you should consider placing the planter indoors or moving it to a covered porch.

However, if you live in an area with a cooler climate, you should still use your aloe vera as a houseplant. This is because aloe vera is not frost-tolerant and chilling temperatures can harm the plant. But there are a few alpine varieties that you can get that have cold tolerance. So, if you wish to grow aloe vera outdoors, you can consider these variants.

Leaving Aloe Outside During Colder Weather

Aloe vera is not frost-tolerant and cannot withstand chilling temperatures, but there are alpine varieties that have cold tolerance to nearly freezing. Different varieties thrive in different climates and regions. So, do your research before you pick your aloe vera plant.

What should you do if you leave your Aloe outside and it freezes? Well, this article will show you how to deal with this situation.

For a full How to Grow Aloe Vera Care Guide, then check out this article I wrote recently

No matter where you grow your aloe vera, your plant will thrive if you offer it exactly its needs. To grow aloe vera easily, here is a video highlighting 6 tips that will definitely help you.

Growing Aloe Vera Outdoors

aloe vera in garden

As mentioned before, aloe vera usually only thrives in climates and regions suitable for their growth. Thus, growing an aloe plant outside of its recommended zone can be really tricky.

However, planting them in a pot can make things much easier as you can simply move your plant inside when the weather changes.

But people living in regions with milder climates are lucky as they can grow a wide range of aloe vera plants in their gardens. If you are looking for a variant that does not need much care, you should go for aloe forex or aloe arborescens as they are quite hardy and thrive even in moist temperate zones.

Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you grow aloe vera plants outdoors:

Pick the Right Location

aloe plants getting plenty of sunshine

A big part of your job is done when you get the right spot for your aloe plant. Your plant would not require much special care if you placed it in an ideal location. You need to be sure that the spot receives plenty of sun and that the soil is gritty and loose.

If the plant requires protection from the cold weather, move the planter inside. You can also consider spreading a layer of mulch around the root base to protect the roots from frost.

Once the weather returns to normal, gradually expose the plant to sunlight. During summers, if the sun seems too harsh, use a shade cloth to avoid sunburn.  

Amend the Soil

You should consider amending your soil if you are growing aloe vera plants in the ground. Aloe vera thrives in poor soil, but it should also offer good drainage.

For better drainage, you can install raised beds. This is also a great way to confine your aloe vera plant as they may quickly spread in your garden.

You can use compost, perlite, or sand with weathered pumice to amend your soil if you have heavy clay soil. Aloe vera does well if offered a pH level between 7.0 and 8.5. So, if the pH level of the soil in your garden is higher, then followthis article to reduce the pH level of your soil naturally.

Plant the Pups

Once you have picked a spot and prepared the soil, it is time to get your hands dirty. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the aloe pup’s roots.

Then, fill the hole with water and allow the soil to absorb it all. You can place the pup’s roots in the hole when the water is drained completely.

Now, gently spread the planting mix around the plant and compress lightly with your hands. You can then add a layer of gravel to the soil, which will act as mulch and hold the pup in place.

Water and Fertilize

watering an aloe vera plant

Aloe vera does not require a lot of water. So, water the pup only when the soil feels dry to a depth of around an inch. If you grow aloe in a pot, water the plant until it drains from the hole beneath it. But when you are growing aloe vera in your garden bed, allow the soil to soak up the water and do not water until the soil feels dry again.

Aloe vera does not really require fertilizer when grown in the garden. But fertilizing can be considered for potted aloe plants during the spring season.

However, you should water the plant first to avoid burning the roots of the plant. You can add diluted 10-40-10 water-soluble fertilizer by one-half to the container until it drains from the pot’s holes.

Growing Aloe Vera Indoors

Aloe vera can be grown as a houseplant for people living in colder regions. Place it outdoors only during the summer when it gets enough sun and warmth. Here is a step-by-step guide for growing aloe plants indoors:

Choose the Right Pot

aloe vera in a pot

Drainage holes are important when picking a planter for aloe vera plants as they do not like a lot of moisture and can cause root rot. Be sure to pick the one with at least one large drainage hole.

Pick the Right Location

Aloe vera loves sunshine. So, be sure to place your pots near a window for the plants to get enough indirect sunlight. Usually, south or west-facing windows are the best spots as they do not get a lot of bright and direct sunlight can cause the aloe leaves to burn.

So how much sun does Aloe Vera require? Well, I answer that in detail here.

Also, ensure that you keep rotating the pot every now and then to ensure all sides receive sunlight evenly. Besides this, try to maintain a room temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Have an Irrigation Schedule

Whether you are growing aloe indoors or outdoors, the irrigation schedule more or less remains the same. You want the soil to dry out before watering it again, which takes a couple of weeks or even more during winter.  

Consider Fertilizing

As mentioned earlier, aloe vera usually does not need fertilizing. However, applying fertilizer on occasion can really help the plant thrive and grow healthier. So, if you witness that your aloe plant does not look as healthy as it should be, consider fertilizing. You can fertilize during mid-spring with the help of a water-soluble liquid fertilizer that is specifically formulated for houseplants.

Know When to Repot

Based on their variety, Aloe usually does not require repotting and can grow in the same planter for around 5 years. However, repotting your aloe plant into a bigger pot is important to allow it to grow better. It is known that confined to a pot; aloe plants will only grow to a height of 1 to 2 feet. So, it is time to repot when you observe that your aloe plant is a little too big for the pot or is top-heavy.

Repot your plant into a pot that is 2-inch larger in diameter. Since aloe vera has shallow roots, pick a planter that is wider rather than deeper. Also, a clay pot would be a better option as they are heavy and would prevent the plant from tipping over.

Benefits of Growing Aloe Vera Indoors Benefits of Growing Aloe Vera Outdoors
Vibrant Flowers:
Aloe vera plants that are grown indoors do not get a lot of sunlight which is necessary for the plant to produce flowers. So, if you wish to see some gorgeous blossoms in your garden, you should consider growing your aloe plant outdoors.
Enhances Ambience:
Growing aloe vera as a houseplant can instantly brighten up your space. It can add an aesthetic appeal to your home and give it a rejuvenating vibe.
Improves Air Quality:
Aloe vera is also known to purify the air indoors. Also, it clears formaldehyde and benzene, which is a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners and paints making the environment a lot healthier and fresher.
Vibrant Flowers:
Aloe vera plants that are grown indoors do not get a lot of sunlight that is necessary for the plant to produce flowers. So, if you wish to see some gorgeous blossoms in your garden, you should consider growing your aloe plant outdoors.

Aloe vera is great to use as an indoor plant; it not only brings structure, color and interest to a room but could Aloe Vera also help clean the air in your home?

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does an Aloe Vera Plant Live?

Aloe vera can live up to 12 years with proper care and attention to the plant. Similar to other succulents, aloe vera plants also tend to grow gradually. This is because they also reserve water and nutrients while growing. So, it generally takes 3 to 4 years for an aloe vera plant to reach its full size. It usually grows up to 18 inches.

Can Aloe Vera Get Too Much Sun?

Aloe vera plants do well in sunlight. However, a lot of direct and harsh sun rays can damage the leaves, which can cause browning of the aloe leaves.

What Does an Overwatered Aloe Vera Plant Look Like?

If your aloe plant is getting too much water, the stem may appear soft and mushy. This is because the stem issues are retaining excessive moisture.

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In Summary

Growing an aloe vera plant can be an amazing experience. Not only will it add a sense of charm to your place, it will also bring incredible medicinal benefits. So, are you ready to grow aloe vera in your home?

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