Aloe vera plants are versatile and easy plant to grow. However, to keep them healthy and thrive over time, it’s best to get a good idea of their care and maintenance needs. To get an idea of what you need to have a thriving aloe plant, these are the aloe vera plant care basics to keep in mind.
Aloe Vera prefers dry conditions with well-draining soil. Such as cactus mix, or add plenty of perlite to normal potting soil to achieve this. Aloe Vera requires a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. When watering, water deeply and saturate the soil, and do not water again until the soil has completely dried out. When feeding, select a feed high in phosphorus, something like 10-40-12.
Aloe Vera Plant Care Needs
Lighting requirements for Aloe Vera
Aloe vera plants don’t need a lot of light so just 2-3 hours a day is all that’s required. It’s best to avoid any harsh sunlight, especially from the hot afternoon sun. Consider moving your plant to an area where it will enjoy bright light in the morning but less light when the weather turns hot. They do best when they’re kept out of the strong sun.
You can grow aloe indoors or outdoors, but they tend to do best indoors when they have a south or west light exposure. If they’re not getting the sun that they need, the leaves on the plant will start to droop. It’s also a good idea to rotate an indoor plant every six months to get enough light to grow straight.
How much water does Aloe Vera require
Aloe is a succulent that stores water in the leaves and roots. They are prone to getting root rot if the soil mix is too wet. Regardless of where you’re growing the aloe, you want it to dry out completely before watering.
In the hotter summer months, it’s usually best to water the aloe every 7-14 days. When the plant loses less moisture in the winter months, it may only need water once a month.
However, since aloe plant water needs can vary depending on their environment and size, it’s best to keep an eye on the soil. Don’t water the plant until the soil is dry to the touch for the best results.
Best potting soil for Aloe Vera
Not all soil types are good for aloe plants. The soil that they grow best in will be soil that drains well and is aerated to avoid rotting roots. The aloe roots require oxygen, and when they have too much water, they can’t access the oxygen well.
A succulent and cactus potting mix is usually best for aloe plants. If you’re concerned that your soil mix may need additional help with the drainage and aeration, you can also use pumice or perlite to get a similar effect.
The ideal temperature to keep Aloe Vera
In general, an aloe vera plant can tolerate a moderate climate. For the average home, they tend to do fine as long as you don’t keep your home too hot or very cold.
A lack of humidity can be a concern for other houseplants, but the aloe vera plant does best in dry air, so a home without humidity is best. If you live in a humid area, keeping the plant in a room with a dehumidifier may be best.
How to feed and fertilize Aloe Vera
When it comes to feeding the aloe, it doesn’t have many requirements. Like most succulents, fertilizing isn’t necessary, but a small amount of worm castings or compost isn’t a bad idea.
You can also use a standard balanced houseplant fertilizer at half strength in the spring months. Don’t overdo the feeding since this can actually damage the plant.
It’s also best to avoid feeding in the winter months as this is the dormant period for the aloe.
Removing and Replanting the Aloe
Mature aloe plants will produce offsets which may be known as plantlets. These can be removed and discarded, or you may remove them to produce an entirely new plant. This is a great idea if you want to have more plants for your own home or give them to others.
To do this well, find out where the offsets are attached and separate them using a sharp blade. Scissors or a sharp knife can both be used. Make sure that the offset has at least an inch of stem.
You can then leave the offsets to sit out of the soil for a few days. This time will allow them to grow a callous over-the-cut area that protects the plant from rotting. Please keep it in a warm spot away from direct light for this time.
Once you notice that the offsets have callouses, plant them in a standard succulent potting mix. Make sure you use well-draining soil. The newly potted offsets can be placed in a sunny location. Wait a week to water and keep the soil on the dryer side as they grow.
Encouraging Aloe Vera to flower
Mature aloe plants will occasionally flower. This tall flower spike will create dozens of yellow or red blossoms; this is a beautiful occurrence for the plant. It’s challenging to encourage the houseplant aloe to flower since they require almost ideal conditions to produce flowers.
They need a fair amount of light, adequate water, and the right temperature range. They typically only produce flowers when grown outdoors in a warm climate.
However, if you want your aloe to flower, you can encourage the aloe by providing good conditions. However, keep in mind that while you may be having a healthy aloe plant, flowering is much more challenging.
- Increase light provision- during the spring and summer months, the aloes can be kept outdoors when the temperature is above 70 degrees.
- If it’s going to be below 60˚F at night, bring the Aloe Vera indoors. It’s going to need some time to adjust to being outdoors, though, so start by keeping the aloe in the shade outdoors and then move it to a brighter location after a week.
- Check water content- If keeping the plant outdoors, it may be more challenging to monitor the water content. Ensure that it’s getting rain periodically, or water yourself if you’re going through a dry spell.
- Give it a dormancy period- during the fall and winter months, Aloe Vera will be dormant. Giving them a period of rest during the fall and winter months. They tend to bloom in the later winter or early spring, so giving them a period of less frequent watering and colder temperatures will encourage flowering.
Pruning the Aloe Vera for the best growth
Pruning Aloe Vera is straightforward. Prune off withered and damaged leaf tips allowing the cut to heal and dry. When pruning to use the leaves in products of for cuts, it is best to remove the entire leaf. Manage the plant’s size by removing old large leaves and putting them to use. You can remove any offshoots of baby Aloe Veras from the mother plant.
Aloes don’t need much work when it comes to pruning. It’s best to prune off the old flower stalks as they wither and remove the fleshy leaves. You can also cut a leaf if you want to use part of it for aloe vera gel. Most people prefer to remove the whole leaf when using.
How to prevent pests attacking Aloe Vera
Although aloe is a hardy plant, it is susceptible to certain diseases and pests. Aloe vera is most susceptible to mealybugs and scale.
You can wipe off the mealybugs with a cotton swab that’s been soaked in alcohol and water. Make sure to check the crevices of the leaves as the bugs tend to hide in the crevices of the plant.
This alcohol and water solution won’t harm the plant and can be used as needed when you notice bugs present.
Scale can be removed in the same manner or scraped off gently with a dull knife. It’s best to keep an eye on the aloe and take note of any concerns. The only additional problem that aloe may experience is root rot.
This tends to occur when the aloe is planted in non-draining soil or has been overwatered. The aloe will start to die slowly, and the leaves will turn brown. Repot the aloe in a draining soil and then make sure to avoid overwatering.
Harvesting and using Aloe Vera leaves
The leaves of the aloe are both decorative and useful. Although it’s best to avoid using the leaves when the plant is small, they can be harvested and used for various purposes. People will use the leaves for burn gel, recipes, and general beauty and health needs.
When harvesting the leaves, make sure that the plant has good growth. Take off the entire leave at the base with a sharp knife. A clean knife or pruning shears are best.
You can cut the leaves with the inner sections used for gel. Any unused parts of the leaves can be stored in a refrigerated environment and saved for a few days until used.
Slit the spike of the leaf lengthwise and then scoop out the contents with a spoon. This can be stored as well until ready for use.
How to keep Aloe Vera healthy
Aloe is a popular choice for home gardeners due to its hardiness and tolerance of rare watering. They do best when planted in a terra cotta plant with a well-draining dirt mix. Aloe plants are also heavy, so they do best with a heavy pot to avoid tipping.
Please place them in a sunny spot and keep an eye on them for the best results. In general, following this guide to aloe vera care when it comes to your plant will keep them healthy and growing well over time.
Conclusion on taking care of Aloe Vera
As you can see, Aloe Vera has many benefits but are relatively easy to take care of, providing you follow such simple fundamental tasks and basic care. They are an ideal plant to keep in the house or outside and have beautiful architectural design features.
Everyone should own at least one of these plants. If you found value in this blog post, please consider sharing and subscribing to future articles.