Aloe Vera - Expert Tips
How to care for Aloe Vera: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Aloe Vera is a very honoured houseplant among plant parents around the world. The plants are known for their medicinal properties, low maintenance and unique look. Its bright green leaves resemble spikes and are thick and fleshy. It forms a beautiful rosette with its leaves. Aloe Vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant and can grow up to 60-100 cm in height and spread by shoots. Wow!
Aloe Vera's botanical name is Aloe Barbadensis Miller. It is native to Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Today, it is also found in countries around the Mediterranean, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Due to its need to survive extreme heat, the plant produces between 70 to 80 different compounds. Its sap immediately seals the wounds of damaged or cut leaves, which has a coagulating effect. The ancient Egyptians called Aloe Vera the immortality plant. And now we know why!
If you know someone who loves houseplants, then Aloe Vera would be a great gift idea for them. Since this plant is very easy to care for and requires very little maintenance, it is also an excellent choice for beginner plant parents. Moreover, it has medicinal properties, and its gel can soothe sunburns, cuts, and other irritations on the skin.
**Aloe Vera Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully **
- Don't overwater. The roots of Aloe Vera plants are prone to rot, so let the soil dry completely before watering again.
- Provide bright, indirect light. It is best to place your Aloe Vera plant near a window that receives a lot of natural light that is filtered sunlight.
- Be careful with the full sun. Although Aloe Vera plants tolerate sunlight quite well, long-term exposure to too intense sunlight can cause sunburn. It's good to get some sun in the mornings or evenings.
- Use well-draining soil. Aloe Vera plants prefer well-draining soil, so choose soil that includes sand, perlite, or other materials that promote good drainage.
- Fertilise carefully. As Aloe Veras are not heavy feeders, they do not require frequent fertilisation. Fertilise only once or twice per growing season. It can cause leaf burn or other problems if you fertilise too much.
- Watch out for pests. Mealybugs and spider mites can infest Aloe Vera plants. Regularly check your plants for signs of infestation and treat them as needed.
- Trim dead leaves. Aloe Vera plants occasionally produce dead leaves, which can be trimmed off to promote new growth and prevent the spread of disease.
- Avoid moving the plant. Find a place where your Aloe Vera plant can live for a long time without needing to be relocated.
- Allow the plant to go dormant in winter. Aloe Vera plants naturally slow down their growth and water needs in winter, so allow the plant to go dormant and reduce watering during this time.
- Choose a heavy pot. Aloe Vera can grow top-heavy and fall over easily. It will stand up better if you use a heavy pot.
Aloe Vera Care Tips
Light and placement
As a succulent, Aloe Vera needs a bright spot to grow healthy and beautiful foliage. The best place for it is in a bright, indirect area with a bit of morning and evening sunlight. Despite Aloe Vera's ability to tolerate direct sunlight, a full sun spot indoors can be too harsh for it. However, this depends on the intensity of the sunlight in its growing area.
Good to know! Aloe needs time to adjust to its new environment, so don't place it in direct sunlight. It is best to implement this gradually. When your Aloe Vera is in full sun, and you notice browning and yellowing, move it back to another spot with filtered sunlight.
Avoid too shady conditions. Its leaves will survive medium-shade, but they won't be as thick, strong, and beautiful as they would in a brighter area. Plants will grow slowly, have bendy leaves that break easily, and their colour may fade. You can use fluorescents or grow lights if you don't have a bright spot to grow your Aloe Vera.
Aloe Vera needs to be watered carefully. It's easy to overwater it. As your Aloe is used to arid environments, it requires less frequent watering than most houseplants. Water your Aloe Vera only after the whole soil ball has dried completely.
Good to know! Aloe Vera would rather survive a longer dry period than too much moisture. Water is stored in those thick Aloe Vera leaves to withstand long periods of dryness.
Occasionally touch the soil at the bottom of the pot through draining holes, as the soil tends to dry unevenly and be wet there. In the winter, when days are shorter, it will be dormant and require even less water. Generally, Aloe Vera plants should be watered once every 2-3 weeks, but always check the soil moisture level first. Once every two months or once a month in winter.
One of the most common problems with Aloe Vera is overwatering. An overwatered plant will have yellowed or brown leaves, soft or mushy leaves, and an unpleasant odour. If you suspect your Aloe Vera plant is overwatered, read how to treat root rot.
Aloe Vera grows in very poor soil in its natural habitat. Due to this, it can live and thrive without any kind of fertiliser. However, occasional feeding has a positive effect on healthy growth. Just remember, fertiliser should be given at a much lower dosage than suggested. In the growing season, you can feed it PLNTS Nutrition liquid plant food twice for half the dosage.
Aloe Vera tolerates a wide range of temperatures but thrives between 15 and 27°C. If you want to encourage flowering in winter, you can move the plant to a slightly cooler temperature (13-18°C).
Is it safe to take it outside in the summer (Europe)?
Aloe Vera enjoys being outside during the summer in Europe. After the threat of night frost has passed, bring it out and place it in a bright spot. Even though they are not afraid of the sun, they should gradually get used to it. Due to Aloe Vera's succulent nature and adaptation to arid conditions, it may not thrive in areas with high humidity or frequent rain.
The ideal humidity level for Aloe Vera is 30-50%, so it's perfect for homes and offices. When the air humidity is below 20% for an extended period, the tips of the leaves can become brown and crispy.
Aloe Vera prefers to be slightly root bound, so they don't need to be frequently repotted. Repotting your Aloe may be necessary if the plant becomes top-heavy and can't stand alone or if the roots grow out of the pot drainage holes.
Aloe Vera plants grow best in well-draining soil that drains excess water quickly and has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, slightly acidic to neutral. Use PLNTS succulent potting mix kit for great results.
Aloe Vera Flowers
Aloe Vera plants produce tall, slender spikes of tubular flowers that typically bloom in the winter or early spring. Flowers are usually bright yellow or orange, although some varieties may produce pink, red, or white flowers.
In their native African habitat, Aloe Vera plants experience a distinct dry season followed by a wet season, which triggers the plants to bloom. When grown indoors in Europe, Aloe Vera plants may undergo different seasonal changes than they would in their natural environment, which makes it more challenging to activate blooming. The lower light levels in many European homes during winter may also contribute to a lack of blooming.
It is still possible for Aloe Vera plants to bloom with proper care. Just provide adequate light and cool temperatures, and limit watering and fertilising during winter. Make it feel like it is in its natural habitat!
Pruning Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera plants generally tolerate pruning well. Regular pruning promotes new growth and keeps the plant healthy and attractive. Prune all dead and yellowed leaves. You can also control its size with pruning.
Aloe Vera leaves are self-healing, meaning that if you cut or break a leaf, the plant will naturally repair the wound over time. You can safely remove up to one-third of the leaves at a time when pruning your Aloe Vera plant. Cut as close as possible to the plant's stem.
Propagating Aloe Vera
It is possible to propagate Aloe Vera using several methods. Offsets and pups are the most successful methods, but leaf cuttings work well too.
Step-by-step guide on how to propagate Aloe Vera with offsets (pups):
- Look for offsets or "pups" that have grown from the base of the adult Aloe Vera plant. These tiny Aloe babies have developed their roots and a few leaves.
- Carefully remove the whole Aloe plant from its pot.
- Separate the pup from the mother plant with your fingers. Make sure the offset has roots. You can use sharp scissors or a knife if necessary.
- Plant new Aloe baby in a small container or pot filled with well-draining soil. Water it carefully and place the pot in a bright location with indirect sunlight.
As the offset grows, it will develop a healthy root system and new healthy leaves. If it grows larger, you can transplant it into a bigger pot.
Step-by-step guide on how to propagate Aloe Vera with leaf cuttings:
- Select a healthy leaf from the adult Aloe Vera plant. Ensure the leaf is chubby and free from any damage or disease.
- Remove the leaf from the parent plant as close to its base as possible with a sharp knife or pruning scissors.
- Set the cut leaf aside in a warm, dry place for a few days to allow the cut end to dry and form a callus. It prevents rot and infection.
- Fill a small container or pot with well-draining soil and insert the cut end of the leaf into it once the cut end of the leaf has formed a callus (dry, hardened tissue). Plant the leaf deeply enough so that it will remain stable and won't fall over.
- Water it carefully and place the pot in a bright location with indirect sunlight.
New plantlets will grow at the base of your leaf cutting as it grows roots. Keep in mind that leaf cuttings can take longer to propagate than offsets. It can take a few months for the leaf to grow roots and start growing. During this time, be patient and don't disturb the cutting too much!
Most common pest and diseases of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera does not easily suffer from diseases or pests. However, if pests get hold of the Aloe, ensure you combat them as quickly as possible. Visit our PLNTS doctor page to see which pest is bothering your plant and how best to combat it.
Is Aloe Vera toxic for pets or children?
Aloe Vera is toxic to pets and, if not prepared properly, also to humans. It can cause vomiting, for example. It is generally safe to eat the gel inside the Aloe Vera leaf, as well as the skin of the plant. It is, however, essential to wash the skin or the gel thoroughly to remove traces of the latex, which can have unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects.
Buy Aloe Vera online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com, you can buy your new Aloe Vera online. Whether you like your PLNTS big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Aloe Vera online at PLNTS.com.