How To Care For An Aloe Houseplant

  • Put your aloe plant in a pot with sufficient drainage to start. The root ball should be 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the pot.
  • Keep your aloe plant in an area that receives plenty of bright, indirect light. Aloe can burn if exposed to too much light abruptly. If your aloe plant does get sunburned, the green leaves will contrast with a white or light brown discolouration. The hue of the charred leaves will not change.
  • Aloe is susceptible to large temperature changes. Particularly during the winter, keep the plant away from drafty doorways or vents.
  • In between waterings, let the soil dry out. Before watering, check the moisture level of the soil with your finger or a wooden skewer.
  • Aloe develops quite gradually. The plant should be 6 to 8 inches tall and have 10 or more leaves if you intend to collect the leaves for gel. When you’re ready to use some, start with the lowest leaves and work your way up. A leaf cannot regrow once it has been clipped or removed. The plant’s top will always produce new growth. Use the gathered aloe gel to treat sunburns or skin irritations.

Where in my home should I place an aloe vera plant?

Proper illumination is the second most crucial component of aloe vera plant care. When given a lot of light, they grow the fastest.

They will eventually become tall and leggy if they don’t receive enough light. This can be particularly difficult when aloe vera is being grown indoors.

The best location for an indoor aloe plant is near a south-facing window, although they can also thrive under artificial light. You should absolutely purchase a grow light if your home does not receive enough sunlight.

They will grow most effectively under direct sunlight outside. However, they can withstand some shade, particularly in extremely hot conditions.

Best Potting Soil For Aloe Vera Plants

A soil that drains very fast and doesn’t retain water is ideal for aloe vera. You can use a granular mix or a simple succulent potting soil; both work nicely.

In order to save money compared to purchasing the pre-made soil, I prefer to build my own using a combination of perlite or pumice, coarse sand, and standard potting soil.

Is direct sunlight required for aloe plants?

Numerous succulent plant species with thick, spear-shaped leaves are classified as aloes. They can grow with or without a stem and may have teeth or spines to defend their leaves. Only a few species maintain a small enough size to make good houseplants.

Aloes, which are succulents, have developed thick leaves to store water. A thick epidermis and waxy coating that surrounds the leaf also serves as protection; upon closer inspection, this layer reveals a characteristic pattern. These plants’ relatively high internal to exterior area ratios prevent as much water from escaping into the sky. They come from a variety of the less moist habitats, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and islands in the Indian Ocean.

Aloes are adapted to the dry, cold weather that most houseplants in the New York area must endure, but they can be challenging to cultivate indoors since they require such large amounts of sunlight each day. Furthermore, many of the small, aesthetically pleasing aloes bought for the house quickly outgrow the size and form that initially appealed to the customer. Here are some general guidelines for growing aloe indoors successfully in our region.

Light

Many succulent gardeners fall short of providing their plants with the necessary amount of light. Your aloe must be placed in a window where it will get at least six hours of sunshine every day. Your succulent will start to stretch and lose its appealing, compact structure in the absence of prolonged, direct light. As the stem becomes brittle, it could collapse over. (Read more below about Aloe Flop’s other causes, including a lack of light.) Popular dwarf aloe Aloe variegata, sometimes known as partridge aloe, prefers direct exposure to bright sunlight.

Artificial lights should be considered, either alone or in combination with natural light, if the sunlight coming through your sunniest window is insufficient. Good results can be obtained by placing a white fluorescent light 6 to 12 inches above the plant. Artificial light must be provided for at least 14 to 16 hours each day and cannot be as strong as daylight. (Click on the Needles + Leaves link for more information on selecting an artificial light for your succulent plant.)

Water

The most common reason for succulent failure is too much water, therefore you must water your aloe carefully. The time of year should affect your irrigation schedule. Winter (October through February) is known for its low levels of light, so you should typically only water when absolutely required to keep the soil from drying out completely. Your plant enjoys prolonged dry conditions and is not currently in an active growth phase.

Water the plant thoroughly, letting the water run from the pot’s bottom, then checking back after 15 minutes to remove any water that has accumulated in the tray. Water more regularly when the number of daylight hours rises and the plant resumes active development, but continue to wait until the soil is almost completely dry before adding more water. Because of their thin roots, succulents are readily damaged by overwatering. They don’t require humidity to thrive, thus misting is not recommended. Keep water from collecting in the plant’s leaf rosette.

Some aloes might develop brown spots as a result of fluoride sensitivity. If at all feasible, use filtered or rainwater.

Temperature

With the temperatures that can be achieved in homes in the New York region, succulents are content. Temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day are tolerable. For optimum growth, succulents need a temperature swing of at least 10 degrees from day to night.

Your house is a microclimate in itself. In the winter, locations near windows may be sunny, but they are also cool (usually 10 degrees colder than the center of the room). In comparison to the rest of the room and the home, a south-facing window warms up more during the day in the summer. For the best plant placement in your home, research the microclimates. Plants may need to be relocated to their most cozy spot for the season. A cooled aloe that is left on a chilly window sill or in a draft can turn discolored.

Soil and Potting

The soil and container you choose for your aloe have a big impact on how healthy it is. These plants are susceptible to unexpected mortality from moisture that becomes trapped around their tiny root systems. You need a draining hole in the bottom of your pot. A succulent’s natural habitat’s loose, well-draining soil composition should be modeled after the optimum soil. The ideal ratio is usually equal parts potting soil, peat, and sand. Commercial cactus mixes are fine, if not ideal, and widely accessible; nevertheless, stay away from combinations that include food. To keep fleshy leaves from getting wet and rotting, cover the soil’s surface with perlite or coarse sand. Repot older plants in July or August. Set the plant no deeper into the potting soil than it has been in its previous container; doing so will cause the stem to decay.

Succulent plants are commonly offered together in shallow pots as a tiny garden, however these conditions might not be good for your plants. The shallow containers are typically missing the bottom hole required for survival and are often chosen for aesthetic appeal rather than drainage. Different plants develop at different rates and require different quantities of moisture; frequently, one plant will dominate the others and finally suffocate them. Not the attractive scene you anticipated when you bought your little garden!

If you have a grouping like this, watch it carefully and remove any plants that are underperforming or taking over the group. They might require both a new place and a pot of their own. If your miniature garden doesn’t have a drainage hole, you could choose to repot the plants in a container that will increase their chances of surviving. Use caution while transplanting because the roots are sensitive.

Nutrition

Nutritional therapy only needs to be minimal. Only feed aloes during their growing season (March through September). It is recommended to feed a balanced organic houseplant food once every month to three months at half strength. Avoid using any plant food with a high nitrogen content.

Winter Rest Period

It’s crucial to recognize when your succulents aren’t actively growing and to give them a break. Most succulents require less water, food, and temperature from October through February, but direct sunlight should still be present.

Aloe flop

is a frequent issue that may occur for a number of causes. Some aloes simply have a propensity of growing that keeps them fanning out or low to the ground in their natural habitat, which resembles a collapse when it occurs to your houseplant. When your plant reaches a height of about a foot before starting to topple over the side of the container, you may be witnessing your plant’s natural form if you are growing Aloe brevifolia (short-leaved aloe) or another aloe with a stem covered in leaves.

As the numerous plants outgrow the surface of the pot, clump-forming aloes may extend over the sides of the container. As they grow older, some aloes take on a shape that differs from what you might have anticipated based on the immature appearance of your plant. A mature Aloe vera plant will naturally have some of its older, outside leaves droop and sprawl away from the plant’s center. You shouldn’t attempt to change your plant’s behavior because it will continue to grow in this manner.

Aloe flop can also happen if your plant is not getting enough sunlight, which prevents the leaves or stem from growing in the attractive upright form you want. The leaves will appear extended, flattened, and limp.

Overwatering or damp soil, especially in the winter, is a third, frequently occurring cause of an aloe to sag. Water only when necessary during the winter’s low light (October through February) to keep the soil from drying up completely. Check that you have the proper, quick-draining soil and that your container has an unblocked drainage hole because, despite your best efforts to limit watering, moist soil and the accompanying root rot can still happen. Overwatered leaves will appear fragile and faded.

If your aloe is tipping over, consider the following:

  • Does your plant receive a minimum of six hours a day of bright, direct sunlight?
  • Are you using less water in the winter and growing your aloe in a container with drainage and loose, free-draining soil rather than letting it languish in a dish of runoff?
  • Is it a form of aloe with leaves covering the stem that naturally grows in this shape after growing to a height of about a foot if it receives enough sunlight and the watering regimen is proper? It’s possible that you are only viewing the adult version of those plants, as well as many other varieties of aloe. Only a kind of dwarf aloe will maintain its tiny size over time.

Mealy Bugs

can bury themselves in the roots or conceal themselves in the plant rosette. Using an alcohol-soaked cotton swab, dab any that you see manually. Check the plant frequently for new insects.

Should I prune my aloe plant’s brown tips?

If the tips of your aloe vera plant’s leaves are becoming brown, you might be considering trimming them off.

Finding the root of the issue as soon as you can is a good idea because brown tips on an aloe vera plant are an indication of a deeper issue.

You can remove the browning tips of your aloe vera plant without causing any damage to the plant. It won’t hurt your plant to leave the brown tips on if dryness is the problem. If they have a fungal infection, you should get rid of them.

What does an aloe plant look like when it is overwatered?

Despite being succulents, aloe vera plants do not prefer to grow in an abundance of water. The water that leaves store gives them their attractive buffy appearance. Aloe leaves that shrivel and become yellow indicate a problem, usually overwatering. What is the best way to rescue an overwatered aloe vera plant?

Mushy leaves, yellowing, soft stems and foliage, and browning of the plant’s tips are indications of an overwatered aloe plant. Mold may also develop in the soil. Remove the aloe plant from the pot, remove any decaying roots, and then repot it in fresh potting soil to prevent overwatering.

A key indicator of overwatering is a rotting aloe plant. Prior to keeping the soil moist, wait a few days to water to give the plant time to recover. Aloe vera plants should only be watered until the top inch of soil is dry; otherwise, you risk overwatering your succulent.

How can I tell if my aloe plant is in trouble?

  • Symptoms. Aloe vera leaves have a delicate texture and change color to yellow, brown, or translucent.
  • Causes. Root rot can be caused by overwatering, using soils that don’t drain well, and using pots without adequate drainage holes in the base.

Aloe vera is a drought-resistant succulent that has adapted to flourish in its original habitat of Oman in the Arabian peninsula, where conditions include full sun, stony, well-draining soil, and infrequent rainfall.

Using a gritty, well-draining potting soil and watering only after the soil has dried out completely are crucial steps in effectively growing aloe vera and preventing the leaves from turning color.

Too much moisture around the roots from frequent watering or placing your aloe in potting soil that is left damp for too long may be too much for this desert plant to handle.

As a result, water stress causes the aloe vera leaves to turn yellow, brown, or translucent with mushy leaves.

However, it’s crucial to remember that aloe vera becomes dormant and stops growing in the summer as a defense against drought, so they need less watering then.

(Read my article on how to water aloe vera to ensure you’re watering your plant properly during the summer and winter as aloe’s water needs change throughout the year.)

Additionally, it’s crucial to put your aloe in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom so that any excess water can drain and the dirt surrounding the roots doesn’t stay damp, which prevents root rot.