So slow growing! Right?!? No worries with a few tips we can get your aloe plant growing and better yet – thriving! In the post, How to Make Your Aloe Plant Grow Bigger (Plus Plant Care Tips) I share all you need to know about proper care for your aloe plant to get it growing bigger.
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About Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe Vera can be grown indoors or outside in warmer climates. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on indoor aloe vera plant care. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) is a popular plant with some pretty cool health benefits. This plant is easily recognized as succulent plant by its thick fleshy leaves. Aloe plants are known as a medicinal plant and are great for healing minor burns and soothing sunburns. Just break off a leaf and apply to your skin – although I would try a small patch test first. When made into a juice it has many additional benefits, you can read more about these benefits and making aloe juice in this post, The Benefits of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice from the Cleveland Clinic. Another great benefit of growing aloe vera as a houseplant is that it helps to purify the air in our homes. So what is not to love about this plant?
Growth Rate of Aloe Vera
Indoor aloe vera is fairly easy to care for but has a notoriously slow growth rate in comparison to other indoor plants. In fact, aloe vera plants grown indoors can take up to 4 years to grow from an aloe vera pup (baby plants) to a full-grown plant with mature leaves of around 8-10 inches in length. However, aloe is actually a pretty fast growing plant compared to other succulents. So the answer to this question is – it’s all relative! Below are some care tips to help you get the best out of your aloe plant!
Aloe Vera Plant Care Tips
Now that I have you thinking about growing aloe, let’s dive in on how best to care for this popular houseplant. As with all indoor plants, proper care is essential to keep your indoor aloe plant thriving!
Choosing the Right Pot
The best pot for aloe vera is a terracotta pot (clay pot) or ceramic pot that is at least 2 inches wider then the width of the plant. Terracotta is breathable which will allow the soil to dry out efficiently between watering. Aloe Vera plants need good drainage so for best results choose a pot with drainage holes.
The Best Soil For your Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe Vera is a succulent so be sure to use a good succulent or cactus soil. Regular potting mix will hold too much water for this lover of fast-draining soil. Most succulent potting soil includes coarse sand, perlite, lava rock and/or chunks of bark.
How Often to Water
Water aloe vera plants deeply, but infrequently. Avoid giving it too much water to discourage root rot. Like all succulent plants, don’t let your plant sit in water. Pots with drainage holes are helpful in keeping the soil from getting too moist. A good rule of thumb is to allow the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. Water about every 3 weeks and even more sparingly during the winter months. Still unsure about watering your aloe? A moisture meter may come in handy.
Getting the Right Amount of Sunlight
Aloe Vera needs bright, natural light to grow and thrive. Bright indirect sunlight in a sunny, south-facing window is best. Without enough light the aloe plant may weaken and the leaves may crease or bend at the base or in the middle. A leggy growth habit and/or pale leaves are other indications of insufficient light.
To Fertilize or Not
You may boost the growth rate with fertilizer. Fertilize aloe infrequently (every 6 – 12 months). Aloe Vera is more tolerant of low nutrients than high ones. Fertilize using a dilute (0.5-1-1) fertilizer or a fertilizer specifically made for succulents, and make sure the pot and soil have good drainage. Don’t add coffee grounds, aloe vera prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Fertilized only during the spring and summer when it’s in its growing season and avoid fertilizing in the winter.
Propagating Aloe Plant Pups
Propagating is the process of creating new plants from the mother plant. Occasionally healthy aloe vera plants will produce offshoots, this new growth (referred to as aloe vera pups) can be removed from the mother plant and planted in a small pot filled with cactus mix. It is recommended that you plant the stalk in a dry mix and refrain from watering for 5-7 days this allows it to callus over before growing new roots. Once you begin watering new roots will begin to form in about a month.
As your aloe plant continues to grow it may become pot bound, this is when the plant’s root system has outgrown the pot it has been growing in. Signs of this are when your aloe vera plant becomes too top-heavy or has spawned too many pups. When this happens your plant may need a larger pot. A mature plant may have a potting mix that has degraded and broken down so repotting in a bigger pot with a fresh potting mix may be in order.
Moving your Aloe Outdoors for the Summer Months
If you want your potted aloe plant to grow faster, then put it outside during the summer, just make sure the pot has drainage holes. For those in cooler temperatures be sure to bring it back in before the fall weather arrives.
Frequently Asked Questions
For healthy aloe vera houseplants, the best way to water is to make sure you water from the bottom. This means that you pour water on the soil slowly and let it run through the soil and drain through the drainage holes. As mentioned above do not let the plant sit in water. Aloe Vera plants do not need to be watered very often, but when it is time to water them, the job should be done right.
When an aloe leaf is turning brown (typically seen on the leaf tips) it’s usually an indicator of either too much water or not enough. It could also mean repotting using a good potting soil made specifically for succulents may be a good idea. If just a few of the tips of your aloe vera plant are turning brown, you can cut them off without harming your plant.
Excess moisture is a common problem for aloe plant parents. Aloe plants have different needs than your typical house plant, so put the watering can down! Water aloe vera plants deeply, but infrequently allowing the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. Signs of overwatering include mushy oversaturated leaves, yellowing leaves, soft stems, and the plant’s tips turning brown.
An underwatered aloe plant may have droopy or curling leaves, dry potting soil, and leaves turning yellow with brown tips. It is recommended in order to save the aloe vera, remove it from its pot and immerse the roots in water for 48 hours to help the plant revive before repotting it using a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix.
Very rarely do indoor-grown aloe plants flower. They need a lot of sunlight to bloom and typically only mature plants will flower. Flowers on Aloe plants are seen more often on outdoor plants.
How to Know if your Aloe Vera Plant is Healthy
A healthy indoor aloe vera plant has thick, fleshy leaves that stand up tall. The plant boosts a bright green color and a healthy plant will grow offshoots known as pups. The key to a healthy thriving aloe plant is actually neglect – yes you read that right…neglect! They love it! Too much fussing and your plant will show signs of overcare.
Your Healthy Aloe Vera Plant Checklist:
- A sunny indirect light south-facing window
- Good soil made for succulents or cactus
- Infrequent but thorough watering
- Terracotta pot with drainage holes
- Consider moving outdoors for the hot summer months
- Fertilize very infrequently and only in the spring or summer
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I hope you give aloe plant parenting a try! It’s a fun plant to grow and hopefully in this post, How to Make Your Aloe Plant Grow Bigger (Plus Plant Care Tips) I answered all your aloe plant questions. If not please leave a message below!
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