Aloe vera plants are commonly found growing in many households. Not only are they an attractive plant to have in your decor, but they are very useful as well. The juice found within the leaves can be topically applied to cuts, burns, and scrapes to help alleviate pain.
Due to the nature of succulents, their growing needs can be just a touch different than most other houseplants. Read on to see how to best care for your aloe vera plant.
1. Use a light, airy potting mix
The thick, fleshy leaves on an aloe plant result from water storage within the cellular tissue. Because succulents hold so much water in their leaves they prefer a soil that doesn't hold water. Look for light, airy potting mixes that drain quickly. There are some specifically marketed for use with succulent plants, or you can make your own. If you want to make your own, The Bump recommends mixing equal parts of commercial potting soil, sand and "grit" such as perlite, pumice, or gravel.
2. Choose unglazed terra cotta pots
Typically growers are warned that if using unglazed terra cotta pots they need to water more often. In the case of aloe plants, the unglazed terra cotta pots actually work in the favor of the grower. The soil will dry out more quickly which is what the plant prefers. According to We Love Aloe! this is especially important in cool or humid areas where the soil doesn't dry out as quickly.
3. Lots of drainage in pots
Even if you are using a well draining potting soil in unglazed terra cotta pots, it's still imperative your pots have good drainage holes at the bottom. If your pot came with a plug in the hole make sure to remove it so excess water can freely drain when you water your aloe.
4. Water infrequently
One of the biggest pitfalls of growing your own aloe plant is overwatering! Make sure the soil dries out completely (or at least to a depth of 2") before watering the plant thoroughly, allowing the excess moisture to drain.
5. Bright light location
Succulents love to be in bright, sunny spots and the aloe is no exception. When growing indoors as a houseplant they prefer south or west facing windows to get as much indirect light as possible.
6. Temperatures between 55 and 80
When grown inside the home, plants can withstand a range of temperatures, including dropping down to the mid 50's at night. This variance in temperature tolerance is also what makes it possible to grow aloe plants outside in areas where the climate is moderate throughout the winter and overnight.
7. Fertilize sparingly
Aloe plants should be feed very infrequently and lightly, or you risk hindering the growth. Feed them no more than once a month during the spring and summer using a balanced fertilizer for houseplants, but at about half the recommended rate.