Aloe is a semi-tropical plant that comes with a host of benefits. Besides adding green to your home, aloe leaves contain a gel that can be used to soothe the skin or treat minor burns and cuts (though this should not be ingested by people or pets).
Aloe plants are a popular type of succulent, and there are so many different varieties to choose from. The type of aloe that is popular in Canadian homes is Aloe barbadensis (a type of aloe vera). It is also one of the most widely used medicinal plants. Although this form of aloe is one of the most common houseplants, there are over 400 other types. Some grow tall, while others remain small. Make sure you pick a variety that suits your needs.
Aloe plants are a popular choice among houseplant owners because they are very easy to care for—you don’t have to be a pro gardener to keep these succulents healthy and strong. With their spiky, plump leaves, they make a lovely indoor plant that can brighten and enliven your rooms. If you want to grow aloe vera, here are some tips and advice on caring for these attractive plants.
Give plenty of light
If you’re growing your aloe plant indoors, place the plant near a bright, sunny window facing the south or west. When these plants don’t receive enough light, they will stop growing. If you notice your aloe growing unevenly in one direction, this likely means that one side is getting more sunlight than the other. When you see this happening, rotate your succulent to ensure that each side is getting enough light.
If you want to move your indoor plant to direct sunlight, be careful about putting your plant immediately under harsh light conditions, since this can cause overexposure. This is something to be particularly careful about during the hotter summer months. If you want to move your plant to a location with more sunshine, slowly place the plant in a brighter spot each day so it can acclimate to the light in a gradual pace.
Aloe plants should ideally be kept in in temperatures between 13 and 27℃. Aloe will freeze if the temperature drops below 4℃. Frozen soil can also kill the roots and halt growth.
You might be wondering, “How often can I water my aloe plant?” Overwatering can kill succulents, so do not overdo it. Just like most succulents, aloes can survive in dry environments and can go for long periods without water. The plant’s leaves already hold a lot of fluid.
Aloe should be watered heavily only once every two to three weeks. The soil should be fully dry between waterings. Completely wet the soil and wait until it’s fully dry before rewatering. Avoid wetting aloe’s leaves and instead pour directly over the soil. To check moisture levels, you can use your finger or a stick to gently poke a few inches below the soil. If it is still wet, give it more time to dry before sprinkling again. If the roots are exposed to too much dampness, they can rot. If your plant’s leaves are brown or dying, this is a sign of overwatering.
Use a pot that allows for drainage
Since aloe plants hate excessive moisture, you should use a pot with drainage holes. When water stands at the bottom of the container, then the plant’s roots will decay. Regular gardening soil can be too moist for succulents, so you should also use a succulent-friendly soil mixture that lets excess liquid drain out. To increase drainage, you can add sand or bark chunks to the potting mix. One of the most common reasons that aloe plants die is because of overwatering. Avoid this mistake by using an appropriate pot that lets out liquid. If you see water gathering in the plant’s saucer, empty it immediately.
Containers made from porous materials, like terracotta, are also recommended since they allow the soil to dry thoroughly. Plastic or glazed bowls can also work, though these materials hold more moisture.
How to repot an aloe plant
If your aloe plant has grown too large, or if you want to give it more space, you can repot the plant and give it a new home. Just follow these directions:
Clean the new pot.
Carefully remove the aloe plant from its current container.
Place the aloe in its new home.
Do not water the plant for at least a week.