How to Take Care of Your Indoor Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe vera is a popular indoor plant best known for its health benefits. Early Egypt was one of the first to discover its usefulness, dubbing it as the “plant of immortality” worthy as a gift for pharaohs.
Today, it still receives the same recognition, but now anyone can grow it at home.
The best thing about it is that it’s great for beginners and those who don’t have what they call a “green thumb.” If you often forget about watering your plants, an aloe vera plant will love you.
Read on to learn how to take good care of your indoor aloe plant.
1. The Best Location in Your House
An aloe vera plant needs a lot of bright yet indirect sunlight, which is one of the reasons why it’s great for indoors. All it needs is a spot near a window; south- or west-facing windows are the best choice.
Don’t put it beside the glass of a west-facing window, though, as it might burn the leaves. Don’t put it too far from a window, either, as the leaves will droop downwards if it doesn’t get enough light.
You can also put it in your back patio, where it doesn’t receive direct sunlight but still has easy access to bright light. Avoid putting it under direct sunlight, which dries out the plant and turns its leaves yellow.
Be sure to also bring it in when there’s a chance of frost. An aloe plant is vulnerable to even a slight frost because it’s 95% water. In general, the ideal temperature for this plant is between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. The Right Environment
The soil where you have your aloe vera plant planted should have good drainage. To be sure, buy a cactus potting soil mix, which already provides a good environment for your plant to thrive in. Surrounding the plant with pebbles will then help replicate its preferred environment further.
Regular potting soil isn’t that recommended for cacti, which prefer dry soil. If you only have this type of soil, mix it with building sand or perlite.
As for the pot, make sure it has plenty of holes to avoid standing water.
3. Watering Frequency
An important thing you need to know about aloe vera care is that you must allow the soil to dry before watering it again. If you treat it like a regular plant and water it too often, it will rot or die out, like other its other succulent cousins. This explains why you must have the right type of container and the right type of soil.
During the summer months, you need to water it at least once a week. In the winter, you may have to wait at least three weeks in-between watering. This will still depend on the weather and the location of your plant.
To know if the plant is good for a watering, test the dryness of the soil using your fingers. If it’s dry two inches in, you may water it again. If you’re unsure, remember that it’s better to water less than more often.
When it’s time to water it, be thorough – water it until you see water coming out of the drainage holes.
If you repotted the plant, wait a week or so before watering it for the first time. This will allow the aloe vera to adjust to the new soil.
4. Using Fertilizer
Aloe vera plants don’t need much fertilizer, in general, but they can still benefit from a boost in nutrition. Only do this during spring and summer, from April to September. This is the growing season of the plant.
Like watering, don’t fertilize too often. Once or twice a month is good enough for the plant to grow healthy and vigorous. Put the fertilizer at the same time as when you water the plant.
Dilute the fertilizer, as well, before giving it to the plant. Get a 15-30-15 fertilizer, and mix one part with five parts water.
5. Pruning the Leaves
Aloe vera has a lot of medical benefits; it has natural anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, it helps heal burns and wounds, and it can even lower blood sugar levels.
This is one of the main reasons why you would want to keep an aloe vera plant in the first place. The good thing about it is that you can cut a leaf or get a whole leaf without hurting the plant.
Other than for that purpose and for removing the spent flower stalks, there’s no need to prune the plant at all.
6. Replanting the Offsets
If you took note of these aloe vera plant care tips, your plant will be healthy while growing into maturity. At this point, it may produce babies, pups, or offsets – whichever you would like to call it.
The offsets are tiny plants that have sprouted from the main plant. You can detach it when it’s fully-formed using pruning shears, a knife, or scissors.
Don’t repot right after separating it from the main plant. Let it sit out for a few days somewhere warm and with indirect sunlight first. This will allow a callus to form over the cut, protecting it from rot.
After a couple of days, pot it in the correct soil and container.
7. Rotting, Diseases, and Pests
Rotting and fungus are a side-effect of having too much water, so they’re quite easy to avoid if you follow our tips above. However, those aren’t the only threats to aloe plants.
Mealybugs, aphids, and mites love feeding on the plants. If left unchecked, they can cause stunted growth, yellowing, and the formation of galls.
Inspect your plants during and in-between watering sessions for signs of these pests. You can scrape them off, use non-toxic pesticide, or remove the infested leaf to prevent them from spreading.
Buy a Healthy Aloe Vera Plant
To start caring for an aloe vera plant, make sure you get a plant that’s healthy and free of pests in the first place. Contact us for any inquiries or browse our other posts for more tips on how to care for aloe vera and other indoor plants.