How to Care for the Aloe Plant
Aloe is a type of succulent with over 500 different species, the most common variant being aloe vera. Most species of aloe have thick, fleshy leaves that grow in a rosette. These leaves can be used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes, such as soothing burns, and helping heal or relieve various skin and hair conditions.
While aloes have the ability to produce tall, brightly-colored flowers with a lot of light, they are primarily known for their foliage, and can struggle to bloom in an indoor setting. Aloes are very easy to take care of, and frequently put out new baby aloes at the base of the parent plant. These offshoots are easily separated from the parent aloe, which makes them easily shareable with friends!
Aloes make great additions to your indoor plant collection, if you have a bright space for them.
Aloes love the sun. Give these plants bright light. They like a good sunny windowsill with direct, unobscured sunlight. In the summer, you can slowly acclimate your aloe to the outdoors if you so wish…but be careful; if you put them in full sun immediately, aloe can get sunburnt, and there is no soothing bottle of aloe vera for an aloe vera plant.
Being a succulent, aloes don’t like a whole lot of water. Allow the soil to dry out 100% of the way before rewatering. Water thoroughly when you do water, allowing for the water to drain out the bottom of the pot. Aloes do best in a well-draining soil mixture. Never let aloes sit in standing water or else they will rot.
Some species of Aloe can be harmful or toxic to pets. Saponins, for example, can cause diarrhea or vomiting when ingested.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Why is my aloe turning brown or yellow?
The most common cause of a browning, yellowing, or mushy stalk is overwatering. Too much moisture will surely upset your aloe. “Wet feet”, or excess water at the roots, will cause root rot. If you suspect rot, the best course of action would be to quickly repot your aloe with dry soil.
Browning aloe leaves could be a sign of sunburn if you have your aloe in a very sunny area. Sunburn browning is caused by the production of the chemicals anthocyanin and carotenoid; these chemicals protect the plant from further sun damage and cause what we refer to as sun stress. Sun stress is a little pinker in hue than overwatered browning, which is a little more yellow. Move your aloe into less direct sunlight if it is sun stressed, until it is healed then slowly reintroduce it to the bright light.
Some yellowing is natural for older aloe leaves. The outside aloe leaves might turn yellow if they are ready to drop those leaves and make room for new ones. Leave them alone until they are crunchy, and able to be removed easily.
Why is my aloe plant drooping?
Not enough sunlight can weaken the leaves and cause them to droop. Too much water can also cause the aloe leaves to be engorged and flop over.
If the whole plant is flopping over rather than just the leaves, you might have a root issue, such as root rot. Your plant could also be bigger/heavier than the pot it’s in, which can weaken the root structure; if this is the case, repot into a bigger container, or find a cover pot to slide the nursery pot into for stability.
Why are my aloe’s leaves not fleshy anymore?
When aloe isn’t getting enough water or is cold, the leaves start to not look as full and fleshy as they should. The leaves will look almost concave, like a slide. Check the soil to see if it is dry—if it is, water thoroughly. If the weather is cold and your aloe is by a drafty window, consider moving your plant away from the window.
How often should I water my aloe?
Aloe, like all plants, shouldn’t be kept on a watering schedule. You should water your aloe when the soil is almost 100% dry.. To check this, grab a chopstick or something else similar, like your finger even, and push it down into the soil. See if the chopstick is damp when you pull it out. Also, aloes usually need less water in the winter as it takes longer for the soil to dry out.
When should I repot my aloe?
Repot your aloe when it starts to outgrow the pot it’s already in at the roots, or if the plant is looking and feeling bigger/heavier than the pot it’s in, it’s time for a new container. The container needs to be big enough for the roots to spread out and grow. When a plant’s roots fill all the space it has, also known as being root-bound, there is less room for water and the plant’s growth gets stunted.
How do I fix a leggy aloe?
The term leggy, or etiolated, is referring to when a plant grows spindly, with a stretched-out stem and sparse leaves. Aloes, like most plants, get leggy when they’re reaching for sunlight, but older aloes can naturally get a little leggy. Legginess can cause a variety of issues, such as drooping or even breakage. It is best to repot a leggy aloe and move it to a brighter light environment.
To repot a leggy aloe, simply get a bigger pot and bury the leggy part of the stem. You might have to cut away the older, lower leaves in order to fully cover the stem. Make sure you make a clean cut with a pair of clean scissors or shears before repotting.