Aloe Vera truly is one of the incredible houseplants you can grow. While many people grow them just for their aesthetic value, Aloe Vera plants have also been cultivated for thousands of years for their medicinal value.
One of the other charms of the Aloe Vera plant is the fact that it requires very little maintenance. While it is relatively easy to help your Aloe Vera plant thrive inside your home, some people are unsure how often they should water this unique little succulent.
If you are unsure how to care for your Aloe Vera plant, or you just want to know more about basic maintenance tips, you have come to the right place. We will quickly explain an appropriate watering schedule, as well as highlight other important tips you can follow to care for your Aloe plant.
So, How Often Should I Water My Aloe Plant?
The most common questions we receive in regards to Aloe Vera plants revolve around proper watering schedules. Since the leaves of the Aloe plant contain a watery gel, some people assume that these little plants require lots of water. However, this is actually a common misconception. The truth is, Aloe Vera plants actually prefer dry soil, as they are very susceptible to root rot.
In fact, Aloe Vera plants are in far more danger of being over-watered than under-watered. If the soil is waterlogged and the roots are constantly surrounded by moisture, there is a good chance the plant will wilt and, eventually, completely die.
How to Avoid Over-watering
One of the easiest ways to check if your Aloe plant actually needs water is to check the soil. Ideally, the top two-to-three inches of soil will be completely dry to the touch before you re-water your Aloe plant.
While you can check how dry the soil is with your finger, some people prefer to grasp a small clump of soil from the surface of the planter and crumble it between their fingers. If the soil crumbles and has a light brown or light gray appearance, it is probably time to re-water your Aloe plant.
On the other hand, if the soil is moist and has a darker color, there is a good chance the plant does not need more water.
For most people, a watering schedule of once per week is usually sufficient; however, others find that watering their Aloe on a bi-weekly basis works better.
If you are ever unsure if you should water your Aloe plant, try waiting a couple of days, as Aloe plants and other succulents tend to recover better from drought than being over-watered.
Factors that Determine How Often You Should Water Your Aloe Plant
While you might assume that all Aloe Vera plants should be watered with the same frequency, the truth is there are a number of factors that can impact your plant’s need for water.
For starters, Aloe plants that are grown in dry environments usually need to be watered more frequently than those that are grown in humid homes. This is because the dry air will actually pull moisture from the soil at a faster rate.
The amount of sunlight your plant is exposed to will also influence your watering schedule. If the plant receives plenty of natural light throughout the day, it will need to be watered more often. This is because the sunlight pulls moisture from the soil and also causes the plant to use more water.
This is why it is important to find a watering schedule that actually works for your specific Aloe plant. When you are first starting out, check the soil on a weekly basis and adjust your watering schedule until you find a frequency that allows the top two-to-three inches of soil to dry out between each watering.
Choosing an Aloe-friendly Soil
While your watering schedule is important, it is also vital that you use a type of soil that is appropriate for your Aloe plant. Since Aloe plants and other succulents thrive in dry conditions, it is important that you choose well-draining soil. This will help regulate moisture levels and prevent root rot, especially if you accidentally over-water your Aloe plant.
If you have purchased your Aloe plant from a reputable garden center, there is a good chance it will have been planted in an appropriate soil mixture. On the other hand, if you have grown your Aloe plant yourself, or you are unsure about the quality of the soil the plant came in when you bought it, you can repot the plant in any cactus or succulent-specific potting soil mixture.
If you cannot find a pre-mixed potting soil that works for succulents, you can make your own. An easy mixture is combining one part of sand or perlite with one part of regular potting soil. Just make sure you really mix the two parts together, as the sand or perlite will help prevent root rot and other issues that can occur when the soil holds too much water.
What Type of Water Should You Use?
While it may sound a little silly, Aloe plants can become discolored when they are watered directly from the tap. This is because the leaves are sensitive to both chlorine and fluoride.
If you want to prevent the leaves from becoming droopy or discolored, you can use filtered or bottled water. If you would still prefer to use tap water, consider filling an open-air container with tap water the day before you water your Aloe plant. Let the container sit for at least 24 hours, as this allows some of the chlorine and fluoride to evaporate from the water.
Other Aloe Vera Care Tips
Lighting is also important. While you might assume that Aloe plants would prefer direct sunlight, they actually do much better when they receive bright, indirect light. This is because the gel-filled leaves are susceptible to leaf burn.
Aloe plants also require very little fertilizer. In fact, some people do not fertilize their Aloe plants at all. If you do decide to fertilize the soil, consider diluting your chosen plant food to about half the recommended strength. You should also avoid fertilizing the plant more than once or twice per year, as the fertilizer can actually end up doing more harm than good.