Crave greenery without the drama? Learn how to care for your aloe vera plant, from watering and sunlight to repotting and propagation.

Aloe vera, a succulent plant with thick, fleshy leaves, is a household staple for many reasons. Its soothing gel is renowned for its healing properties, providing relief from sunburns, minor cuts, and skin irritations.

But did you know that aloe vera also boasts air-purifying abilities, making it an excellent choice for enhancing indoor air quality?

I’ve been growing mine for a long time. They are super easy to grow, require minimal maintenance, and are perfect for the beginner gardener.

Learn how to care for an aloe plant with these simple tips.

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About Growing Aloe Vera Plant

Growing aloe vera is a relatively straightforward houseplant, that is super easy to grow, even for the most novice of plant enthusiasts.

Aloe Vera Plant Helps Clean the Air

Aloe vera, along with several other indoor plants, plays a role in purifying the air we breathe. Studies have shown that aloe vera can effectively remove harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the indoor environment.

These VOCs, often emitted from household products like paints, cleaning supplies, and electronics, can contribute to respiratory issues and other health problems. So it’s a great idea to have some aloe vera in your home to help clean the air.

Benefits of Keeping Aloe Vera

In addition to its air-purifying abilities, aloe vera offers a host of other benefits too.

  • Soothing Gel: The gel from aloe vera leaves can provide relief from minor burns, cuts, and skin irritations.
  • Low-Maintenance Plant: Aloe vera is a relatively low-maintenance plant, requiring infrequent watering and minimal care.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: With its attractive, fleshy leaves, aloe vera adds a touch of greenery to any home.
Aloe plant and cacti in the greenhouse at the garden nursery
Aloe Plant

Is Aloe a Succulent?

Yes, aloe vera is a succulent. Succulents are plants that have adapted to store water in their fleshy leaves, stems, or roots. This adaptation allows them to survive in arid environments where water is scarce. Aloe vera plants are native to the Arabian Peninsula, which is a hot, dry region. Their thick, fleshy leaves allow them to store water, which they can use during periods of drought.

Aloe vera is a popular succulent because it is relatively easy to care for and has a number of medicinal properties. The gel from aloe vera leaves can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as sunburn and minor cuts. It can also be used to soothe insect bites and stings.

I used the gel from my aloe vera plant when I had the worst case of poison ivy ever. It soothed the burning itch and was incredibly helpful in my recovery from the rash.

close up of aloe vera plant in the sunroom
Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe Vera Plant Care: Light Requirements

When growing them indoors as houseplants, aloe vera plants need bright, indirect sunlight. This means that they should be placed in an area that receives plenty of light, but not too much direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves of the plant, causing them to turn brown. From experience, this happens pretty easily so watch their light.

In most homes, an east- or south-facing window is ideal for aloe vera plants. These windows receive plenty of morning sunlight, but they are shaded from the harsh afternoon sun. If you don’t have a sunny window, you can supplement the light with a grow light.

I’ve grown my aloe plant in a north-facing bay window and it did pretty well there too.

Signs of Too Much or Too Little Light for Aloe Plants

Here are some signs that your aloe vera plant is not getting enough light:

  • The leaves are pale and green.
  • The plant is stretching out and becoming leggy.
  • The plant is not producing new offsets.

Here are some signs that your aloe vera plant is getting too much light:

  • The leaves are sunburned and brown.
  • The plant is wilting and drooping.
  • The edges of the leaves are crispy and dry.

How to Adjust Light Conditions for Your Aloe Vera Plant

If you think your aloe vera plant is not getting enough light, simply move it to a brighter location. If you think it is getting too much light, move it to a shadier spot in your home. You can also adjust the light conditions by using a sheer curtain or shade cloth to filter the sunlight.

Where to Place Your Aloe Vera Plant in Your Home

  • Living Room: If you have an east- or south-facing window in your living room, this is the perfect spot for your aloe vera plant.
  • Kitchen: The kitchen is another great place to place your aloe vera plant. If you have a window above your sink, this is a great spot.
  • Bedroom: If you have a sunny bedroom, you can place your aloe vera plant on a windowsill or dresser.
  • Bathroom: The bathroom is a good place to place your aloe vera plant if it has a window. However, be sure to avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight from the shower or bathtub.
diy potting bench in spring with terra cotta pots, aloe vera plants, garden decor and vintage garden tools
DIY potting bench idea made from wood pallet

Aloe Vera Plant Care: Watering Aloe Plants

In general, aloe plants prefer infrequent watering, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. So this is not the plant you want to water on the same day every week because it very likely does not need it.

Aloe vera plants, with their thick, fleshy leaves, are succulents that have adapted to store water, making them relatively drought-tolerant. However, proper watering is essential for maintaining their health and ensuring they thrive in your home environment.

How Often to Water an Aloe Plant

Overwatering is a common cause of aloe vera problems, leading to root rot and fungal diseases. So it’s really important not to overcare for the aloe vera plant.

During the growing season (spring and summer), aloe vera plants typically need watering once every two to three weeks. However, the frequency may vary depending on factors such as pot size, temperature, and humidity levels.

As the season moves toward winter, the plant wants to go dormant. This means you’ll water even less. I typically water my aloe plants once every 4-6 weeks during this time.

2 baby aloe vera plants after dividing in terracotta pots on potting bench: How to Propagate Aloe Plants

Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering

Overwatered aloe vera plants may exhibit signs such as:

  • Soft, mushy leaves
  • Yellowing or browning of leaves
  • Root rot

Underwatered aloe vera plants may show signs like:

  • Dry, wrinkled leaves
  • Curling or drooping leaves
  • Slow growth

Watering Technique

When watering aloe vera, it’s crucial to water deeply, allowing the water to penetrate the soil thoroughly. Avoid pouring water directly onto the central rosette of leaves, as this can lead to rot. Instead, water the soil around the base of the plant.

After watering, allow the excess water to drain freely from the pot’s drainage holes. Never let the pot sit in water, as this can suffocate the roots.

Adjusting Watering Schedule Based on Seasons

During the fall and winter, when aloe vera plants enter their dormant period, their water needs decrease. Reduce watering frequency to once a month or even less, depending on the plant’s appearance and the ambient temperature.

Pro-Tips for Proper Watering

  • Use room-temperature water to avoid shocking the plant’s roots.
  • Water early in the morning to allow the leaves to dry before nightfall, reducing the risk of fungal diseases.
  • Consider using a pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  • Monitor the soil moisture between waterings to avoid overwatering.

Embrace Undercare for a Thriving Aloe Vera

While aloe vera can withstand periods of drought, it cannot tolerate overwatering. By adopting an undercare approach, you provide your aloe vera with the ideal conditions to thrive, ensuring you reap the benefits of this remarkable plant for years to come. Remember, less is more when it comes to watering your aloe vera.

aloe plant with other cacti and succulent plants in greenhouse at garden nursery

Types of Aloe Plants

Here are just a few of the many different types of aloe that you can grow. With so many different varieties to choose from, you are sure to find one that is perfect for you.

  • Aloe vera
  • Aloe arborescent
  • Aloe aristata
  • Aloe polyphylla
  • Aloe ferox
  • Aloe Variegata
  • Aloe Mitriformis
  • Aloe Plicatilis
  • Aloe Aculeata
  • Aloe Saponaria
How to Propagate Aloe Plants: aloe vera plants with terracotta pots on potting bench

Propagating Aloe Vera Plants

Aloe vera is a relatively easy plant to propagate, allowing you to expand your indoor greenery and share its benefits with friends and family. There are two primary methods for propagating aloe vera: division and leaf cuttings.

Division

Division is the simplest method for propagating aloe vera, especially when the plant has produced offshoots, also known as pups. These offshoots are small aloe vera plants that grow at the base of the parent plant.

To propagate aloe vera by division, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the aloe vera plant from its pot.
  2. Gently separate the offshoots from the parent plant, ensuring each offshoot has its own roots.
  3. Allow the offshoots to dry and form calluses for a day or two.
  4. Plant each offshoot in a well-draining potting mix.
  5. Water the newly potted offshoots sparingly until they establish themselves.

Dividing aloe plants is my go-to source for propagating. My mother plant has provided more aloe pups than I can count. I still have many of them, but others I’ve gifted away for the holidays, birthdays, and as hostess gifts.

Propagating an Aloe Plant by Division

Leaf Cuttings

Leaf cuttings are another effective method for propagating aloe vera. This method involves taking a healthy leaf from the parent plant and rooting it in soil. To propagate aloe vera by leaf cuttings, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a healthy, mature leaf from the outermost part of the aloe vera plant.
  2. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the leaf close to the stem.
  3. Allow the cut end of the leaf to dry and form a callus for a day or two.
  4. Plant the callused end of the leaf in a well-draining potting mix.
  5. Water the potted leaf cutting sparingly until it develops roots and new growth.
    With proper care and attention, both division and leaf cuttings methods will successfully propagate aloe vera, allowing you to multiply your plant collection and share its healing and air-purifying benefits with others.

I’ve never tried propagating an aloe vera plant this way before. If you’ve done it, please let me know how it worked!

garden work bench with terracotta pots and plants

More About Aloe Vera Plant Care

Are you growing an aloe plant? If so, how long have you been growing yours? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. Here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

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