Aloe is a genus of flowering succulents that has become a popular houseplant. It can be successfully cultivated both indoors and outdoors, and similar to most succulents, it’s very easy to maintain. I have successfully grown three species of aloe by keeping the soil of the plant dry, watering it once a week, and providing it with enough sunlight.
This has not only kept the plants happy, but it has afforded me the pleasure of growing several aloes in and outside my house. So, in this post, I share simple techniques you can use to grow and care for your indoor aloe plant.
In this Article
Aloe Vera – General Information
The flowers of an aloe plant bloom between mid-summer to early fall. During this time the plant gives off beautiful yellow, orange, or red flowers which attract bees. Because of this gorgeous blossom, they are sometimes used as ornamental plants.
Types of Aloe Plants
There are various species of this plant, a few common ones include the following:
- Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)
- Hardy Aloe (Aloe Striatula)
- Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox)
- Arabian Aloe (Aloe Rubroviolacea)
- Snake Aloe (Aloe Broomii)
- Red Hot Poker Aloe (Aloe Aculeata)
- Red Aloe (Aloe Cameronii)
- Soap Aloe (Aloe Maculata)
- Stone Aloe (Aloe Petricola)
- Coral Aloe (Aloe Striata)
- Sand Aloe (Aloe Hereroensis)
- Torch or Lace Aloe (Aloe Aristata)
Optimal Hardiness Zones
Aloe vera is believed to symbolize purity, healing, self-love, and immortality. While lace aloe represents physical and spiritual health and adaptability, hardy aloe is thought to overcome feelings of grief and bitterness.
Aloe Plant Care Guide
As mentioned, aloe is an easy plant to care for. Here are the requirements needed for the plant to flourish.
Aloe thrives in loamy sand with a neutral pH. When growing species like aloe vera indoors, it’s best to plant it in cactus potting soil because it drains well and therefore prevents root rot.
Many people find it quite challenging trying to determine the watering frequency of an aloe plant. Aloe is not very fond of soggy soil, so you should keep the watering frequency at a minimum. When growing the plant indoors, it’s best to plant it in a pot with enough drainage holes. During winter, water aloe once a month, and in spring, once a week. Ensure the soil dries completely between each watering session.
The growing season for aloe is spring. Feed the plant with a balanced fertilizer of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus once during this time. But, it does grow healthily unfertilized if you provide it with the required amount of sunlight and water, and prune it when the leaves start browning and wilting.
Aloe Plant Light Requirements
Aloe thrives in sunny areas-which explains why it grows really well in desert territories. When growing the plant inside your house, make sure you place the plant in an area that receives direct light for a minimum of four hours. Indirect light also works, but make sure you rotate the plant every now and then to give it enough light. So, a south or west-facing window would be really ideal.
Pruning An Aloe Plant Growing Inside Your House
Aloe plants don’t grow wild when contained in plant pots. But, sometimes, you might have a few exceptions. In this case, it’s better to prune your plant to promote healthy growth by removing any withered leaves. To trim, simply use pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim off any dead leaves. You can even cut off a few leaves to grow new plants.
Growing Aloe Vera Indoors
If you’re thinking of growing more aloe vera plants inside your home, propagating the plant is the way to go. There are two simple techniques to carry out this process- by leaf or cutting.
Propagating A Cut Leaf
To propagate an aloe leaf you’ll need the following:
- Pruning shears or a sharp knife
- Potting cactus soil
- Plant pot
- Water in a spray bottle
- A few leaves (some of the leaves might not develop roots, so having a couple of leaves increases the chances of some of them establishing root growth.)
- Cut a few healthy leaves from the base of the mother plant using shears.
- Place the leaves in the sun for two to three days or until the cut-off part has dried out.
- Fill your pot plant with soil.
- Insert the leaves into the soil.
- Spray the top of the soil with water.
- Leave it outside for two to four hours in direct sun.
- Move the container inside and place it in a place that receives enough light. You should expect roots to develop within six weeks.
Propagating An Aloe Cutting
When using this method to grow and control your aloe, you can expect to see root growth within a month. Follow these steps to propagate your aloe cutting. Have the following at hand:
- A hardy aloe stem
- Plant pot
- Potting cactus soil
- Pruning shears or sharp knife
- Cut off a well-developed stem from the parent plant.
- Gently remove any lower leaves.
- Fill your pot with soil.
- Create a hole in the center of the soil.
- Insert the stem cutting, and gently tuck soil around it to hold it in place.
- Pour water into the pot and allow it to flow out.
- Put the pot in a sunny area for two to four hours.
- Take the plant inside and place it in an area that receives enough light.
Harvesting Aloe plants
If you want to make use of aloe leaves, then the best time to harvest them is late spring to early summer. You can cut off an aloe leaf (or two) and use the soothing gel to treat any skin irritations, or minor burns, or use it to treat any digestive problems.
I’ve found that the gel has the same calming effects as ginger and chamomile. So, when I’m experiencing gas, I cut off a leaf or two, boil it in water, and then drink it as tea. And within 20 minutes, I’m back to my normal self!
Common Problems With Aloe Plants
Because aloe plants are naturally created to withstand dry, arid conditions, the roots tend to rot if overwatered. The leaves of aloe are generally thick and the clear gel inside the leaves stores any water that the plant might need to survive.
So, excess water doesn’t evaporate as quickly if you overwater the plants, and this manifests itself in the form of a fungal disease starting at the roots. To avoid root rot, water your plants when the soil is completely dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I put the aloe vera plant in my home?
Aloe needs a good amount of light to grow happily. It’s best to put your plant next to a sunny window so that it can get at least four hours of natural light.
Should I cut the brown tips off my aloe plant?
It depends. If the tips of your plant are caused by a fungal infection stemming from rotten roots, then it’s best to cut off the entire leaf before it affects the rest of your plant. Also, treat your plant by removing the damaged roots and transferring your plant into a clean pot filled with fresh soil.
If it’s a matter of insufficient light, then it might be a case of very little chlorophyll developing. Simply place the plant next to a sunny window. Once the plant starts getting sunlight, the tips will go back to a beautiful green color.
How often do I water an aloe vera plant inside?
The frequency of watering your aloe growing indoors will vary from season to season. During winter, it’s best to water your plant once a month, and during summer you can water it once a week. Aloe tolerates arid soil, so when you water the plant, make sure the soil is completely dry before the next watering session.
Growing and caring for an indoor aloe plant doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Once you have a basic idea of the requirements for the plant to thrive and grow yearly, you’ll find that aloe plants are truly low maintenance. Factors to keep in mind include watering only when the soil is dry, placing your plant pot in a sunny place, and pruning any dry, withered leaves when presented with them.
What successes and challenges have you experienced when growing your aloe plant indoors? Share them in the comments!