Growing Aloe Vera

How to Care for Aloe Vera Plants

aloe-vera-houseplant

The aloe vera plant is an easy, attractive succulent that makes for a great indoor companion. Aloe vera plants are useful, too, as the juice from their leaves can be used to relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Here’s how to grow and care for aloe vera plants in your home!

Aloe vera plants have thick, variegated leaves that fan out from the plant’s central stem. Keep the aloe vera plant in a pot near a kitchen window for everyday use.

Please note: Aloe vera leaves should not be ingested by humans or pets. They can cause unpleasant symptoms and may be toxic in larger quantities.

Planting

  • Plant aloe vera in wide containers with a well-draining potting mix, such as those made for cacti and succulents. Aloe vera plants are hardy, but a lack of proper drainage can cause rot and wilting, which is easily the most common cause of a death for the plant.
  • Place in bright, indirect sunlight or artificial light.
  • Aloe vera do best in temperatures between 55 and 80°F (13–27°C). 

Care

  • Water aloe vera plants deeply, but in order to discourage rot, allow the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. 
  • Water about every 3 weeks and even more sparingly during the winter. Use your finger to test dryness before watering. If the potting mix stays wet, the plants’ roots can begin to rot.
  • Fertilize sparingly (no more than once a month), and only in the spring and summer with a balanced houseplant formula mixed at ½ strength.
  • Repot when root bound, using a well-drained potting mix designed for cacti and succulents.

Removing & Replanting Aloe Vera Offsets (Pups)

Mature Aloe vera plants often produce offsets—also known as plantlets, pups, or “babies”—that can be removed to produce an entirely new plant (a clone of the mother plant, technically).

  1. Find where the offsets are attached to the mother plant and separate them using pruning shears, scissors, or a sharp knife. Leave at least an inch of stem on the offset. 
  2. Allow the offsets to sit out of soil for several days; this lets the offset form a callous over the cut, which helps to protect it from rot. Keep the offsets in a warm location with indirect light during this time.
  3. Once the offsets have formed callouses, pot them in a standard succulent potting mix. The soil should be well-draining.
  4. Put the newly-potted pups in a sunny location. Wait a week to water and keep the soil on the dry side.

Pests/Diseases

Aloe vera plants are susceptible to common garden pests, such as mealybugs and scale. 

Common diseases include:

  • Root rot
  • Soft rot
  • Fungal stem rot
  • Leaf rot

Avoid overwatering to keep these conditions from developing.

Harvest/Storage

Aloe Vera Gel

To make use of the aloe vera plant’s soothing properties, remove a mature leaf from the plant and cut it lengthwise. Squeeze the gel out of the leaf and apply it to your burn, or simply lay the opened leaf gel-side–down on top of the affected area. Learn more about aloe vera’s healing properties.

Aloe vera gel

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Planting Times

Growing Aloe Vera

Botanical Name

Aloe barbadensis

Plant Type Houseplant
Sun Exposure Part Sun
Soil Type
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color Red, Yellow
Hardiness Zones
Special Features