Aloe has become one of the most important succulents in the world. These plants are not only attractive, but they’re also actually incredibly useful.
The most common aloe plant, aloe vera, is edible and used in first aid and a variety of skincare applications.
Repotting an aloe, regardless of the specific type of Aloe plant, is not only beneficial to the plant but is the perfect chance to add to your aloe collection.
As you should be repotting an aloe once every 1 to 2 years, it’s important to practice some good potting habits.
Tips On Repotting Aloe Plants
Think about why you should repot and plan for that purpose.
Once you have a plan of action, repotting is easier than with many other popular plants.
Reasons to Repot
There are a few factors that might give your a reason to repot beyond simply being root-bound.
Taking these factors into consideration will allow for more efficient repotting, ensuring a happier, healthier aloe.
Propagation – Division is one of the best ways to propagate an aloe plant.
This not only helps address root-bound plants but can also allow you to reuse the same pot instead of sizing up.
Soil Quality – Beyond being root bound, soil quality is the biggest reason to repot your plant.
Changing out the soil allows you can keep the same pot (unless the plant is root-bound), but the plant will be happier afterward.
Removing the Aloe Plant
Aloe is a versatile plant, and most varieties can handle a surprising amount of abuse.
Gently pull the plant out of the pot, setting aside any broken leaves for personal use.
Tap or carefully brush the roots to remove as much old soil as possible.
Examine the root structure and separate any pups from the main plant.
You may have to cut the roots on a root-bound plant due to knotting, but they’re generally able to bounce back as long as you don’t go crazy on the cuts.
This is also a good time to remove any damaged or diseased roots and leaves.
Remember, each pup or division will be its own plant, so don’t separate the main plant into more pieces than you have homes for.
Aloes Need Time For Recovery After Dividing
Your aloe plant needs a little time for wounds to scab over, so to speak.
Leave the divided plants laying in a cool, dry location away from bright light to begin the healing process.
It will generally take up to 4 days for the roots to properly heal.
This is also a good time to add any rooting hormone.
While not necessary, root hormones can heal damaged roots more quickly and make it easier for the aloe to make a speedy recovery.
Picking A Pot For Your Aloe (Drainage is Key)
Choose a pot that has plenty of drainage holes and is small enough that the aloe’s roots will fill ⅔ of the pot.
Aloe likes a bit of confinement, and the smaller amount of expansion space also means less risk of too much moisture being retained by the plant.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for a more shallow pot, as aloe doesn’t root very deep and that extra soil may increase the risk of Aloe root rot.
Because aloe is a hardy plant, you can use a standard terra cotta pot or go for a cheaper plastic pot, as long as it drains well.
Pick the Right Soil For Your Aloe
Use fresh soil for the potting process.
You can choose any potting soil designed for succulents or make your own.
When mixing soil for aloe, remember they are desert plants, so they prefer nutrient-poor soil.
Be sure to add perlite or some other aggregate to ensure optimum drainage and dilute the potency of regular potting soils.
A good ratio is two parts aggregate to one part potting soil.
Potting Your Aloe
Finally, add a little soil to the bottom of the pot and lower the plant in.
Add more soil around the roots, tamping down to remove any air pockets.
Make sure the surface doesn’t expose the aloe’s roots and is properly tamped down.
Finally, avoid watering for a week to give the roots a second healing phase.