Aloe Barbadensis (AL-oh bar-buh-DEN-sis), aka Aloe Vera, is a succulent plant native to Africa. Over 250 species of this plant exist, ranging in size from 2″ inches to 2′ feet in diameter.
Succulents like the Aloe Barbadensis are very trendy across North America. There are many types of Aloe that come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are available at most garden centers at reasonable prices.
Aloe varieties are water-retentive plants composed of 80% water. They grow a ribbed fleshy leaf from one short stem.
Aloe vera is most known for its use as a skin soother. Most commonly, the fluid within the leaves treats sunburn.
Watering Aloe Plants
Aloe plants can be sensitive to water, though they need an ample supply at select times. Avoid over-soaking the roots, which will result in root rot.
Water more often during summer months and less frequently during the winter.
Check the appearance of your aloe plant to ensure you are not over or under watering it. This will be visible in the plants’ appearance.
When To Water Aloe Plants
Aloe plants have different watering needs throughout the year.
During the summer months, Aloes growing indoors need watering about every three weeks. But, this may change depending on the particular circumstances of your Aloe.
During winter, plants go into a hibernation state, consuming less water. Watering every three weeks will be too much, so cut back to once a month or every four weeks.
Location, container type, lighting, and potting soil type will also influence your watering schedule.
NOTE: The best type of soil mixture is a well-draining potting mix, which you’ll find in cactus planting soil.
When setting your watering schedule, consider the location of your aloe plant. Aloes love bright indirect light indoors.
If located in a bright area with intense light next to a window, it may need more frequent watering.
Soil type and soil conditions will influence water schedules. Aloe plants thrive in soil with superior drainage, such as soil containing:
- Coarse sand
- Granite grit or Pumice
- Tree bark
Cactus soil mix is an ideal potting mix for aloe plants. Always use a pot with a drainage hole.
Aloe may do fine in regular draining soil. The plants will need less watering due to excess moisture. Avoid overwatering can lead to root damage and root rot.
How To Water An Aloe Plant
The aloe root system is very shallow.
If you repot your Aloe, choose a broad, shallow bowl instead of a deeper pot. This type of container helps the watering become more effective.
Use an ample supply of water and adjust depending on the size of your plant. Give it a good dose, then leave it to dry out.
You should feel at least two inches of dry soil when testing it with your finger before watering it again.
If you neglect to water an aloe for an extended time, allowing the soil to become bone dry, it will most likely recover.
Water at the roots of your aloe plant. Avoid getting water on the leaves or watering via a spray bottle.
Signs of an overwatered aloe:
- Leaves fall off
- Soggy texture
Under-watered succulents can become soft and wrinkly, displaying wilted looking leaves.
Like most other houseplants, aloes may be sensitive to minerals found in tap water, such as calcium and magnesium. Fluoride, common in city water, can also pose a problem.
If you notice your Aloe is sensitive to this kind of water, switch to rainwater or distilled water.
Aloe plants need infrequent but deep watering. Make sure the top two inches of the soil are dry before watering. Soak your Aloe but be sure that its roots are not sitting in water.
Water less during the winter months. Check the appearance of your Aloe for overwatering or underwatering.
Rainwater or distilled water is preferable, but if your aloe plant seems to be doing okay with tap water, then don’t change anything.