Aloe vera plants are well-known for their ability to provide comfort through application of its healing gel. But did you know that the humble Aloe Vera can help with more than just a sunburn? These unique succulents can be used in various ways in addition to the beauty they add to a home garden. The many species of aloe vera are beautifully rugged, and they do require specific care to keep the spiny plant growing strong. Let’s look at some of the fun and easy ways you can provide quality aloe vera plant care.

What Kind of Plant is Aloe Vera?

From Wikipedia

Aloe vera is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe. The name comes from two root words: “aloeh” is an Arabic word meaning bitter, and “vera” is Latin for “truth.”

An evergreen perennial, it originates from the Arabian Peninsula, but grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world. It is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses. The species is also used for decorative purposes and grows successfully indoors as a potted plant.

Contrary to a common misconception, the aloe vera plant is part of the succulent family, not the cactus family. With its spiny, spongey appendages that come in a rainbow of colors and many different shapes, the aloe plant is a very distinctive succulent. As part of the succulent family, aloe is also drought-resistant and does not fare well with high humidity. Even though aloe vera is a succulent, there are some specific care instructions just for the aloe plant that will help your aloe vera to thrive.


1. If Planting Outside Choose the Best Location

Potting aloe vera plants rather than planting them in the ground allows for flexibility in caring for your plant. If your outdoors gets no shade in the summer months, then choose a pot so you can move the aloe to a shaded but bright location during that season. If planting your aloe vera outside is the best choice for you, make sure that your plant has the right combination of bright light and soil so that the aloe will prosper.

2. Soil Matters

When planting an aloe vera, consider the drainage capability of the soil. Aloes need a soil that allows the water to effectively drain away from the plant, allowing it to dry sufficiently between waterings. If this succulent is planted in soil that holds in moisture or water, the aloe will become waterlogged and ultimately will not survive. Adding a rocky component to an otherwise dense soil can aid in drainage and will make your aloe vera plant happy.


3. Bright Light Lover

While some succulents can survive or even thrive in the shade, aloe vera plants need bright light or sunshine to grow to their potential. Place your plant in a sunny corner with indirect, bright sunlight. Like many other plants, the aloe cannot take direct hot sunlight in the warm summer months, so if it is planted, be sure to put it in a place where it will be protected from the damaging direct sunshine. If the winters are not too harsh, you can also place the aloe plant in the sunshine during the cooler months if there is no risk of frost.

4. Dry is Best

Since succulents can store water in their stems and leaves, aloe vera plants do not need much water to be happy. In fact, overwatering aloe is a real concern for new aloe vera plant owners who are used to soaking typical houseplants regularly. Instead, the aloe plant needs a thorough watering only when the soil is dry to the touch. A good soaking that is allowed to drain away naturally will provide the perfect aloe vera plant care needed to make your succulent flourish.


Don't forget to add MARPHYL Organic Soil Enhancer every other watering

Plants rely on potassium to facilitate the circulation of nutrients and on nitrogen as the essential element in photosynthesis, while the roots need phosphorus to thrive. MARPHYL® Organic Soil Enhancer is high in potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and also contains trace amounts of other nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium for optimum plant health and growth.

Add MARPHYL® Organic Soil Enhancer to the water every other time you water your aloe plant. Recommended ratio is 1:20.

Marphyl Marine Phytoplankton Natural Multi-species Soil-Enhancer 2 products beauty shot

5. Not Too Humid

These tropical plants don’t need too much water, and so it is not a stretch to guess that they do not tolerate high humidity either. Leaving an aloe in a moist environment dooms them to root rot or fungus, both can be deadly to the tender aloe. Since these succulents don’t need high humidity, move the pots away from moisture-rich environments like bathrooms. When continuous rainstorms threaten the health of the aloe, move them inside to maintain their dry condition.

6. Moderate Temperature

Just like Goldilocks, aloe plant care requires a temperature range that is not too hot and not too cold. The “just right” temperature for aloe vera plants ranges between 10-30C (50-85F). Of course, most homes inside are not kept quite that cool, but most indoor environs easily fall in that temperature range. Outdoor aloe plants can tolerate the cooler temperature range, but these plants must be brought indoors if temperatures sink below 10C (50F) or rise significantly above 30C (85F).

7. Pest Management

Just like all plants, aloe plant care requires watching out for pests that can cause harm. Mealy bugs are one of the most common insect invaders of aloes. These flat, tan-colored bugs love the juicy aloe sap inside the spikey stems, but can be removed by applying a non-toxic, natural pesticide if an infestation is found.

Another pest to watch out for is the aloe mite, or Aceria aloinis. These tiny bugs are imperceptible to the naked eye, but they cause visible warty growths on the stems and leaves of the aloe plant. Once these irreversible changes are observed in your aloe, the best bet is to remove and replace the whole plant. Since the microscopic mite is airborne, protect your other plants by removing the host plant to avoid infecting other neighboring plants.

8. Watch Me Grow

As with many types of plants, the aloe vera will grow in size as it matures. With careful observation of your burgeoning potted aloe vera plant, you may notice it growing too large for its current container. It’s time to move it to a larger pot when the leaves and root ball appear to be filling the container. A pot should be approximately three times the size of the root ball, for a healthy plant to thrive. Simply prepare the soil in the new container, pull off any weak or drooping leaves, and carefully cover your aloe in its new, larger home. Check the size expectations for your variety of aloe vera to see how large you can expect your plant to grow.


9. Making Baby Aloe Plants

One of the amazing qualities of the aloe vera is the ease in which it can be propagated, or regrown. Propagating new “baby” plants that jump off and sprout near the main plant is easy. Remove them carefully from the soil to avoid tearing the roots, but only during the high growing seasons of spring and summer to protect this new growth. Dry the leaves for a few days to protect the sap from seeping out, then use a sandy potting mix to jumpstart them into new, full grown plants. Mist them occasionally to avoid overwatering to encourage future growth. Snipping off a few leaves and propagating those sometimes is successful as well if you don’t have any volunteers jumping out of the main plant to use.

You can always add MARPHYL® Organic Soil Enhancer to the water when misting the plants to help them during the propagation stage. The same ratio of 1:20 is recommended.