Aloe Vera Care Guide: Watering, Fertilizing, and Trimming

Aloe vera, a versatile plant with both decorative and medicinal uses, is cherished by many. Discover how to optimize the growth of your succulent with expert care tips. From watering techniques to fertilization and trimming methods, here’s everything you need to know to ensure a thriving Aloe vera plant.

Person caring for aloe vera plant
With the right care, Aloe vera will grow into a strong, healthy plant (Photo: Ali Efe Yilmaz/ Shutterstock.com)

Aloe vera’s resilience is remarkable, as it requires minimal effort to flourish. Let’s delve into the essential aspects of caring for an Aloe vera plant.

Watering Your Aloe Vera Plant

Being a succulent, Aloe vera stores water in its leaves, enabling it to withstand extended periods without hydration. Consequently, it does not require frequent watering and is sensitive to excessive moisture, which can lead to root rot. While it’s crucial to maintain soil moisture, ensuring it never completely dries out, adequate drainage is equally vital.

When watering Aloe vera, avoid allowing water to run over the leaves, as this can create a breeding ground for fungal growth. Opt for low-calcium water, such as rainwater or mineral water, to protect the plant’s well-being.

How Often Should You Water Aloe Vera?

Typically, watering your Aloe vera plant once a week is sufficient. To determine if it’s time to water, employ the finger test: if the soil surface feels dry, it’s time to hydrate your plant.

Take special care when watering young Aloe plants, as their leaves have limited water storage capacity. They require smaller, more frequent doses of water.

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During the colder months in the UK, Aloe vera enters a dormant stage. Adjust the watering frequency accordingly to prevent the root ball from drying out while avoiding excessive moisture, which can lead to root rot.

Watering can pouring water on aloe plant leaves
Common mistake when watering Aloe vera: water can collect in the rosette heart and promote fungal growth (Photo: sundaemorning/ Shutterstock.com)

Fertilizing Aloe Vera

Originating from arid regions in the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe vera has adapted to thrive with minimal sustenance. While Aloe vera generally requires little fertilization, occasional feeding can be beneficial, especially when utilizing the plant’s healing properties. Fertilizers aid in post-trimming recovery, resulting in robust, gel-filled leaves.

During the growing season, apply fertilizer approximately once every two weeks. Combining fertilization with watering ensures even distribution of nutrients throughout the soil, fostering optimal growth. Consider using our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food, an excellent choice boasting a balanced nutrient mix, sustainable composition, and enhanced nutrient absorption facilitated by beneficial microorganisms.

Avoid fertilizing newly transplanted Aloe vera plants, as the fresh soil provides ample nutrients. Likewise, refrain from fertilizing during the winter dormancy period, spanning from October to April.

Trimming Aloe Vera

While trimming is not mandatory for Aloe vera plants, it helps shape the plant and prevents excessive growth or spreading. Focus on removing mature outer leaves and promptly eliminate any diseased or damaged foliage.

For those seeking Aloe vera’s medicinal benefits, regular harvesting of the outer leaves is paramount to extract the gel. Ideally, opt for plants older than three years, as they possess larger, sturdier leaves containing a higher gel content. These older plants recover more efficiently from the harvest and exhibit accelerated leaf regeneration.

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Garden shears being used to cut Aloe leaf
To extract gel, cut the leaves of the Aloe vera with garden shears (Photo: gob_cu/ Shutterstock.com)

Troubleshooting: Aloe Vera Turning Brown

Occasionally, Aloe vera leaves may exhibit brown, greyish-purple, or pale discoloration. Several factors can contribute to this occurrence.

Brown discoloration of older, outer leaves is a natural progression as new inner leaves emerge. Similarly, post-transplantation discolouration is temporary, as the plant adapts to its new environment.

Inadequate nutrient availability can also cause brown leaves. If your Aloe vera has not been transplanted recently, consider repotting it to replenish the nutrient reservoir.

Red-brown leaves indicate excessive sun exposure and high temperatures. If the leaf tips become dry, relocate your Aloe vera to a shadier spot. The leaves will gradually regain their healthy green hue.

Aloe vera plant with brown leaves
Various factors can contribute to Aloe vera leaves turning brown (Photo: Alex Dmr/ Shutterstock.com)

Persistent issues require further attention. If younger leaves turn brown or yellow, waterlogging may be the underlying problem. Refrain from watering for one to two weeks to allow the root ball to dry out, particularly if the leaves feel soft when gently compressed. Remove and dispose of discolored, soft leaves to prevent fungal growth.

Common causes of brown leaves on Aloe vera include natural growth processes, recent transplantations, depleted soil nutrients, excessive sunlight, and overwatering.

For more information on optimal planting locations, propagation techniques, and additional care practices for Aloe vera plants, visit Ames Farm Center.

Remember, with proper care, your Aloe vera plant will thrive and provide an abundance of benefits for years to come.

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