Aloe vera is undoubtedly one of the most popular houseplants we sell here at Plant Perfect, and it really comes as no surprise. Not only are their spiky, green, fleshy leaves super attractive, but they're praised as one of the easiest houseplants to own and also come with the added bonus of amazing healing properties you can harvest right from your own home! To soothe and heal minor cuts, scrapes, and burns, simply snip off one of the plant's fleshy spikes, drain the gel, and apply the white, fleshy inside part to the affected area.
The first thing every new plant needs is a home. While it might be tempting to pick a container that matches your interior decor, it's important to consider your plant's growing conditions as well. As a succulent plant, aloe vera doesn't tolerate super wet soils, so drainage holes are an absolute must. Porous pots, like terra cotta, aren't always best suited for houseplants, but they're actually ideal for aloe as they will help keep the soil relatively dry.
Drainage holes are important, but they aren't enough to filter out excess water alone. Planting your aloe in well-draining soil is equally as important to ensure the soil doesn't retain too much moisture. Choose a potting mix made specifically for succulents and cacti for ample drainage.
Once your plant is nestled into its new pot, find a home for its home! Place your aloe vera near a window with bright light-ideally, one that's facing south or west. These succulents love to soak up the sun, but be careful to watch for burning leaves if your plant is placed too close to the window.
After you get your aloe vera plant settled into your houseplant collection, the hardest part is done-depending on how you look at it. Aloe vera pretty much thrives on neglect, so if you find it hard to love your houseplants from a distance, this part might be challenging. Other than the occasional watering, the best thing for your plant is to leave it alone and appreciate its independence.
Overwatering is the most common problem people tend to have with aloe vera. When you do water your plant, make sure to do so thoroughly. Although aloe vera doesn't like wet soil, it would rather infrequent, deep waterings every 2-3 weeks, over a regular watering schedule that will keep the soil consistently moist. As long as you allow the top few inches of soil to dry out completely first, and you don't let the plant sit in excess water, it'll be able to handle the more thorough watering. Keep an eye out for any signs of overwatering, like limp foliage or discoloration, and adjust your watering schedule as needed.
Aside from soil, sunlight, and water, there really isn't anything else your aloe vera plant will need. It'll soak up all the nutrients it needs right from the potting soil, so you don't even have to worry about fertilizer!
Over time, you'll notice that your aloe begins to sprout new plant offsets which we adorably call "pups". You can leave the pups where they are and they'll happily grow alongside each other, though you may need to consider transplanting your plant if it outgrows its pot. You can also remove the pups once they reach about a fifth of the size of the mother plant, you can cut them away with sharp shears and re-plant them in a new pot. Unlike most transplants, avoid watering the pups right away to help them "settle"-they'll be much better off establishing themselves in dry soil for a few weeks first.
If you've got limited space for (another) new houseplant, consider dividing your pups anyways and gifting them to your family, friends, or coworkers. For anyone with a green thumb, there is no better gift-especially since we won't be seeing much green, other than your aloe vera and other houseplants, around Bismarck for the next few months!
Aloe vera is a great choice for any houseplant collector. It's easy enough for novice growers but interesting enough for experienced ones, it's small enough for cramped homes yet impressive enough for larger spaces, and it's a must-have for growers who see value in its natural healing abilities. Stop into Plant Perfect this week and grab yourself a new aloe plant!