Aloe Vera Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners by Gardener's HQ

Article by Dean Ravenscroft, Ph.D. - Updated 15th Feb 2024

At a Glance: Aloe vera - (Aloe Vera, Medicinal Aloe)
  • Plant Characteristics: Aloe vera has thick fleshy green leaves that contain a soothing gel that is widely used for medicinal purposes. This succulent plant helps to add a sculptural element to indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Growing & Care: Prefers bright, indirect sunlight and a well-drained soil. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings (as it is susceptible to root rot). Plants require minimal fertilization.
  • Tips for New Gardeners: An excellent plant for beginners, Aloe vera is easy to care for and is thought useful for treating minor burns and skin irritations. It is perfect for growing in pots, but be careful not to overwater, which is a common mistake and will have detrimental results.

Aloe vera, also known as Barbedos Aloe, is a perennial herb belonging to the Asphodelaceae (lower Asparagales; Asparagus plants family.

It is an evergreen plant that is native to Arabia, and thrives in USDA zones 10 to 12. Plants typically grow to about two to three feet tall (0.6 to 0.9 m).

Barbados aloe
Aloe vera otonal photograph by Francisco Floreal Artese.

Aloe is a seasonal bloomer that produces bright yellow flowers in the summer.

Many people love it because it is a hardy herb that easily grows indoors as a houseplant with minimal watering.

Aloe Species

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing COMM

Aloe vera is propagated from shoots or pups that grow at the base of established plants.

If you intend to grow it indoors, plant the shoots in pots with a hole in the base to enhance drainage and aeration.

For garden plants, observe a spacing of 16 by 18 inches (40 x 45 cm) so that each plant has enough space to expand.

Aloe vera grows on most soils but prefers sandy, well-drained loams.

Water once every week following planting, but increase the interval to two weeks once it has taken root.

Aloe vera botanical drawing
Aloe vera botanical drawing sourced from the Biodiversity Heritage Library by Rawpixel Ltd; CC.

Outdoors Aloe vera is a drought-tolerant herb that requires moderate watering in the summer, fall, and spring, but will be fine in the winter.

Remove weeds every month when the plants are young, you can increase the interval to six months for mature plants.

Common pests of Aloe vera include scale, and mealy bugs, which can be repelled with vinegar and other organic remedies.

Aloe vera does not require inorganic fertilizers, but you should mix the soil with organic matter to improve its texture and water retention.

You can however use compound fertilizers if you are growing it in bulk commercially.

Harvesting involves cutting the succulent leaves to extract the slimy sap. The sap has medicinal uses in skincare and for treating mild burns and cuts.

Aloe vera flowers
Wilf growing Aloe vera flowers in bloom photograph by Tracie Hall; CC.

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Aloe vera Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Aloe vera.
  • Common Name: Barbados aloe.
  • Growing Zone: USA: 9 to 11.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Herbaceous, Indoor Plant, Perennial, Succulents and Cacti.

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 12 to 24.
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 12 to 36.
  • Time of Bloom: Late spring to early summer.
  • Flower Details: Orange, Yellow.
  • Leaf Foliage: Green, Silvery, Variegated.
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight, with occasional shade.
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained.
  • Soil Moisture: Dry to Moist (Medium Moisture is likely gives best results).

Caring Conditions

  • Care: Plants require minimal watering, let soil dry out between watering. Provide a weak liquid fertilizer in the warmer months.< /li>
  • Level of Maintenance: Low, but don't over-water.
  • Propagation: Seeds sown with heat as soon as ripe or from offsets.
  • How to Prune: Not usually required.
  • Pests: Scale insects and mealybugs.
  • Diseases: Usually pest free.

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Birds and bees when blooming.
  • Tolerant of: Drought, poor soil.
  • Best Garden Use: Container, Ground cover, Rock garden.
  • Family: Asphodelaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Asphodelus.
  • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Periodic blooms, Attractive flowers / blooms.
  • Genus Detail: Aloe species.
  • Further Reading and References: Here.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow succulents such as Aloe vera. You may also enjoy the following growing guides on How to grow succulents such as: Senecio articulatus and Mesembryanthemum.

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