When you imagine aloe vera plant, you typically imagine it outside, in the garden, or even somewhere in the backyard. It is true that aloes belong to most resilient succulent plants. They grow well outdoors, and you can grow them anywhere from Americas to Asia. But can you keep aloe vera at home? Can this plant thrive indoors too? And if it can, what you have to do to make it happen? I will try to answer your questions on the following lines.
Let me start with good news: Aloe vera plant can thrive and grow well indoors, as long as it gets its basic needs. To make sure that aloes are safe from any growth issues, the key is to use a fast-draining soil, pot with a drainage hole, appropriate watering technique, and sufficient light source. Let’s have a look at each of these in a bit of detail.
1. Fast-draining soil is a best friend of aloe vera indoors
Aloes do not like too much water. Overwatering can certainly affect their growth. It can even kill them if it is severe, and the issue persists for some time. Overwatering is the most common issue in indoor succulents. The main reason is that the soil inside the house takes time to dry due to the lower temperature, when compared to typical consitions outside, in the natural habitat of aloe.
I recommend you to use fast-draining soil. Soil like this is designed to retain just enough moisture to supply the need of the plant, and keep it safe from excessive amount of water that will only harm your plant. The good news is that a fast-draining succulent soil mix is easy to get. You can buy it online too if you want (click here to check my recommended succulent soil on Amazon).
You can make your own soil if you have enough time and resources. I have written a complete guide on this topic. You can read my tutorial here. But if you do not have enough time, buying ready-to-plant commercial succulent soil is the best way to go.
2. Pot with a drainage hole is a must for aloe vera indoors
Aside from fast-draining soil, using a pot with a drainage hole is the second most important thing to remember when growing aloes indoors. You do not want the excess water to be stuck at the bottom of the pot. It has to drain through the drainage hole–and that’s exactly why you need the right pot. Stuck water at the bottom of the pot will cause root rot. This will eventually kill the plants.
Don’t get me wrong here, aloes can grow in pots without holes especially if you know what you are doing. Seasoned growers do use pots without drainage holes. But if you want to keep things simple, or are just starting with succulents, I recommend that you always use a pot with a drainage hole.
I also recommend that you put a saucer beneath the pot. This will catch the draining water. It will be helpful especially when you place the plant in the living room. The last thing you want to is to find your beautiful expensive Persian carpet soaked with water from the plant… After watering, do not forget to empty the saucer.
3. Appropriate watering technique can save your aloe
Now that you have the right soil and the right pot, the next thing to keep in mind is the correct way of watering aloe vera plants indoors. The key is to regulate the amount of water you give to your indoor aloes. They get just enough amount of water.
However, no one can tell you how much water exactly is enough. The strategy I use for all my succulent plants is the soak and dry method. If you are reading my other articles, you might have noticed that I am a big fan of the soak and dry watering technique, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is super easy. All you need to do is to completely soak the soil when watering. Allow the excess water to drain. Then water again only when the soil is completely dry.
The second thing that I love about this watering method is that it works well with all succulents and in all climates. Because you only water when the soil is completely dry, you will easily avoid over-watering. Also, the watering frequency depends on the moisture in the soil. This means that during the warm season, watering frequency is higher than in the cold season.
4. Aloes love light and need it also indoors
Growing aloe plants outdoors is hassle-free. These plants love bright direct or indirect light. If you are growing them indoors, however, you need to make sure that they get enough light. I like to place my aloes and other succulent plants near the window that has access to sunlight.
This is a great option during summer. However, when winter comes, it may not work, especially if you live in a similar place as I do, a place where sun is a rare visitor during winter months. The absence of consistent sunlight in winter can be detrimental to aloes.
In this case, I use grow light for my indoor succulents (click here to check my recommended grow light on Amazon). Grow light does a very good job of providing light to the plants during winter. If you don’t like spending money for grow light (though I think it is a good investment), you can simply use fluorescent as an alternative. Just make sure that you set up everything right.
5. Fertilize the plant once in a while only
Aloe vera plants do not need a super nutritious growing medium. They do well in a good succulent soil mix. However, giving them a few extra nutrients won’t harm them either. I like to fertilize my succulent plants at least once a year. I do it in summer when they are actively growing. Avoid fertilizing your aloe plants in winter when they are dormant. But again, adding fertilizer to the soil is optional. I have aloe plants that I do not fertilize at all, and I cannot say they are doing worse than those plants I fertilize once a year…
Aloes are a great addition to any garden, for both their esthetic value and health benefits. Who would not want to have at least one in their place? If you are new to growing aloes, however, you may wonder whether they can thrive indoors as well.
And now you should know that they can thrive indoors, as long as you five them some care. Make sure that you use the correct soil, pot, give just enough amount of water, and sufficient light to your plants. Aloes are low-maintenance plants perfect for your busy daily schedule. They need little, and give back a lot… I wish you happy growing!
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