Aloe Vera plants belong to the succulent family. Just like other succulents, they store water in their leaves and stems, which allows them to survive longer periods of drought, which are typical for they native land–the semi-desert areas of southern Africa and Arabic peninsula.
As it is always the case, however, a strength of a plant can quickly turn into a weakness. This characteristic of Aloe Vera also makes the plants vulnerable to overwatering. And just like other succulent species, you can kill your beautiful aloe if you water it too much.
So, how much water does this amazing plant with medicinal benefits need? The truth is no one can tell you the exact amount of water that aloes need. It depends on many factors, and the two most important are size of the plant and climate. Before watering, make sure that you check the moisture in the soil. Aloes do not like too much water. water the plant only if the soil is completely dry. Most importantly, make sure you use the right soil for your succulents. Using a quality fast draining succulent potting mix such as this one on Amazon, you immediately reduce the chances of over-watering your aloe by more than 50%. And that’s no little number…
Electronic moisture meter can help you if you cannot determine whether the soil is really dry
If you do not like sticking your finger into a soil, or simply do not have a good feel for it, you can use electronic moisture meter (click here to check my recommended moisture meter on Amazon). In my opinion, this is the best way to check moisture of the soil, especially if you have many plants. The device is pretty affordable too.
But if you do not want to spend money, you can go with the basic–putting your finger inside, and seeing whether the soil sticks to it–if it does, it means it is still wet. Another alternative is weighing the pot when the soil is dry, jotting down the actual weight of the pot. Next time you’ll want to water your aloe vera plants, check the weight of the pot first. If it is heavier than it was with dry soil, it means there is still water in the soil.
So how much water do aloe vera plants actually need?
Let’go back to this question. Although there is no general rule on how much water you give to your aloe plants, you can use something to measure the amount water. For instance a measuring cup. This works well, especially for small plants. All you need to do is to pour a cup of water into the soil of the pot and let it drains down to the bottom of the pot. Add more cups as necessary. As soon as you see water draining down, stop watering.
However, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole, as it allows the excess water to drain. If the pot has no drainage hole as you got it from the shop, you can drill a hole in the bottom of it. After watering your succulent, take note of the amount of water you gave to your aloe. Now you can use it as a benchmark for your next watering.
What’s the best time to water aloe vera plants?
You can find different recommendations online when it comes to watering aloe vera. Someone says in the morning, someone says in the night, and so on. In my opinion, the best time to water aloes is simply when their soil gets completely dry. Be it in the morning, afternoon, night–doesn’t matter much.
When you only water aloes when the soil dries, watering depends on the moisture of the soil, and not on some artificial schedule we people follow but plants don’t. Because there are many factors that affect the presence of moisture in the soil, the watering frequency may vary depending on the season, and also the actual weather in your place.
As a rule of a thumb watering is more frequent in summer than in winter. But you know that sometimes we have rainy summers. And if it is the case, it rains all the time and there is a lot of humidity in the air, it makes no sense forcing watering of plants, just because you did not water them for 7 days or whatever.
How to make sure you won’t overwater your aloe vera
I already mentioned that the soak and dry watering technique keeps the aloe vera plants safe from overwatering. While it is true, you need to keep on your mind two other things. First one is using fast-draining soil for succulents for your aloe vera plants.
When you use regular garden soil it retains too much water and the rooting system of the plant will start to rot. Hence I always recommend using well-draining soil. It does not only provide good drainage but also aeration to the plants.
The second thing is to always use a pot with a drainage hole. The excess water should come out of the pot through the hole at the bottom of it. If there is no hole, the water stays inside, soak-and-dry watering technique makes no sense, and you’ll have problems with your plants…
How long can aloe vera survive without water?
Aloe vera plants are resilient and can survive for weeks or months without water. However, it is important to remember that their capacity to survive in drought depends on environmental factors. Remember that although aloes are tolerant to drought, they cannot survive without water for too long. Like other plants and any other living organisms, they will die in the absence of water.
I also believe that your goal isn’t to merely make sure your plants “survive”. You want your aloe vera to thrive, and in order to make it happen, you should not make experiments about how long it can survive without water.
Like other succulent species, aloe plants need water in moderate quantity. But there is no exact measurement and nobody can tell you the exact amount of water aloe plants need, and how often you should water them. However, if you follow the soak and dry watering technique, you should be safe, and your plants should thrive.
I hope you enjoy your succulents, and invite you to check my complete guide on succulent growing. Thank you!