Aloe vera is both popular and easy to grow, provided you understand the level of water and sun that mimics the hot climate this plant thrives in. Unusually for a succulent, the aloe plant cannot be grown from a leaf cutting, and instead is typically propagated by detaching younger clone plants from the base of the adult plant or from the joint root system.
Know when to transplant. Aloe plants have relatively short roots and heavy leaves, so they are commonly moved to a heavier pot when they become top-heavy and tip over. If Aloe vera runs out of space for its roots to grow, it may start to produce “pups” that can be moved to their own pot (see the Propagating section). If you are more interested in the adult plant growing than producing new plants, transplant it to a larger pot before the roots begin to circle the walls of its container.
- If you wish to transplant a young plant growing at the base of an older one, see the Propagating section instead.
Give the plant adequate sunlight and warmth. Aloe vera plants prefer 8–10 hours of sunlight a day.
While they grow best in warm or hot temperatures, they are capable of surviving cooler seasons in a more dormant state. However, they may suffer harm if exposed to temperatures below 25ºF (-4ºC).
- Hardiness zones 9, 10, and 11 are most suitable for keeping Aloe vera outdoors year-round.
- If you live in another zone, you may wish to keep your Aloe vera outdoors most of the year and bring it indoors before the frost.
- The sunniest windows are those facing west or south if you live in the northern hemisphere, or those facing west or north if you live in the southern hemisphere.
- Despite the plant’s adaptations that allow it to thrive in hot conditions, it is still possible to burn the plant. Move it to an area of light shade if the leaves begin to turn brown.
Plant the Aloe vera in well-draining soil. Aloe vera plants are adapted for survival in dry conditions and may rot if planted in soil that collects standing water. Use a cactus potting mix, or create your own mix using equal parts soil, sand, and gravel.
- If planting Aloe vera in a container, make sure the container has a hole in the base for water to drain through.