When it comes to watering Aloe Vera Plants there are many things to consider and factor in. The questions that often get asked are…When should i water my Aloe Vera Plant? Am i over watering my Aloe Vera plant? My leaves are turning brown, red or yellow, is this a watering problem? How long can I let my Aloe go without water?
Llet me first start with a few basic Aloe notes on what Aloe Vera plants like and what they don’t like.
First; Aloes like to enjoy a dry period but they don’t like to be dehydrated! Aloes can handle more water than you realize. Let the plants slowly take in the water until their leaves are plump and full of that miraculous gel. It won’t happen over night but give it some time and adjust watering accordingly to your climate.
Secondly; Aloes like a good draining soil, but i have learned that in dry, hot, climates, any good potting soil will do well if the Aloe is in a small pot. I typically use a cactus mix or a well drained sandy soil for larger pots.
Now down to the questions. When Should I Water My Aloe Plant?
The best indication as to when you should water your Aloe plant should be determined by feeling the soil. Stick your finger in the soil about 2-3 inches and feel for dryness. Adjust to the pot size; Little pots/plants check the soil 1-2 inches and big pots/plants go deeper 3-4 inches or maybe a little more. Check the soil in a few different areas for dryness and make sure there is no moisture before watering again. Depending on the size of the pot or where it’s planted in the ground it’s not uncommon for one portion of the soil to be dryer than another portion so give the soil a couple checks near the base of the plant.
So How Dry is Dry enough?
This is where a lot of people get stuck. Soil that’s just a little moist tends to be a little darker and sticks to your fingers more than dry soil. Often people compare the dryness of the soil to the wetness right after a good watering and think that the soil is very dry in comparison when checked days later. This is where over-watering problems often occur and people get confused because the soil seems dry by comparison. Keep it simple and stick to the rule of thumb. The soil needs to be completely dry. Aloe roots aren’t very long so if you have your Aloe plant in a tall pot or if it’s planted in the ground just stick to the finger check mentioned earlier and feel the soil. It shouldn’t be the slightest bit moist. It should be dry and you should give the plant a few days to enjoy the dryness before watering again. Pay attention to the tips of the plant and adjust your watering so that the leaves are plump with Aloe gel.
My leaves are turning brown, red or yellow…
Is this a watering problem?
Red and Brown or redish brown tones can be a result of too much sun, too much water or root damage. It’s sometimes difficult to tell but if you’re paying attention to what you’re doing the answer can usually be the result of a change of environment, stress, soil or watering schedule. I’ll spend more time talking about sun versus shade issues in another topic which can also attribute to the color changes. The best thing to do when there is a negative change on your plant such as color, try adjusting something such as less water or moving sun in/out of shade and watch it closely for two weeks to see if there has been a change. Don’t be impatient, give it time to react, maybe two weeks, then you’ll know what’s working. Every plant is different and has it’s own personality so utilize some of the general rules and mix it with your own observations to come up with the best situation for your Aloe plant. If you purchased an Aloe Vera plant inside a store or from within a green house it’s probably used to shade so the plant may go into shock if placed in full sun right away. You’ll need to give the Aloe a chance to adjust by slowly nudging it into it’s new environment.
Yellow can be seen in two common areas. Tips or edges start getting yellow and then dark spots on the yellow, this is usually a sunburn issue but if the entire plant is turning a yellow shade then it could be lacking sun and not e producing enough chlorophyll. Just pay attention to the change you make and watch your plant closely over the next two weeks. Aloe Vera plants are hardy plants and can survive in extreme conditions, but with proper care they will thrive.
How long can I let my Aloe plant go without water?
Aloes can go a long time without water, weeks and months depending on the health of the Aloe and the heat of it’s environment. The plump aloe leaves retain water so they can go extended periods of time without water. Follow the rules for letting the soil dry out completely before next watering and give your Aloes a few days to enjoy the completely dry soil. A typical rule of thumb is a couple of times a month give or take depending on the climate and weather conditions. If in full sun and a hot climate such as Southern California, an Aloe Vera in a small plant might need a good watering once a week or once every five days. Bigger pots will hold more moisture and take longer to dry out.