You probably know that aloe plants are popular houseplants. But did you know you can grow aloe plants outside? Join us as we detail how to keep aloe plants healthy and happy outdoors.
Aloe Plant Basics
Aloe plants consist of over 650 species of succulent species in the Aloe genus. Many of these species are grown at home, but Aloe vera is the most popular.
These plants are native regions in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian Ocean.
Aloe Plant Care
Aloe plants prefer well-drained soil that is allowed to dry slightly between waterings. They hate sitting in wet soil, so individuals should be sure to avoid overwatering. Due to their succulent leaves, they can tolerate brief periods of drought.
As far as lights go, aloe plants like lots of it. They should be kept in an area that receives at least six hours of bright sunshine each day. Both indirect and direct sunlight are acceptable.
Since these plants are native to warm regions, they should be kept in areas with air temperatures above 60F.
Growing Aloe Outdoors
Since aloe plants are not cold tolerant, you should only grow them outdoors if you live in a warm region. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9–11, you can plant aloe outdoors.
If you are growing the plants in the ground, choose a location that receives at least six hours of sun each day. Dappled sunlight is fine.
Next, look for an area that is well-draining. While rocky or sandy soil is fine for aloe plants, boggy areas are not.
If the soil in your desired planting location appears compacted or poorly draining, loosen it with a digging fork and then mix in compost, sand, and/or perlite. This will help increase drainage.
Keep an eye on the soil moisture and water only when the top two inches of the soil have dried. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you should be aware that aloe plants may not thrive outdoors (and will often droop when overly saturated).
If you find your plants are rotting, a better option may be to place them in a container on a deck or porch.
Moving Potted Aloe Plants Outdoors
If you live in a cooler climate, you should avoid planting aloe plants directly in the ground. However, you can move potted aloe plants outdoors in warmer weather!
When temperatures remain above 60ºF during the day and night, you can begin moving your aloe plants outdoors. It’s best to slowly acclimate the plants to their new homes to avoid stress.
To do so, move the plants outdoors for just an hour or two, then return them indoors. Gradually increase the amount of time the plants are outside until they can spend a continuous 24 hours outdoors.
When temperatures fall below 60ºF, it’s time to move your aloe plants back indoors. For more, see our in-depth guide to aloe plant care over winter. Late winter is also the best time to split and transplant aloe plants if desired.
Common Problems Outdoor Aloe Plants Face
Outdoor aloe plants are susceptible to many of the same issues as indoor aloe plants.
Keep an eye out for sap-sucking pests, including aphids, thrips, and spider mites. While a few pests won’t cause much damage, these tiny pests can quickly multiply and take over an aloe plant.
If you spot any of these pests, you can remove them with a soapy rag. However, larger infestations may need to be sprayed with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Overly hot or humid environments can also attract common aloe plant pests and fungal diseases, which may cause brown spots on your aloe plant leaves.
Outdoor aloe plants may be especially susceptible to root rot if your area receives a lot of rain. Wet soil will increase the chances a plant develops this fungal disease and display signs of yellowing or brown leaves.
If you find that your plant has developed root rot, dig up the plant and trim off infected portions of the roots. You should then move the aloe plant to a drier area.
In addition, aloe plants are considered toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets, so it’s prudent to keep them out of reach where possible.
Grow Aloe Plants Outdoors
Whether you grow them indoors or outdoors, aloe plants can make great additions to your home, and they’re also rich in meaning and symbolism. Remember to use well-draining soil and move the plants indoors when cold temperatures appear, and your aloe should thrive for years to come.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.