The Aloe genus is full of memorable plants, from the humble Aloe vera to the more exotic varieties grown exclusively outdoors. While they may be succulents with firm flesh and sap in each leaf, they’re also susceptible to overwatering. These plants come from dry habitats that don’t offer a lot of water. Make sure you’re giving your Aloe plants the right amount of water with these essential tips on when and how to water Aloe plants at home.
- When and How to Water Aloe Plants – The Essentials
- About Aloe Plants
- The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
- What Type of Water is Best for Aloe Plants?
- When to Water Aloe Plants
- How to Water Aloe Plants
- Signs You Might be Underwatering Your Aloe Plants
- Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Aloe Plants
- What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
- Watering Aloe Plants FAQs:
- Wrapping Up
When and How to Water Aloe Plants – The Essentials
For optimal care and healthy growth, Aloe plants should only be watered when the soil base is at least 75% dried out. This typically equates to watering your Aloe plant every 10 to 14 days in spring and summer and every 14 to 28 days during the winter months. For accurate measurement, utilize a moisture probe or simple stick test.
About Aloe Plants
There are hundreds of plants in the Aloe genus, with the Aloe vera plant being the best-known among them. Most of the varieties that are sized for indoor growing need the same care, making it easier to learn to provide for them.
Aloe vera is native to the Arabian peninsula and has naturalized across Africa, the Mediterranean, and some parts of North America.
No matter where they grow, these plants are native to dry and hot areas with little natural rainfall. This is the primary reason they are succulents that store water in their thick leaves. It’s still popular today as a skincare ingredient.
The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
Water plays an important role in supporting plant health and growth, even though it’s not quite as important as sunlight.
Plants like the Aloe need plenty of water to keep their cells plump, which ensures their leaves are crisp and stems stay firm enough to support the weight. Without enough water, all plants become limp and unable to stand up on their own. Even climbing and twining vines need enough water to keep their stems and leaves upright.
The Aloe plant may only need occasional watering, but it does rely on its water supply to hold up its thick and somewhat heavy leaves. Without enough water, your Aloe’s leaves get soft, floppy, and visibly wilted.
Recently propagated aloe plants can also grow in water.
What Type of Water is Best for Aloe Plants?
Aloe plants aren’t very picky when it comes to water. They don’t like a lot of minerals or chlorine in the water, so you may want to filter well water if it is hard or let tap water stand. This evaporates any chlorine or other chemicals added for sterilization.
Lukewarm or cold water is fine as long as the plants are in a warm environment. You may want to collect rainwater for your Aloe plants to get a neutral water source free from minerals and chemicals.
When to Water Aloe Plants
Aloe plants need occasional watering with a chance to dry out between applications. Overwatering is much more common than underwatering, so err on the side of keeping things dry.
How Do You Know When an Aloe Plant Needs Watering?
Testing the soil around the plant is the best way to know when it’s time to water an Aloe. Trying to water on a schedule doesn’t work well with this plant.
It may absorb a lot of water in just a week or two during hot and dry conditions and then only need watering once a month for the rest of the year. Check the soil and only water when it’s dry through the top 2 or 3 inches at least.
Try to water before the plant wilts or starts turning yellow, indicating a lack of moisture.
How to Check When to Water Aloe Plants
For the most reliable test of an Aloe’s water level, stick your finger right in the pot or the soil around the plant. Your second knuckle on your finger will easily indicate an average of three inches, helping you decide when the soil is dry enough to water.
A moisture meter with a metal probe can also help you determine when the soil has dried out. For a quick check, try to get used to the weight of the pot when it’s wet and when it’s dried out. Then you can simply lift the pot to determine if it’s getting time for watering.
How Often Do Aloe Plants Typically Need Watering?
Aloe plants rarely need watering more than once or twice a month unless the conditions are very dry. You may need to water it once every two weeks or weekly during the peak of summer.
Environmental Considerations That May Impact Watering Cycles
Growing Aloe in a hot climate or placing it near an air conditioning or heater vent can increase the need for watering. Poor draining soil mixes may lead to a need for watering even less than once a month.
Seasonal Considerations That May Affect Watering Cycles
Aloe plants generally use more water in the spring and summer and then less over the fall and winter. That’s why it’s best to check the soil for the actual moisture level rather than trying to guess when to water.
How to Water Aloe Plants
You have a few options for watering your Aloe plants when it’s time for it.
Options and Techniques
Both top-down and bottom-up watering will work for Aloe plants. Since they need a thorough soaking when it does come time to add water, you may even want to combine both methods.
Top Down Watering
Pouring the water in with a long-necked watering can ensure you reach the roots and avoid splashing water on the leaves. Aloe plants don’t want much water trapped between their leaves and stems since it can lead to disease or rot issues.
For bottom watering, you sit the Aloe’s pot in a container or bucket that’s filled with water. Aim to have the water level reach about 70% of the way up the pot’s sides for optimal absorption. Give the Aloe about 5 minutes of soaking and take it out, then check that the soil is wet at the three-inch mark below the surface.
Dealing with Excess Water
Let the pot sit and drain into a bigger container before returning it to its tray or saucer. Keeping the Aloe in a soggy saucer will only lead to root rot issues.
Signs You Might be Underwatering Your Aloe Plants
When the Aloe doesn’t get enough water, it’ll also go limp, and the leaves may start to curl. However, the individual leaves will be sunken, limp, and thin-looking instead. The edges and tips of the leaves will crisp up and go brown, while the center will go yellow. Brown spots on aloe plant leaves are also usually a sign of a fungal infection.
Underwatered Aloe plants will grow very slowly or not at all. An overall loss of color is expected as well. Instead of watering more often, aim to water more deeply each time so that the plant can absorb as much moisture as it needs without risking root rot.
Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Aloe Plants
Too much water causes the roots of the Aloe to rot. You may notice limp, drooping, and wilting leaves first as the plant struggles to handle the amount of water it’s absorbing.
Leaves will yellow from the tips downward, with older leaves turning brown and falling off. The foliage will be bloated and squishy rather than thin and limp. If you don’t address overwatering issues and use a better draining soil mix, you may lose the Aloe.
What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
Aloe doesn’t absorb or lose water through its leaves, so it doesn’t respond well to misting. Keep it dry instead and avoid adding moisture to the foliage. Don’t use a humidity tray since wet conditions encourage root rot. Simply check the soil often to find out when to add water.
For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Aloe plants in the home for optimal growth and Feng Shui benefits.
Watering Aloe Plants FAQs:
What is the best way to water Aloe Plants?
Bottom-up soaking and top-down watering are often best combined for a thorough soaking.
How much water do Aloe Plants need?
Aloe plants can need a quart or more per six inches of pot size to adequately soak the soil.
What do I do if I overwater my Aloe Plants?
Stop watering immediately and consider switching to a faster-draining soil mix.
Can I water my Aloe Plants with tap water?
Tap water is fine but should be left standing overnight to evaporate the chlorine.
Take good care of your symbolic and beneficial Aloe vera plant with proper watering practices. Watch out for applying water too often but don’t be afraid to soak the plant deeply when it does need it. For more, see our guide to successfully growing Aloe plants at home.
If you’re looking for your next Aloe plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Aloe plants nationwide.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.