How Often Should You Water an Aloe Plant?

How Often Should You Water an Aloe Plant

How often should you water an aloe plant?

Aloe Vera or Aloe Vera is a plant with many medicinal properties and cosmetic uses used for millennia by the natives of America.

Aloe is a clear example of the perfection of nature since it has offered human beings tools to have a better life, with exclusively natural elements.

An aloe vera plant is healthy when its leaves are olive green, turgid, and face up.

Aloe is one of the easiest plants to water.

It can resist long periods without watering.

But, in extreme cases, when the excess or lack of irrigation lasts for several months, we can harm it if we do not do it correctly.

How often should you water an aloe plant?

Aloe vera does not need much water, but watering is important. 

The important thing is that the soil is completely dry from one irrigation to another to avoid excess moisture.

You have to take into account the quality of the water, just as with the soil, the aloe vera will suffer more if the water is alkaline, the ideal is that if you have a water purifying jug, you use it to water your aloes.

Another important factor is the season of the year.

In the fall and winter months, aloe may only need to be watered once a month.

In spring it will be increased to twice a month and in summer every week. 

Everything will depend on the temperatures of the place and your aloe vera. 

You have to observe and the plant will tell you what it needs.

In warm areas, winter can be spent simply receiving rainwater if it is outdoors (unless it is a very rainy year and it creates too much humidity in this case you have to take it indoors) and in the summer it will have to be watered much more frequently.

In cool places, during the winter your aloe vera surely cannot be outdoors and in summer it will last longer without the need for watering.

It is also important that the soil you use drains well, and make sure the pot is the right size (with a diameter approximately half the height of the plant).

It is good to transplant the plant when you see that the pot is getting small and take advantage of this to make a change of soil with new nutrients.

And like I mansion before make sure this new pot has good drainage and when planting do not cover the lower leaves to prevent rotting.

You may like: What is Photosynthesis?

How to know if I am watering my aloe correctly?

Aloe leaves look very thick, with a belly on top and in extreme cases, they can be almost round like the newer leaves of the plant.

In this case you have to start by skipping one or two irrigations until the plant deflates a little and then we will start watering again but leaving 2 or 3 days between irrigation.

Proper irrigation

When the upper part of the leaf is practically straight and the lower part has its rounded shape as in the central figure, our plant is being watered in an optimal way.

In this case, we are doing very well, we will continue to water the same, but paying attention to every 4 or 5 irrigations in which the state remains optimal since the amount of water you need can vary depending on the temperature, humidity and the time of year.

Lack of irrigation

When the plant is moon-shaped, the upper part of the leaf curves inwards.

These leaves look thin from lack of water and are weaker and less rigid.

If this is the case we have to do the watering more often.

That is, if you left 4 days in between before the next watering, you should shorten it to 3 days before the next watering.

What are the consequences of excessive watering?

The plant begins by filling the reserves of its leaves with water, making them thicker and heavier, but it does not seem to lose health.

If overwatering continues, problems will start. At first the plant will appear healthy, but the leaves will look lighter green and the roots begin to rot due to excess moisture in the soil.

So if this is happening to you stop watering the plant and let the soil dry, it will recover after a time of 2 or 3 weeks. 

Your aloe will use its water reserves to survive while creating new roots to feed on.

If the excess water is prolonged too long, the plant will begin to rot from the part of the trunk that is hidden under the ground. Then the leaves begin to lose their stiffness and fall resting on the ground.

At this point, it is very difficult to recover the plant and it is likely that it will end up dying.

In some cases, we can save it if we stop watering immediately and try to dry the soil by putting the pot in a well-ventilated place.

If excess moisture in the soil continues, the leaves will begin to separate from the trunk, which will visibly begin to rot.

In this case, the plant can no longer be saved, although we can still use the leaves that are healthy to make our creams or remedies before they start to dry.

Lack of irrigation problems?

The symptoms of lack of watering in aloe vera are very easy to see with the naked eye. 

The first thing we see is that it leaves lose volume and become thinner by exhausting the water reserves inside.

If we continue to ignore the plant, it will begin to dry the older leaves first, which will start to become very thin and lose their rigidity.

When you see this, you have to water every 2 or 3 days for a week or 10 days and the plant will recover quickly although the old leaves that have been too damaged may not recover completely.

If the plant continues without water for too long, it will gradually dry out until all the leaves have been used up and it will eventually die.

In any case, it is very difficult for an aloe plant to die due to a lack of water as it can take several months.

Examine the condition of the plant

Aloe is a succulent type plant that tends to accumulate water in its leaves and they become thicker or thinner depending on the amount of water they contain. 

Applying this we can get a very exact idea of ​​the needs or excesses of water.

To detect it you can be guided by the thickness of the leaves in the center of the plant.

We must look at the leaves in the center of the plant examining 3 or 4 leaves that we will take as a reference.

The younger leaves that grow vertically at the top of the trunk are tricky because they tend to be somewhat thicker and the older leaves that are closer to the ground tend to be thinner and have a harder time accumulating water inside.

That is why we will look at the shape of the most central leaves and select several to make a desition that is more reliable.

With experience, you will learn that some leaves deceive and we better identify those that are more full of water that looks thicker and sometimes with a lighter green.

All about aloe

Aloe vera characteristics:

It can be differentiated mainly by its appearance. 

Its leaves grow upwards and are thicker near the root.

Its touch is rough and at the edges, they have hard filaments that can be easily confused with the prongs of a cactus.

 In addition, the leaves are green, but it is common to have whitish spots.

It is grown and maintained without much care because it is a fairly hardy plant. However, you must be careful with cold temperatures.

The ideal temperature for aloe to grow healthy ranges from 16 to 26 degrees Celsius. 

For this reason, it is preferable to keep it indoors during the winter or to grow it in a greenhouse.

The properties of aloe vera are found inside its leaves. To extract this aloe juice we will have to cut one of its leaves and open it.

The feel of the inner part is slimy and colorless. This extract is what is commonly known as pure aloe vera gel.

Composition of Aloe vera

So far, at least 160 important components (vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential amino acids and polysaccharides, etc) have been found in Aloe vera leaves. 

Some experts even talk about 300 to 400 vital ingredients.

Scientists agree that so far no single substance is responsible for the healing effects of Aloe Vera, but that it is a synergistic effect of all ingredients.

This is precisely what is unique about Aloe vera: it unites all these valuable ingredients in perfect harmony and, therefore, allows the supply of vital substances for our body, far beyond any individual agent.

The Barbadensis Miller variety contains a large number of biologically active substances, and more specifically the following:

Anthraquinones: Aloin, Barbaloin, Isobarbaloin, Anthranol, Aloetic Acid, Cinnamic Acid Ester, Aloe-Emodin, Emodin, Chrysophanic Acid, Resistannolo.

Enzymes: Cyclooxygenase, Oxidase, Amylase, Catalase, Lipase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Carboxypeptidase.

Vitamins: B1, B2, B6, B8, C, β-Carotene (precursor vitamin A), E.

Non-essential amino acids: Histidine, Arginine, Hydroxyproline, Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, Proline, Glycine, Alanine, Tyrosine.

Essential amino acids: Lysine, Threonine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Methionine.

Trace elements: Manganese, Calcium, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Magnesium.

Saccharides: Cellulose, Glucose, Mannose, L-Rhamnose, Aldopentose.

Other Compounds: Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Steroids, β-sitosterolo, Lignins, Uric Acid, Gibberellins, Salicylic Acid, Arachidonic Acid.

Aspects for good cultivation:

Substratum:

Ideal for substrates with sand, little soil, and many rocks.

Cactus and succulent substrates can be used with the addition of a layer of gravel or coarse sand to further facilitate drainage.

It is a cactus very susceptible to root rot due to the stagnation of water in the substrate.

That is why the substrate you use must have an excellent drainage system.

Temperature

They are plants that appreciate the growth in hot or cold climates. Some species survive in environments where daytime temperatures exceed 40 ° C; They are plants of warm climates.

Temperatures below 10 ° C are dangerous for these plants because they promote the proliferation of fungi on the roots and, consequently, the rot of the roots and the plant.

Pruning

These plants are not pruned. Only leaves and flower spikes that have already dried should be removed to avoid being attacked by opportunistic pests.

Plant of the Aloe genus with dry leaf that must be removed to avoid future pests.

Plagues and diseases:

The most common pests are aphids and mealybugs. They take advantage of the shelter of dry leaves to feed on the stem without being disturbed.

It is recommended to remove all the dry structures of the plant to eliminate the hiding places of the pests.

They are also found in young leaves, but their easy detection allows us to act quickly.

The most frequent pathology in this plant is root rot due to excessive watering.

The symptoms are of the presence of aphids, they are the rolled leaves, twisted shoots, growth stop, and blackened necrotic areas. The attack, bite of the aphids, stop the growth and development of the plant.

They are generally located on the underside of the leaves, on the tender shoots, and form highly nourished groups. Attacked areas do not fully recover, even treated as a pest.

The symptoms of the presence of mealybugs are: protrusions, hardening, waxy secretions attached to the leaf or stem and that are seen both in more woody areas and green areas of the plant.

This pest is relatively easy to control. 

The plant can be sprayed with pressurized water, thus eliminating mealybugs.

You can also prepare a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol and run it over areas infected with the pest and then rinse with water.

As a third homemade solution, dilute dishwasher soap in a liter of water and spray.

Clean as indicated above.

The most natural solution, is to provide ladybugs, which are predators of mealybugs.

How to grow aloe vera plants?

1. Place gravel at the bottom of a pot so it can act as a drain and prevent the aloe plant from rotting

2. Pour soil and peat in equal measure until you fill half the container, avoid the sand of the beaches because excess salt could damage the plant.

3. Place the plant in the center of the pot and pour more soil and peat

4. Place the pot in a place away from the elements near a light source until the first roots grow

After two weeks, water the plant and place the pot in a sunny place

10 most common types of aloe vera

1.Aloe barbadensis

This is its technical name but it is what we all know as the common aloe vera which we can also call: Sábila, Zábila, Atzavara vera, Zabira, Aloe de Barbados, Acíbar, Azabara.

As we have discussed , pure aloe vera has multiple benefits for our general health and well-being.

In addition, it is widely used to make personal hygiene products, such as aloe vera gel or aloe vera lip balm.

Young plants often have white spots that disappear as the plant becomes an adult.

2.Aloe Aristata

The curious thing about this type of aloe vera is that it is smaller than the others. Specifically, it is a small rosette, about 15 to about 30 cm in diameter.

In the hottest season, that is, in the summer season, watering is a most do thing. On the other hand, in the coldest season, it should not be watered or with very little quantity.

Between watering, allow the substrate to dry as aloes fear excess moisture.

3.Aloe brevifolia

This type of aloe vera is also called an alligator tooth. Its main characteristic is that it has green leaves turning to gray, they are triangular and sharp with certain margins on the teeth.

In the springtime, its flower stems are 50 cm long and hold bright red, narrow bell-shaped flowers.

4.Aloe ciliaris

This is one of the types of aloe vera that has lanceolate leaves, that is, narrow and green and like others, it also has a serrated edge.

The leaves of this kind of aloe vera are usually about 20 or 25 cm high and have to hang tubular flowers, whose color is called scarlet in yellow at the end.

As for its cultivation, it should be noted that it is a kind of aloe vera that is very resistant to drought and blooms in the winter and spring season.

5.Aloe ferox

The stem of this type of aloe vera has a stem that can even exceed two meters in height. It is similar to a tree.

Its leaves are quite large, exactly green, glaucous green. It can even be up to 1 meter long and 15 cm wide, lanceolate and fleshy, sometimes with teeth on both sides.

Its flowers are small, tubular, grouped into dense and long inflorescences, orange-red in color, with brown spots on the inner lobes of the perianth. 

They usually flourish in the cold season.

6.Aloe saponaria

Its rosette leaves are characterized by being wide and very fleshy, that is, with a lot of pure aloe vera juice. It is one of the few types of aloe vera that has teal or reddish-brown leaves with creamy white spots and edges with brown spines.

The best trick to plant this kind of aloe vera is that you grow it in a pot if not, it won’t develop in the same way as in the ground. It is a trick that has many advantages and benefits for the plant on many occasions.

7.Aloe striata

It has the shape of embedded rosettes about 45 cm in diameter and this time, it has no thorns. It has some bell-shaped flower clusters and the characteristic color is dark orange with large stems.

8.Aloe variegata:

It is 10 and 20 cm wide. The main characteristic that its leaves have white marks.

Branched inflorescence about 30 cm high with cylinder-shaped clusters about 10 or 20 cm long that in total group 20 to 30 flowers of a beautiful salmon or pink color. These measure between 3.5 cm and 4.5 cm in length.

The aloe variegata blooms its flower in the winter and spring season. And as we have mentioned, it is perfect to have it indoors.

9.Aloe Juvenna

It has a physical appearance to the common aloe. But where you can tell the difference is in the sizes.

It grows vertically and grouped. Its leaves form spiral rosettes of green with white specks and small thorns.

It is one of the types of aloe vera that is better adapted to hot climates, which is why it develops best in summer and spring. 

It is important to note that this aloe vera plant does not withstand cold or frost. But even if it goes through this, it will sprout again.

The flowering of the aloe juvenile is at large, long wand with a large stem, in which small flowers appear with the peculiar shape of bells, of an orange-red color.

10.Aloe arborescens

Its African origin makes it have other names by which it is also commonly known, such as Aloe candelabra, Candelabra, Aloe tree, Octopus plant.

The characteristic of this type of aloe vera is that its rose leaves are glaucous green. They are lanceolate, fleshy and one of the main characteristics that we find is teeth on their edges.

Its flowers are scarlet oranges when they are in inflorescence. The time of year when they bloom is also an interesting point to highlight and specifically this classification blooms in winter.

For correct cultivation, know that it can be in half shade or in the sun, like all aloe vera plants. 

In addition, it can withstand temperatures of up to -4ºC, only withstanding light frosts.