What is the #1 killer of aloe vera plants? Dun dun dun.
Nope, it’s not fungus..or any disease for that matter.
Not frost either.
So what’s left? Overwatering. Overwatering results in more limp, lifeless aloes than anything else . While fungus or pests can take down your plant, they are (more often than not) not the root of the problem. You see, invading species like these are usually only attracted to aloe plants if they present a moist, very wet environment, as they can then thrive there. Normally, aloes are kept too dry for an insect’s liking. So, don’t blame the bugs: excess water is yet again the underlying cause of death.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of overwatering accounting for the most aloe deaths is that drowning your aloe vera is an easily avoidable crime. Of all the things to go to plant-grower’s jail for, overwatering is not it! Don’t get me wrong: it can be difficult to judge how much hydration your aloe needs due to the plant’s succulent qualities (like cactuses, aloes retain water even when the soil surrounding them is bone dry! Pretty neat, eh?). It can be very challenging to get the amount of water just right. But as difficult as the water-balancing act may seem, there are preventative measures you can take to help your aloe have the longest life possible!
It’s All About Aloe Vera Drainage
The best way to avoid flooding your aloe plant is to make sure any extra water can exit its pot. Even if you overestimate how much water your aloe needs, you can prevent any problems from arising by dealing with what happens to the extra plant water. If the pot does not have a strong drainage system, any leftover water will sit in the pot, becoming stagnant and creating a cesspool of bacteria. Instead of allowing water to oversaturate the soil of your aloe plant, there are a couple of different drainage systems you can (and should) have in place. They will help get that water out of the way!
Holes, Holes, and More Holes!
Flip your aloe vera pot upside down! If you do not see holes in the bottom of the pot, you made a buying boo-boo. But it is an easily fixable mistake. You want to plant your aloe vera (as well as all other houseplants, really) in a pot that has drainage holes, as they give any extra water some place to go–they are not confined to staying in the pot. If you pot can be easily punctured, just go ahead and create some drainage holes yourself. Otherwise, you might want to strongly consider purchasing another pot. It’s for your aloe’s own good!
Choose Your Soil Wisely!
When picking a soil for your aloe vera you want to avoid two things: (1) planting it entirely in sand, and (2) planting it in half potting soil and half sand as you should–but choosing the wrong sand. Play sand, you know the kind you would find in the local playground’s sand box, is no good. It is too fine for you aloe plant’s needs; fine sand gets compacted when in a pot, keeping water in instead of helping it drain out. Instead of fine sand you want something like builder’s sand. Half of that mixed with half potting soil should be just want your plant wanted!
And there you have it. Draining your plant properly is important to avoiding that deadly aloe killer: overwatering.