Aloe Vera Plant Care: From Watering To Repotting

Aloe Vera is not a difficult plant to care for. It does grow faster outdoors during warmer months, but it doesn’t mind a pot and does just fine in the house. Some basic things to watch out for: it’s true that Aloe’s like sun, but they can turn brown in harsh light. Indirect is best. Also, they can freeze during the winter and should be protected from frost. Move your Aloes indoors during cold months if you can.

Watering Your Aloe



When it comes to watering, an Aloe Vera  plant is in greater danger of being overwatered than underwatered. Aloes like a soil that drains well. A cactus mix or a sandy soil is good for larger pots. Smaller pots drain quickly, and any good potting soil will do the trick.  Water your Aloe sparingly in the winter since it won’t be drying up very fast. It won’t need to be watered very often, maybe once a ever week or two. In the summertime you can really soak the soil, but let the soil dry out between waterings. Make sure there is a drainage hole in the pot since the roots are prone to rot when exposed to long periods of wet soil.

 

Down and Dirty

The best way to check the soil is to get about 2-3 inches into the soil. If your Aloe Vera plant is small you only need to check about 1-2 inches in. It is very common for some parts to be dryer than others so make sure you check close to the base of the plant. The roots of Aloe aren’t that long, so the dirt close to the base of the plant should not be moist. By moist, I mean soil that sticks to your fingers. Let the soil get to the point where it is crumbly and lighter in color. Let it stay that way for a few days before watering the plant again.

Reading Aloe leaves

Poor Aloe Vera plant care shows in the leaves. Here’s how you can tell what is happening with your plant:

  1. Aloe leaves should grow upward, away from the base of the plant. If the leaves are lying flat, your Aloe probably has insufficient light. Although it will turn brown with too much light, it still needs a good amount of sunshine.
  2. If the leaves are thin and curled, you probably are not watering your Aloe enough. The plant is using up its own liquid to keep itself nourished. Give it some water!
  3. When the leaves are brown, as I mentioned before, your plant should be taken to a place with less direct sunshine.
  4. If the plant is growing very slowly, the soil or water might be too alkaline. It could also mean that the plant was too damp for too long, needs more light, or has too much fertilizer. It might also like a bigger pot.

Repotting

Repotting an Aloe Vera plant is not necessary until the upper plant gets too top-heavy. The plant can stand to be root-bound, which means the roots become tangled and grow in circles. When it does become root-bound it will send up more shoots, or pups. More Aloe for you! If these little Aloes are not removed and replanted, they will suck the life out of the mother plant- parenting is tough. Some signs that this is happening include a bright green color in the parent horizontally growing leaves. When repotting Aloe pups, give them a good watering in their new pot, and then don’t water them again for 3 weeks. This will force the new roots to seek water. It is normal for the transplanted plant to turn grey or brown for a while. They are in shock. Keeping them in a shady spot  during this period will help them to bounce back faster. For step by step instructions on repotting, check out this article.

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Comments

  1. Jude Bowman says

    This is great information. Short sweet and to the point with pictures to support narrative. Thanks for that!! My 10 year old son was given a small Aloe Vera plant from a kind old gent who lives closed to the school. He stopped the kids on the way home and said “here.. take this home for your mum to brighten her day” he had lots of other little plants he was giving away. So my son embraced this (not at all what i thought he would do) Oddly enough the Aloe has thrived since. We have just had to re-pot. The plant has a little ‘pup’, so we will have to take that out. Thank you for the information.

    • Joseph Fields says

      hello great info my aloe plant was nearly dieying but you saved it thank yoooooooooooooooooou

  2. says

    I want to repot the aleo correctly–I am going to try what article said, but if you have any other suggestions I am open to them–thanks so much—-Geri

    • says

      Me too- I want to re-pot mine without hurting my plant. It has grown very nicely in the pot it’s in but it is growing too big and looks like it needs more room to grow. Now that the weather is getting warmer I’m thinking about maybe putting it outside. The flowers have bloomed and are doing well so why not my aloe plant? I just want to make sure I don’t do anything to harm it. I was raised on a farm and my Dad always told me, ” You don’t want to do anything to hurt the plants Vic. They are alive too & they feel it when you harm them.” It was good advice because throughout my life everything I’ve grown has grown well with gentle love & care.

      • Danielle Brown says

        Hi Victory,
        Before you repot your aloe or move it outside, read up on both subjects. Understanding the pros and cons of moving your plant outside as well as how to repot your plant safely and effectively will help you protect your plant and improve its health. Check out this article on growing an aloe outdoors. This article on repotting should also help you out! If you aloe is growing too big and looks like it needs a bigger living space, you may also want to consider separating some of its pups from the mother plant. This process will give you multiple aloe plants instead of one giant one. Here’s an article so you can learn about propagating an aloe. So many solutions! Best of luck!

      • Ryan says

        I know this thread is old but OMG could you imagine the pain that grass must go through everyday with mowing – sports – and walking on. Lol

  3. jerry karp says

    i have a question:

    my aloe plants are flowering. the long stem that grew for the flowers remains, while the flowers are now gone. should the flower stem be cut back, or should the stem be left alone?

    your input would be deeply appreciated. thank you very much, jerry

  4. David Martinez says

    I have a top heavy aloe that has laid down. It is growing fine, but I would like to straighten it out. Is it possible to cut some of the roots off to do this, or should I just get a bigger pot?

  5. Nadine says

    My aloe plant is top-heavy. There is a 6″ gap from the soil level in the pot to where the leaves are healthy and upright.
    When I transplant it, will it root from the stem? Can I bury the 6″ gap and have the leaves sit at the soil level?

  6. Jenny says

    My aloe vera plant has got very large andis growing in a spiral and is so heavy it leans. How can I support it? I have had it at least 6 yrs. Any tips?

  7. Susan Williams says

    Very nice site! Great content, easy to use and understand, without a degree in botany!

  8. Paul Clark says

    Hi… I have a 3 foot Aloe Vera that I purchased as a 6 inch beginner. Each February for the past 3 years, it has produced a 40 inch spire covered in flower buds. The 1st year, i continued the once a month watering, the 2nd year, I watered weekly. This year, I denied it all water. Not one of those buds has bloomed in any of the 3 years. HELP. What does the flower look like? Does it smell? What am I doing wrong?Any help you can provide would be deeply appreciated. Thanks…Paul Clark

  9. says

    You talk about brown leaves but nothing about brown spots on the leaves and the leaves are drying out regardless of water amount. I have it in front of my kitchen window which only get sun in the evening. The sun hits the widow about 4 pm. My mom had an Aloe Vera that did great there and she didn’t do anything as far as taking pups from it. This is my first one and I could sure use the help.

    • Jameelah says

      This is not my first aloe plant. I should say more like my fourth or fifth, and I’ve killed them all. So my fiancee brought me a nice healthy aloe plant. My plan is to keep it that way. Thank you so much.

  10. Sue says

    Thank you so much for this well-written article. I just got my first aloe and want to take good care of it. I appreciate how specific you were with every step!
    God bless!

  11. Barbara says

    I have several aloe vera plants. Two are planted under some large oak trees, so very shaded. They do well during the hot Georgia summer and came back nicely this spring. Another I have in a pot and it rode out the winter on my porch and is now HUGE. And this year it bloomed. It sent up a GIANT stalk and had gorgeous orangish-peach color hanging blooms.
    My question is: Now that the blooms are beginning to fade and die, how do I care for the remaining stalk? Do I cut it, let it die off? I have a pup to transplant from it also, so I want to make sure I don’t damage the plant doing too much to it.
    Any info you can give me is much appreciated.

  12. Wendy C says

    How do you ‘fatten up’ the leaves? I rescued several and have transplanted almost all the pups, but even though the leaves are now green again, they aren’t as pump as I would like. I already do all the recommended steps, but the only thing I have left to try is feeding. Any recommendations? I am in San Diego County, zone 9/10.

  13. Judy Meadows says

    My aloe plant is covered with sticky crystals. What causes this and what should I do about it?

  14. Susan says

    Fantastic information without the technical speak!!!!! You have just “saved” my newly purchased Aloe Vera Plant from becoming yet another “Victim” – Thanks so much

  15. jesse says

    hi. My allo plant has little white bugs all over the new shoots and they’re not looking all that great. how do I get rid of these little buggers???

  16. Hefen says

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful aloe info. Please tell me if the aloe likes to be crowded. My plant was doing so well. Then suddenly a large “branch” fell off after about 5 years of growth. Now leaves are thin in spots. Perhaps it’s getting watered unevenly because the base is too packed.

    Also, in repotting, do I have to place the part to be repotted into water first or can it be placed directly into soil?

    Thanks,
    Hefen

  17. Jonathan Snell says

    thank you for the gudie my plant is reproducing I guessing as there are smaller shoots. 1 Is that reproducing? 2 if so how do I repot new shoots and i’ll change my soil to be more sandy tho it seems to be doing well

  18. Courtney says

    Hi, I live in Texas and I’m growing an aloe vera plant. I bought mine at a yard sale and then found out that I had about 20 plants. I just thought it was a big plant at first. So anyway, when I first got my plants I left half in the pot they came in and transplanted the rest to a different pot. There was a crowding issue. My plants were doing okay but I noticed that the roots on some of the plants were brown and yellow but I bought them like that so I didn’t think anything of it. Some of my plants were healthy and the others had root rot. Once I found out they had root rot I looked up how to help my plants and was told to peel off the brown or discolored parts and to water it less frequently so I watered about once a month. I did that and my plants looked like they were a starting to improve. Then I went away and left a friend to plant and puppy sit, I watered my aloe vera just before I left so I knew it didn’t need to be watered until I got back. Told my friend to only water my peppermint plant and to leave the aloe Vera’s alone but apparently my friend has ODD and does the opposite of what people say. Long story short my friend watered my already damaged plants twice per week for about 3 weeks. When I got back and saw my plants they were a lot worse then when I left them and were dying from over watering. Tried to save them and all but one died. The one that I saved is a small size, I’ve been trying to give it a break and am afraid to water it again. Not really sure when its safe to start watering again. It seems healthy and is sprouting new leaves on the bottom but I have it by the window and one of the tips of the leaves is brown and thin and has no gel in it. I’m not sure if this is because of overwatering or because of too much sun or not enough water. It’s been in direct sunlight before. I’ve left it alone for a few weeks and haven’t watered it. It’s in a big and deep post and has good drainage. Do you know what the brown is from and should I cut it off? Any suggestions? Thank you. -Courtney

    • We Love Aloe says

      I think the brown is from too much sun. I had the same issue with some of my plants, after reducing the sun they returned to green

  19. Amy says

    Thanks so much! This article was crystal clear and extremely thorough. I now understand so much better how to treat my aloe plant.

    Question: I repotted my aloe plant before reading this. It turns out I placed it too deep in the new pot. Should I re-repot it or leave it? I’m concerned about too many repottings being detrimental to the plant, but I want it to grow well!

  20. Gary says

    Hi,

    My Aloe has leaves about 6-8 inches long. They are plump. However, they are top heavy as there are almost no roots, as evidenced last night when a clump of leaves fell out of the pot. And what roots there are are all at the surface.

    What can I do to help the roots grow? On another site he says a healthy plant starts with healthy roots. And the root ball should be about the same size as the fullage on top. But he was talking about other sorts of plants.

    When I originally was given them I used the potting soil I had on hand, so it might not be a proper mix.

    Watering; I drench them not more frequently than once per week. I feel the soil and it’s now wet when I water, but it’s not bone dry either.

    They are in a 14″ clay pot, with rocks in the bottom and a drainage hole, siting on a saucer also with rocks under the pot.

    Gary

    • We Love Aloe says

      Gary, Aloe typically don’t need the same type of root systems as other plants. An Aloe can be pretty healthy with small root ball. I would try to reduce the amount of watering you are doing for a time and see if that encourages any additional growth. However if the top of the plant is fine, I would not worry too much about it. Best, Admin

      • Gary says

        I’m not sure I would call it a root ball. More like a several hairs maybe an inch or two long.

        I’m not sure how the top is doing. There are a lot of dried and withering leaves. But there are also a lot of plump and green leaves. There are also some leaves that appear bent or broken, but maybe I bumped into those and did that.

        Maybe I should take a picture for you.

        There have been times when she was doing great. She has spread to pretty much cover the top of the 14in pot. And it’s really a chore to get between the plants to feel the dirt.

        I guess she’s the kind to spread horizontally as opposed to the kind that have long leaves that soar vertically.

        Gary

  21. ashley cooper@gmail.com says

    Hi pls help me with my aloe vera plant I live n a 2 bedroom apt. Where the sun never shines n my window I have moved it several times and and it’s still dying its really soft and its leaning down also its getting white spots on it what can I do to save my plant pls help I have tired to get help from other sites but no responds. I’m desperate now so what can I do I’ll b waiting by the phone for your response.

  22. Paula A. Matthews says

    Thank you so much for the information, it helps very much. I have a problem with my aloe plant though, we moved a month ago and before the move I saw the plant was very tight in one pot and I re-potted which turned out to be a few different ones and about 2 weeks later we had to move. When we re-potted we added the water at the bottom where the pot instructed to do so and I have not added any more water since but the soil is very wet, the plants leaves continue to get soggy and brown as well as the new babies. I changed the soil and only added 1 cup of water for the very large pot of soil and it is still doing the same and one thing I forgot to mention is that the top layer of soil gets some kind of mold on top. When I check the soil it is very wet, I changed the soil again for the third time no water this time and I put my entire hand in it to the bottom because the leaves are still rotting and the soil sticks to my hand like mud. If you can help I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you,
    Paula

  23. JoJo says

    Hi Im new to this whole plant thing :P I want to grow aloe because it has many uses and I would like to have my own. Unfortunately I started off on the wrong foot and bough outdoor soil for an indoor plant (i didn’t event know there was a difference between indoor and outdoor soil). So anyways, I want to know if and why I would need to repot or change the soil ever? (after i get the right one hehehe) I got a giant pot for it so I don’t think I would ever need to repot it because of the pot size :) the soil is very pricy since i want to use Organic soil since I will be eating my aloe. I need lots of help, Thank you!

  24. says

    Thanks for this info. I just acquired an Aloe and now ordered organic cactus compost to repot it. I hope it will grow and give me much of that lovely aloe vera gel from inside it leaves for all the amazing health benefits.

    Did you know that aloe vera has astaxanthin which is a powerful anti oxidant?

  25. Mwuese Agav says

    my aloe plants have been turning brown and i noticed it was the once more exposed to the sunlight. I thought maybe they got infected or something, but reading this helped me learn it’s just too much sun! thanks!

  26. shirley bower says

    I have a huge aloe plant – maybe 10 years old — love it – I had a small rash on my leg, so I cut off a stem – to apply the aloe to my leg – which was soothing — however, not sure if it is coincidence or I damaged the plant — but a day or so later – it just seemed to droop over – it just may be top heavy – and wintertime near the window – or did I damage it by cutting off a stem ?????????????? I feel so bad — but I read on the internet that aloe was great for an itchy rash. oh my . I think I cut off a stem some years ago to put on a burn – but plant had no reaction. confused.

    • We Love Aloe says

      I don’t think you would have damaged the plant by cutting off a single stem. Your plant should be fine with a little TLC

  27. Jon says

    Hi!

    Thanks for the helpful site as I’ve been asked to care for my neighbor’s Aloe Vera plant while they are away this winter (now until April).

    I am hoping to not only keep it alive but actually make it thrive in that time so I am thrilled to have found your helpful information. However, I found a fairly significant typo that I need to have cleared up so I am sure to do the right thing.

    Under Watering Your Aloe it states the following:

    ” It won’t need to be watered very often, maybe once a ever week or two.”

    I’m not sure what “once a ever week or two” means.

    Will you please clarify this statement? Thank you.

    Any additional tips on how to make my neighbor’s plant THRIVE while they are away?

    I have eastern exposure through some windows and southern exposure too.

    Regards,

    Jon

  28. Diane says

    I thought Aloes likes sun,but now realise they do not like too much. My plant was looking paler in colour when I moved it into the conservatory. It’s too big for a windowsill now, so will have to find a more suitable site for it.

    • Danielle Brown says

      Hi Diane,
      Many people think that the cactus-like aloe will never run into a problem with overexposure to the sun, but that is far from the case! Find out the symptoms of a sunbrunt aloe in this article as well as advice on how to rescue your aloe from too much sun!And this article talks about the proper amount and type of sun an aloe needs, which you might find helpful!

      In regards to finding a new home for your growing aloe vera, try placing it on a table in the middle of a brightly lit room in your house if it has grown too big for a windowsill. The dining room table or even the coffee table in your living room could make a nice home for your aloe if those rooms in your house get enough light! Artificial light is always an option, too!

  29. Cassie says

    Hi,
    I have had my aloe for 8-10 months now, I bought it at 9″ and it has grown to be 21″ so far. I was just about to transfer it for the second time since I bought it, but was unsure if transfering it over to cold soil would be a problem.
    After reading this I have more questions, my aloe is currently in a 5″x4″ pot and I was going to move it to a 12″x8″ pot using “vitalium” brand potting mix with mycorrhiza . This is the same potting mix I used the last time I transferred it. It says on the bag that it has good water retention and so far it has done well. I don’t water my aloe until the top layer of soil is nearly dry but the leaves are all thick and healthy looking except for the very very tips of 3 of them. They have a tiny bit if Brown that is only noticable if you really look for it. I believed this was due to being in my bathroom window and lacking space as they had been touching the window and I live in Canada where it gets pretty cold.
    However now I’m concerned that the soil may be a problem, and I’m afraid that the pot I purchased may be too large. The new pot does have a drain and a “catch area for water, I had bought it thinking that it would be good since it won’t be getting as much moisture anymore as it will be in the living room now and I will be watering it a bit less since its in a less convenient place.

    I’m afraid to transfer my poor aloe now, should I get a different pot and soil or will this be ok?
    So far this is the only plant (including a supposedly “unkillable” cactus) that I’ve been able to keep alive longer than a week.. I really want to see my aloe live a long healthy life.
    What do I do?

    • We Love Aloe says

      A large pot should not be a problem for you plant at all. Just place some small stones at the bottom of the pot, and perhaps mix a little sand into the soil. Good luck!

  30. Penny says

    I have a pup growing at the top of the flower stalk now the flowers have died & need to know what to do with it, I don’t want to kill it off.

    Any help much appreciated.
    Penny

    • Danielle Brown says

      Hi Penny,
      It’s probably time to separate that pup from the mother plant! Repotting time! Right now, your aloe may have too many pups to take care of, causing a drain on its energy and therefore the death of your flowers. Refer to this article for help propagating your plant and getting those flowers back!

  31. Wilma Hopson says

    I must get rid of at least half of my aloe plants and would like to know if I can save the gel in the freezer or fridge?

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  33. says

    Such asimple and inforative website. I am growing my aleo vera plant in Canada ,where mostly it is cold.i moved it putside but it got brown . I think direct sunlight or cold weather . Now i have moved it in for less sunlight. I hope it will turn green again or i have to trim it.

  34. Jessie says

    Your website is very informative, and I have a few questions concerning my Aloe.

    I have cats, and one of them likes to knock everything and anything down. When we first bought our little aloe plant, we put it up some where thinking it’d be safe until we put all our groceries away. Not long after we put it on top of our tv stand, the one cat knocked it down.

    2 of the leaves tips broke off, where they broke off at has now turned brown and that part of the area is dry and they haven’t grown either. I guess that is normal but my one main concern is the one leaf.

    It got punctured some where in the middle, it was at the time the biggest leaf and use to stand tall. Now it’s laying down. It’s still got a lot of gel inside it except the area that got punctured. So its like Fat at the bottom, thin in the middle and fat at the top. The leaf also hasn’t grown much since it fell either.

    The rest of the plant seems to be doing just fine. So it’s just the leaves I’ve mentioned. Any tips on how to care for them?

  35. Rae says

    I just got my aloe plant yesterday and this was so helpful! I don’t have the greenest thumb that I could, so my mom told me to look up how to care for it. My first option for a site and I didn’t regret it! Thank you so much for making this site, it was so helpful for me. This is a good site for kids who attend school like me. :D THANK YOU!

  36. adrienne says

    good thing i came here.i was doing the opposite of what was best for aloe.i need to go out and move them out of the sun and quell the urge to water,water,water.

  37. Leslie P says

    Hi! Thank you for the post. I have kept my large aloe plant (it’s in a pot) indoor since last fall, and when I put it back outside now that it is almost summer and getting warm again, I was shocked to find it a week later with brown, mushy leaves. Some have curled up and a few of the small pup leaves have died altogether. I did water it really well, as it had been a while since it was last watered, and then it rained. Is my aloe’s problem too much sun or too much water? I left it outside all summer last year, and it rained A LOT, and the aloe was fine. I’m just really sad because only a week ago it was strong, thick and bright green… :( Do you think it will bounce back from this?

  38. Joseph says

    wow! just wow! your description on step by step, every word, thank you, i’ll get right on it, i had the plant for what… 5 years? it had 2 pups and now im on my 3rd all sat next to there mum, the 2 pups are in their young adult state and the 3rd is in a vodka shot glass with water and its ready for planting, but my problem is that the 2 young adults and mum are top heavy and its loose like its easy to pull out any suggestions on how to sort this out? Thank you!

  39. yvonne says

    i bought a large aloe plant at a yard sale, i cant tell what it is planted in, the material is very hard like concrete, should i repot it ? how do i remove it from that hard stuff?

  40. Michele says

    Hello! I bought a new aloe plant today and I am looking into REALLY taking great care of it and hopefully multiplying it and allowing it to grow as much as possible. With that being said, upon inspecting it when I got home I notice one of the leaves is rather brown. All the other leaves on the plant are nice and plump. Beautifully green and very healthy looking. I am not sure what I should do about that ONE browned leaf. I would appreciate ANY advice!!! :)

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  42. Loretta says

    My aloe plant is beautiful on the top half but the bottom half is limp and completely dead? Can I trim the dead half? And what do I do to keep the top half healthy? It has grown in a fan shape and it just cant seem to hold it’s own weight.

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