As African natives, aloe plants are used to desert-like conditions: the dry air, the boiling temperatures as well as the sandy, nutrient-deficient soil. Doesn’t seem like too much of a hospitable environment to me, but aloes love it. Since the aloe is so used to these extreme conditions, you might think you can shave some pennies off your plant shopping list by the foregoing the fertilizer. Pot? Check. Watering can? Necessary. Fertilizer? Why bother buying a product that will give you aloe more nutrients than it was ever used to having? It doesn’t need it! But aloe plants don’t know what they’ve been missing! Just because an aloe doesn’t need fertilizer to grow doesn’t mean it cannot benefit from it: the right fertilizer can help your aloe grow bigger and more beautiful than ever!
Fertilizing your aloe can help you turn things up a notch in two major ways:
- encourages growth
- increase amount of flowers
- improve overall health
Adhere to the Basics: Soil Conditions for Your Aloe
Even if you do not choose to give your aloe the gift of a liquid fertilizer, the least you can do is adhere to some potting soil basics. Just because aloes come from Africa, where the soil is sandy, chunky, and lacking in many nutrients, does not mean you have to give it a sandbox to live in when it is in your home! You can do better! Planting you aloe in straight sand is just a big no-no. You can, however, create a more appropriate potting soil for your plant with sand:
- Mix traditional potting soil with coarse sand (1-1 ratio) for an aloe-friendly soil that will neither starve nor overwhelm your plant
Be careful when choosing your sand: while builder’s sand is a good idea, others are not. Avoid fine sands, like play sand. Unlike the builder’s sand, which will help drain excess water, fine sand will become compacted inside the pot, restricting the aloe and its water supply.
Bring On the Aloe Vera Fertilizer! What Type is Right?
So although it is true that aloes can grow in many depleted soils, you have the opportunity to show it a better life. Treat your aloe vera to fertilizer–the best kind of fertilizer. Here’s how to get those ratio’s right:
- The Standard? Think a standard fertilizer will do your aloe well? Try again. Granular fertilizers for your garden are not all purposeful: they exclude aloes. The 10-10-10 nutrient ratio just doesn’t get that aloe growing!
- Go Liquid: A liquid fertilizer, however, is a different story. With a ratio of 10-40-10, houseplant fertilizers will be something your aloe will thrive if given. Now we’re talking!
Bring on the Fertilizer! How Often Should You Fertilize?
Occasionally fertilizing your aloe will do the trick. Don’t overdo it now: remember, aloes are not in need of much nutrients to live to begin with (they came from arid Africa and have adjusting to poor soil conditions). If you frequently and heavily fertilize your plant, you will actually be doing more harm than good. Instead, keep your aloe of the opposite fertilizing schedule: fertilize lightly and infrequently. Once a month, quite frankly, should be all your aloe needs!
Fertilizing? Pssh! I can do that! While it seems like a monkey could do it, there are still a few things we should go over.
1. Before Fertilizing: 12 hours before the big moment, make sure you give your aloe plenty of water. Then, allow it to drain properly. Proper watering protects your aloe’s roots from chemical burns from the fertilizer. Nitrogen can really ruin an aloe’s day!
2. During Fertilization: Watch out for the plant’s leaves, stems, and flowers when applying the liquid fertilizer to your aloe. You wouldn’t want to harm it, now would you?
Aloe Vera Fertilizer: Not Necessary in the Winter
Is it springtime yet? That’s when you want to begin fertilizing that aloe! Get that baby growing! In the wintertime, however, your aloe goes into a sort of dormant mode: the cold weather causes it to sort of shut down, as it stagnates in growth and flower production. While you can push your inactive aloe to grow by moving if from drafty windows and watering it even less than usual, your aloe will still not experience much growth during the winter months, which can be slightly frustrating. But your patience does not have to be tested! As a less demanding winter plant, aloe vera’s do not need to be fertilized from the end of the summer until fall. Cross that task off your list!
Now that you know and understand fertilizing basics, off to fertilize your aloe vera you go!
I have just purchesed an aloe vera a couple of days ago. i dont have a green thumb and have killed what i thought would be the easiest plants to grow. I live i a home that we keep between 70 and 75 all year round and I would like to try and keep this plant alive. Something I can be proud of. 🙂 I am asking for complete details on how to take care of it inside. I have read this website and getting very confused on what is for outdoors and what is for indoors.
Thank you for your time.
Patrick K. says
I have or HAD rather a great looking aloe that I bought 2 years ago and have grown it into such a big and good looking beast. I bought and used some standard liquid cactus fertilizer (2-7-7) and might have over done it on the one and only application. Not only did I not water a day before I fertilized but I probably made the ratio too strong. Now my aloe is not looking too hot at all. I’m guessing it has at the very least severe nitrogen burn. I’m wondering what I can do to reverse this and ASAP
Just let it be and it should be fine.
Is it ok to use 20-20-20 fetilizer on aloe??
Adrienne C says
Definitely not Crystal. Look for a house plant Fertiliser around 10:40:10
You don’t have to worry. Aloe doesn’t die. I have 3 aloe left for years. Just few days ago, I try my luck and transplant it into ground. Today I see it back to as usual. That’s miracle and I am thinking of take good care of this miracle plant. By the way, thanks for the info on this side on the fertilizer stuff. 🙂
Manekraj Goliya says
Would like to use aloe fertiliser s
Meri Graham says
Hi! I was wondering, I have been looking all over for liquid fertilizer with those perimeters, and I am stuck….can you tell me which brand or brands you use? I would be so grateful! Thank you =)
Helena Babington Guiles says
Miracle Gro makes one specifically for aloes and other succulents. Its’ name clarifies that.
Pam Johnson says
My Mom cut me a small piece (with a horizontal root) from off her monstrous Aloe plant for me to pot. I believe the original pot that I purchased put the spliced Aloe in is to deep and I fear the roots may never stick out from the bottom to indicate it needs to be repotted. I have had it one year and the plant has grown quite a bit, with nice thick fronds (leaves). There are even new fronds growing up from the soil about 2″ and 2 1/2″ away from the main plant.
My question is when spring comes and it begins to grow again should I replant my Aloe in a new pot of similar size but more shallow. How shallow should it be? My pot now is about 4″ deep.
Donna Gilson says
A very helpful website i bought an aloe vera plant today it will be a challenge as i would also like to loads of aloe vera’s.
Donna Gilson says