Aloe is a semitropical plant that is a very popular houseplant. More than 250 species of Aloe exist, and most are native to Africa. Aloe can grow from 1 inch to 2 feet in diameter, creating colonies of hundreds of plants. Aloe can also be grown outdoors in semitropical regions.
Moisture in the Soil
Aloe is 95 percent water, and is extremely tender. As a succulent plant, however, aloe does not require a lot of water. In fact, drainage is imperative. When planting aloe, place at least 1 inch of gravel at the bottom of the planter, up to one-third of the depth of the pot, to draw the moisture away from the dirt and roots. Soil that is not well drained may cause the aloe plant to become limp and mushy or turn black, and will ultimately kill the plant.
The soil for an aloe plant must be sandy. After inserting the drainage gravel, mix potting soil with sand on a one-to-one basis. A cactus potting soil mix can also be purchased from most garden centers and will work well for aloe plant soil.
If an aloe plant is being planted from a cutting, it should not be watered when it is planted, and may require a few rocks to hold it steady as it roots into the soil. When new growth appears on the aloe plant, then the root system has been developed and the plant is healthy. Giving the plant a slight wiggle will also illustrate if the roots have formed, because a well-rooted plant will have very little give when it is wiggled.
For indoor aloe plants, sun is a requirement. Therefore, aloe plants should be placed in a very sunny window. Fertilize the aloe plant yearly with half-strength, bloom-type fertilizer.
Once it is established, aloe requires very little water. Water the aloe plant once every few weeks and let the soil dry out entirely before watering it again. Do not let your aloe sit in water or in soil that is too moist. In the winter, aloe plants should be watered minimally, providing only one cup of water after the dirt has completely dried out, because the plant is dormant. In the summer, completely soak the soil and then allow it to dry out completely before completely soaking the aloe soil again.