How to Plant, Grow and Care for an Aloe Plant?

Aloe is a forgotten indoor plant that has been making a comeback recently. No wonder, because its low requirements will appeal to many modern women. Check how to grow and care for aloe to enjoy healthy and beautiful plants for many years.

How to Plant, Grow and Care for an Aloe Plant?


Aloe plants, known for their striking appearance and myriad of uses, have become increasingly popular as indoor and outdoor plants. With their low-maintenance requirements and a multitude of benefits, it's no wonder that many people choose to grow aloe in their homes or gardens. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the different types of aloe plants, help you select the perfect location and soil, and provide step-by-step instructions for planting, caring for, and harvesting your aloe plant. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice plant enthusiast, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to grow a healthy and flourishing aloe plant.

Types of aloe plants and their characteristics

There are over 500 species of aloe plants, each with its unique characteristics and features. Here, we will explore some of the most common and popular types of aloe plants that you can grow and care for in your home or garden.

Aloe vera

Barbados aloe (Aloe barbadensis, Aloe vera)
Aloe vera, commonly known as the true aloe

Aloe vera, also known as the "miracle plant" or "true aloe," is the most well-known and widely used species of aloe. It is renowned for its medicinal properties and is often used to treat skin conditions, burns, and inflammation. Aloe vera plants feature thick, fleshy green leaves with serrated edges and can grow up to 2-3 feet tall.

Aloe arborescens

Candelabra aloe flowers in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Aloe arborescens flowers in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

Commonly called the "tree aloe" or "candelabra aloe," Aloe arborescens is a large, multi-stemmed species known for its vibrant, red-orange flowers. This aloe species can grow up to 10 feet tall, making it a striking addition to any garden or landscape. Aloe arborescens is also valued for its medicinal properties, which are similar to those of aloe vera.

Short-leaved aloe (Aloe brevifolia)

Close-up of short-leaved aloe with blue green foliage in a botanical garden
Close-up of short-leaved aloe with blue green foliage in a botanical garden

Short-leaved Aloe (Aloe brevifolia) is commonly called crocodile aloe because of the white spines growing from the edge of the leaves, looking like crocodile teeth. It is a species native to South Africa, where it expands to the sides, creating low but dense carpets. It is characterized by small size, compact habit and a slow growth rate. The color of aloe brevifolia leaves varies depending on the location.

Small rosettes can range in color from green, through gray, to blue. On a sunny windowsill, short-leaved aloe forms red-pink rosettes with yellow discoloration. In the wild, short-leaved aloe is threatened with extinction.

It is grown indoors as an undemanding houseplant. Orange, tubular flowers of Aloe brevifolia appears on tall stems growing above the plant.

Coral aloe (Aloe striata)

Coral aloe (aloe striata)
Coral aloe (aloe striata)

Coral aloe, or striated aloe (aloe striata), is a South African species of aloe. In nature, it can be found on the rocky slopes of South Africa. Its healing properties have been known since antiquity. Coral aloe juice was used for embalming a corpse.

Coral aloe creates small silver-blue rosettes with fine white stripes that look amazing against a darker green background.

Spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla)

Close-up of spiral aloe plant (aloe polyphylla) on stones
Close-up of spiral aloe plant (aloe polyphylla) on stones

Spiral aloe, also known as kroonaalwyn, lekhala kharetsa, or many-leaved aloe is another species that occurs naturally in Lesotho on the basalt slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains, at an altitude of 2000-2500 m above sea level. Spiral aloe is a beautiful plant that consists of about 150 gray-green pointed leaves, 20-30 cm long. Plant is under protection and has been included in Annex I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Common climbing-aloe (Aloe ciliaris)

Common-climbing-aloe (Aloe ciliaris)
Common climbing-aloe (Aloe ciliaris)

Common climbing aloe (Aloe ciliaris), also known as rank-aalwyn, occurs naturally in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It inhabits dry river valleys, where it grows in shady forests. Aloe ciliaris is characterized by rapid growth. It produces long stems and long, hooked leaves that allow them to anchor in dense vegetation.

Aloe ciliaris requires trellis or other plants to support and grow properly, hence it is commonly also called climbing aloe. In the wild, red flowers appear on the plant from November to April. Climbing aloe is known as the fastest growing aloe plant. In cooler climates, it is grown as a houseplant.

Preparing to plant your aloe

Before planting your aloe, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure your plant thrives in its new environment. By choosing the right location, soil, and container, you can set your aloe plant up for success and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

Choosing the right location

Most aloe species require plenty of sunlight to grow and maintain their vibrant colors. Choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. If you're growing your aloe plant indoors, place it near a south or west-facing window for optimal light exposure. For outdoor plants, consider planting them in a spot that receives some afternoon shade to protect them from the hottest part of the day.

Selecting the ideal soil

Aloe plants require well-draining soil to prevent root rot and other moisture-related issues. Opt for a cactus or succulent potting mix, or create your own by combining equal parts of regular potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice. This mixture will provide the necessary drainage and aeration for your aloe plant to grow strong and healthy roots.

Picking the perfect container

If you plan to grow your aloe plant in a container, select a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom. Aloe plants have shallow root systems, so choose a wide and shallow container rather than a deep one. Terra cotta pots are an excellent choice for aloe plants, as they allow excess moisture to evaporate through the porous material, helping to maintain the ideal soil moisture levels.

By taking the time to prepare the right environment for your aloe plant, you can significantly increase its chances of thriving and enjoying its many benefits for years to come.

Planting your aloe: A step-by-step guide

Once you've prepared the ideal environment for your aloe plant, it's time to get your hands dirty and start planting! In this section, we'll guide you through the different methods of planting aloe, including propagating from pups, growing from seeds, and transplanting a mature plant. Follow these simple and engaging steps to create your very own aloe garden.

Propagating aloe from pups

One of the most exciting aspects of aloe plants is their ability to produce offsets or "pups," which can be easily propagated to create new plants. Follow these steps to propagate your aloe pups:

  1. Identify a healthy pup that's at least 3 inches tall and has several leaves.
  2. Carefully remove the parent plant from its pot or the ground, and gently brush away excess soil to expose the pup's roots.
  3. Using a clean, sharp knife or garden shears, cut the pup from the parent plant, taking care to preserve as much of the pup's root system as possible.
  4. Allow the pup to dry and callous over for a day or two in a shaded area to prevent infection.
  5. Plant the pup in well-draining soil, ensuring that the roots are covered and the base of the leaves is above the soil line.
  6. Water the soil thoroughly and allow it to dry out completely before watering again.

In just a few weeks, your new aloe plant will begin to establish its root system and grow into a healthy, mature plant!

Growing aloe from seeds

Starting aloe plants from seeds can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here's a step-by-step guide to growing aloe from seeds.

  1. Fill a seed tray or shallow container with a well-draining cactus or succulent soil mix.
  2. Scatter the aloe seeds evenly across the soil surface, spacing them approximately 1 inch apart.
  3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or sand.
  4. Mist the soil gently with water to moisten it without disturbing the seeds.
  5. Cover the tray with a clear plastic lid or plastic wrap to create a humid environment for germination.
  6. Place the tray in a warm, bright location that receives indirect sunlight.
  7. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, using a spray bottle to mist the soil as needed.
  8. After 2-4 weeks, the seeds should begin to germinate. Remove the plastic cover and continue to provide water and light as the seedlings grow.
  9. Once the seedlings have developed several sets of leaves, transplant them into individual pots and care for them as you would a mature aloe plant.

With patience and care, you'll soon have a collection of aloe plants grown from your very own seeds!

Transplanting a mature aloe plant

Replanting aloe

Transplanting a mature aloe plant can be a thrilling and rewarding experience as you watch your plant flourish in its new home. Whether you're moving your aloe to a larger pot or transitioning it to your garden, careful attention and a delicate touch can ensure a successful transplant. Follow these engaging steps to give your aloe plant a fresh start:

  1. Prepare the new location: Whether you're planting in a pot or directly in the ground, make sure to choose a well-draining soil mix and an area that receives plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. For potted plants, select a container with drainage holes that's slightly larger than the current pot.
  2. Water before transplanting: A day or two before you plan to transplant, water your aloe plant thoroughly. This will help to minimize stress on the plant during the transplant process.
  3. Gently remove the aloe from its current pot: Carefully tip the pot on its side and gently ease the aloe plant out of its container, taking care not to damage the roots or leaves. For plants growing in the ground, use a garden fork or shovel to loosen the soil around the plant, then carefully lift it out of the ground.
  4. Inspect the root system: Check the aloe's roots for signs of rot, pests, or damage. Trim away any unhealthy or damaged roots with a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
  5. Plant your aloe: For potted plants, fill the new container with a layer of well-draining soil mix, then place the aloe plant in the pot, positioning it so the base of the leaves is slightly above the soil line. Fill in the remaining space with soil, gently pressing it around the roots to provide support. For in-ground planting, dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, position the aloe plant in the hole, and backfill with soil, ensuring the base of the leaves is above the soil line.
  6. Water and care for your transplanted aloe: After transplanting, water the aloe plant thoroughly to help it settle into its new environment. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Continue to provide your aloe plant with appropriate light, water, and care, and watch it thrive in its new home!

With patience, care, and attention to detail, your transplanted aloe plant will flourish and continue to grow, bringing beauty and potential health benefits to your home or garden.

Aloe plant care: Watering, fertilizing, and pruning

Proper care is crucial to the health and beauty of your aloe plant. By understanding its specific needs in terms of watering, fertilizing, and pruning, you can ensure your aloe plant remains vibrant and strong. Follow these essential care tips to help your aloe plant thrive.

Watering your aloe plant

Aloe plants are drought-tolerant and require minimal watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. To prevent this, follow these watering guidelines:

  • Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. This usually means watering every 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of the plant and the environment.
  • When watering, drench the soil thoroughly and ensure excess water can drain away. Avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can cause them to rot.
  • During winter, reduce watering frequency, as the plant enters a dormant phase and requires less moisture.

Fertilizing your aloe plant

Aloe plants generally require minimal fertilization. However, providing some extra nutrients can help promote healthy growth. Keep these tips in mind when fertilizing your aloe plant:

  • Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Look for one specifically formulated for cacti and succulents.
  • Fertilize your aloe plant 2-3 times during the growing season, typically from spring to early fall. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months.
  • When applying fertilizer, water the plant thoroughly first to prevent root burn.

Pruning your aloe plant

Occasional pruning can help maintain your aloe plant's shape and encourage healthy growth. Follow these pruning tips for optimal results:

  • Remove dead, damaged, or yellowing leaves by cutting them off at their base with a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
  • Prune any flower stalks after they've finished blooming to encourage the plant to direct energy back into leaf growth.
  • Regularly check your aloe plant for pests, such as mealybugs or scale insects, and remove them promptly to prevent infestations.

By following these simple care guidelines, you can ensure your aloe plant remains healthy, vibrant, and an attractive addition to your home or garden.

Identifying and solving common aloe plant problems

Despite their hardy nature, aloe plants can sometimes encounter issues that can impact their health and appearance. By learning to recognize and address common aloe plant problems, you can keep your plant thriving. Here's a helpful guide to identifying and solving some of the most common issues.

Root rot

Symptoms: Yellowing, wilting, or mushy leaves, and a foul smell coming from the soil.

Cause: Overwatering or poor drainage, which can lead to fungal infections in the roots.

Solution: Remove the aloe plant from its pot, trim away any affected roots, and let the plant dry for a day or two. Repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil and a container with drainage holes. Adjust your watering schedule to ensure the soil dries out completely between waterings.

Mealybugs and scale insects

Symptoms: Small, white, cotton-like masses (mealybugs) or brown, oval-shaped bumps (scale insects) on leaves and stems.

Cause: Pests that feed on the plant's sap, weakening the plant and potentially transmitting diseases.

Solution: Remove visible pests using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For larger infestations, treat the plant with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray, following the manufacturer's instructions.


Symptoms: Brown, dry, or scalded-looking patches on the leaves, often appearing on the side facing the sun.

Cause: Excessive direct sunlight, particularly in hot and sunny climates.

Solution: Move the aloe plant to a location with bright, indirect sunlight, or provide shade during the hottest part of the day. Damaged leaves will not recover, but new growth should be healthy.

Slow growth or leggy appearance

Symptoms: Stunted growth, elongated stems, or pale leaves.

Cause: Insufficient light, which can cause the plant to stretch towards the light source.

Solution: Gradually increase the amount of light your aloe plant receives, ensuring it gets bright, indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours per day. Be careful not to expose the plant to harsh direct sunlight suddenly, as this can cause sunburn.

By understanding and addressing these common aloe plant problems, you can ensure your plant remains healthy and vibrant, making it a stunning addition to your indoor or outdoor space.


Aloe is a common name for a group of monocotyledon succulents of the same species name. Aloe is a graceful and undemanding plant that works great as indoor plant. If you provide it with a suitable, sunny position and take care of its regular but not abundant watering, it will certainly reward you with a beautiful and abundant growth.