All species of aloe vera grown indoors are succulents. As you know, succulents are capable of storing water in the leaves and stems.
Sometimes this property becomes the reason for the plants’ destruction. As a grower, you may be convinced that this watery succulent might need a lot of water, which is a mistake!
Dry out between waterings and check the soil moisture level before watering again. Aloe vera needs water when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry. The watering frequency of the aloe vera plant depends on the season, potting mix, pot type, the growth stage of the plant. As a succulent, it can survive a long time without being watered. Overwatering can be fatal for the aloe plant, as it encourages fungal diseases like root rot.
So you need to precisely determine the watering schedule so that you do not hurt your aloe vera. Because overwatering causes rot in roots and rot neck and it can be fatal for the plant.
Signs of Aloe Vera Needs a Drink of Water
The aloe vera is native to Africa, that is why it can tolerate a great deal of drought and keep thriving without much water. The water receiving capacity enables this plant to survive longer without water.
So, you can not give this plant too much water. But still, it needs some water to survive. The question is how do you know if your aloe vera needs a drink of water. Well, it’s very easy to find out.
The best way is to check out the potting mix moisture level. Just insert your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle and feel the moisture. If the potting mix is wet enough then do not water and if it is dry then time to water, that’s it.
Personally, I do this test with a pencil or chopstick if I need to know quickly. I also have a moisture meter that is more accurate in determining the moisture level.
Now there are some external signs of underwatering or lack of water that you’ll find on your aloe:
- The aloe vera leaves will become thin and dry.
- Brittle Root
- Dry, Brown Spots on the Leaves
- Aloe Leaves Curling
- Brown and Dry Leaf Edges
- Aloe Have Brown Tips
- Aloe leaves turning yellow
If you find any of these signs then you should check the moisture level of the soil and water it properly.
How often to Water Aloe Vera
The frequency of watering depends on many environmental factors, primarily temperature and humidity.
During the growing season from spring to the end of summer, you should water once a week or as per the result of the moisture test with your finger. In particularly hot weather, you may need to carry out watering twice a week.
In the off-season, the aloe vera is prepared for the winter state of dormancy and is gradually transferred to watering once a month.
I often hear the question – how to water aloe vera in winter? Not more than twice a month! However, for each specific plant, it is necessary to consider the watering frequency individually.
In winter, the heating system works intensively, and the air in the room is usually dry. The soil mixture in the flower container dries up quickly, the aloe leaves become thinner, which means that the plant uses up its moisture reserves.
In this case, it is necessary to water your aloe vera, considering the state of the soil mix, and to prevent the point wilting or bending leaves.
Watering the Cuttings and Offshoots
If you are using cuttings or offshoots to make a new aloe baby then you need to know the watering rules. Before that, I recommend slightly sprinkling the cut sites with charcoal from infection.
Insert the cuttings or offshoots within the potting mix and place it in a well-ventilated area where it gets plenty of light.
Do not water it with a watering can or wet the soil. For four weeks keep the soil surface moist by misting it. Then start to watering sparingly when the root establishes.
Watering At the Time of Repotting
Before repotting into a large container of aloe, you should stop watering for two to three weeks. After repotting, do not water for at least five days.
Which Water Is Best For Aloe Vera
The type of water you are using matters for aloe vera. It is very sensitive to the water quality it absorbs. Tap water or city water contains chlorine, fluoride, and other disinfectants to make sure it is safe for the people.
But tap water is not suitable or safe for your aloe vera. The chemical substances which act like disinfectants can harm your plant. This type of water eliminates the b beneficial bacteria and microbes from the soil.
Beneficial microbes make the nutrient available for the plant roots to absorb. So now you know how tap water can cause damage to your aloe vera.
Here the characteristics that you should keep in mind:
Quality: The water must be clean and free from harmful chemicals. In this case, rainwater or filtered water is the best option.
If you do not have access to clean water then consider leaves the tap water overnight, within this period the chlorine will evaporate and heavy impurities will settle down at the bottom. In winter melted snow is another great option to collect clean water for your aloe vera.
Temperature: Always try to use room temperature water. You know that water temperature changes with the season.
In winter the water temperature may drop significantly which is not suitable for aloe vera. Make to heat up the water to normal room temperature, otherwise, it will cause chilling damage to roots and the plant.
In spring try to make sure the water temperature is somewhere near 68-72°F (20-23°С) and in summer 86-98°F (30-35°С). If you do not heat up the water, keep it in a warm room for few hours it heats up to the room temperature.
Water pH: Aloe vera likes a slightly acidic environment. So it is better to add some citric acid/lemon juice or vinegar to the water (2-3g per liter).
Important! I recommend adding some aloe juice to the water. This acts as a nutritional supplement and encourages thriving growth.
How To Water Aloe Vera
Watering is extremely important to make sure the health of aloe vera. This plant is vulnerable to root rot.
Root rot mainly occurs due to excessive watering. Too much-wet condition favors the Phytophthora and Pythium genera fungus which cause the rotting disease. Therefore, I water aloe in the following ways:
Watering from Above
If your plant is large enough then I recommend this method. The large plant needs water going from the root collar to the bottom layer of the root system. Use a watering can to create a thin stream of water close to the wall of the container.
Make sure not to drown the area. Stagnant water is not a good thing for succulents. After half an hour of watering, you will find the tray under the pot is filled with water. Pour out the excess water, otherwise, it will encourage fungus growth.
Important! With this method of watering, it is necessary to prevent water from getting into the center of the aloe vera or into the axils of the leaves. It can encourage fungal infection and rot of plant tissues.
Watering From Below
You will need a bowl or similar kind of container. Pour some water into the bowl then place the aloe vera in it. Now, the plant container will take as much as water it needs.
The potting mix needs to have a good drainage capacity so that it can drain out the excess water from the root zone. Constant dampness will cause serious damage eventually.
I love this way of watering my aloe vera because it’s a very effective and efficient way. And you don’t have to water as frequently as you normally do.
The water from the pot dries out very quickly. Over time the soil around the edge of the container drifts away. Now, when you water the water runs across the surface and goes into the gap between the container wall and soil.
Most of it does not reach the root system. That’s is the reason you may have an unhappy aloe vera even if you are watering regularly. So soaking is the best possible method of watering out there.
Get a bucket of water and submerge your aloe plant into it. Make sure the water level of the bucket is leveling up with the brim of the pot. You s
Now, you’ll see right in here is bubbling, and what that bubbling is the air pockets in that soil getting filled up with water. The water pushes in and it pushes the air out.
I like to let them sit and soak until all those bubbles are gone or you can just leave them there for you know ten twenty or more minutes. once your aloe pot is fully soaked then you’ll just take it away and let it drain out the excess water.
Watering And Simultaneous Feeding For Aloe Vera
Now, what if there is a way you can promote the growth of your aloe by watering? Yes, you can add liquid fertilizer while watering.
You should do this in the second half of the spring, at the beginning of summer, when it is the active growth stage for the plant. You need to feed according to the instructions, but several rules you should take into account:
- Before fertilizing, aloe is well watered, since fertilizer application on dry soil can cause a burn of the root system.
- Do not feed sick, weak plants.
- Do not fertilize your aloe vera plant if it is for medical purposes.
You can use finely crushed eggshells as a source of nutrients for aloe plants. Before use, it is well washed and dried. Pour the powdered shells into 3 liters of hot water and infuse them for a week. Then you can water aloe using the eggshell infusion watering.
Infusion of onion peels well destroys the pathogenic microbes of the soil mixture. Add 15g onion into 5-6 liter of warm water and boil it for 3 minutes. Now, let it cool down to room temperature the use it to water the aloe vera.
The health of aloe vera, including the root system, depends on the correct watering procedure. The moisture level on soil, along with sufficient lighting, significantly affects the formation of new leaves and shoots.
It is important to maintain the watering frequency and amount which depends on the time of year and the life cycle of your aloe vera.