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How often to water Aloe | For a happy plant!

The genus Aloe is one of the most common succulents out there, not in the least because of the popular Aloe vera. If you’ve obtained your own, you might be wondering how often to water Aloe. Watering issues are unfortunately the prime cause of death for these succulents!

Keep reading to find out how often to water Aloe to keep your plant happy and healthy.

The overwatering debacle

Many beginning houseplant enthusiasts are surprised to learn that overwatering kills more plants than underwatering. Succulents like Aloe are no exception in being ‘loved to death’. So let’s talk overwatering for a bit, shall we?

The majority of plants doesn’t like wet feet. They love water, sure, but they don’t appreciate their roots standing in water all the time at all. Excess moisture is an easy road to root rot, which in turn can cause the entire plant to wilt and waste away.

It’s important to understand that, as strange as this sounds, overwatering is not just caused by giving too much water too often. Soil composition and the planter also play a part. If the mix is too dense and the planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, then the soil might end up staying wet for too long and causing trouble.

And that’s not all. Another factor is light: a plant that doesn’t receive a lot of light won’t use as much water because it can’t grow as well. This makes it easier to overwater it. No plant will thrive in a dark corner!

If your Aloe is not planted correctly or isn’t receiving a lot of light, you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure. Try having a look at the full Aloe care guide to find out more about the other care aspects of this succulent.

Tip: A terracotta planter with a drainage hole works like a charm for succulents. The porous material allows excess water to evaporate. Be sure to use a gritty soil mix meant for succulents.

Aloe vera plant in glossy white planter | How often to water Aloe
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How often to water Aloe: When is it time?

Now that you hopefully understand the dangers of keeping your plant too wet, let’s move on to how often to water Aloe.

Although this plant naturally grows in arid savannah lands in Southern and Eastern Africa (Cousins & Witkowski, 2012), it does like moisture. In the end, it’s all about balance.

There is no set schedule for watering any type of plant: it all depends on the environment, season, soil consistency, light and more. Sorry! That being said, here are some guidelines that can give you a pretty good idea of when it’s time to give your Aloe a soak.

  • During the warm and light summer months, you’ll need to water your plant more often than during winter, when it’s likely dormant and not growing much.
  • In practice, this means you can let the soil dry out about halfway during summer and entirely during winter.
  • To find out how wet or dry the soil is, just stick your finger in there. You can also use a chopstick if you don’t want dirt under your nails. If you don’t feel any moisture, it’s probably time to give your plant a drink.
  • You can also lift up the planter and feel its weight. A light planter means time to water, whereas you can give it a bit more time if it still feels heavy.
  • In practice, if your Aloe is getting plenty of light on a bright windowsill, you’ll probably be watering about every 1-2 weeks during summer and every 3-4 weeks during winter.
  • If you keep your Aloe outdoors, things might be a bit different. Potted plants can dry out very quickly during a hot day, so keep a closer eye on the plant just in case.

Tip: An underwatered Aloe will take on a wrinkly, slightly shriveled appearance. An overwatered one, on the other hand, might become soft and limp.

Aloe succulent plant in terracotta container in the sun.

How do you water an Aloe?

The most important thing to remember about Aloes and other succulents is that they don’t like a little bit of water often. They like a good soak and then to be left alone until the soil has had some time to dry.

Once the time comes to give your Aloe a drink, make sure you thoroughly wet the soil until water comes running out of the drainage hole on the bottom of the planter. If you use a saucer underneath, remove excess water after a few minutes.

During the summer growing months, you can use some diluted succulent fertilizer while watering around once a month.

If the water in your area tends to be quite hard, try soaking your Aloe’s soil with distilled water a few times a year. This helps flush out any built-up minerals from the soil.

Cousins, S. R., & Witkowski, E. T. F. (2012). African aloe ecology: a review. Journal of Arid Environments85, 1-17.