Aloe plants are succulents that store water in their thick, fleshy leaves. This allows them to survive periods of drought in their native, arid environments. However, just because aloe plants can go longer between waterings doesn’t mean they don’t need any water at all. Knowing how much water to give your aloe plant is key for keeping it happy and healthy.
How Often To Water an Aloe Plant
As a general rule, aloe plants should be watered deeply but infrequently. Water when the soil is completely dry, then soak the soil completely. Allow all excess water to drain out the bottom of the pot. This wet/dry cycle prevents soggy soil, which can lead to root rot.
Specific watering frequency depends on factors like:
Pot size – Plants in smaller pots need more frequent watering than those in larger pots. The smaller the pot, the faster the soil dries out.
Climate – Aloe plants in hot, dry climates need more frequent watering than those in cool, humid climates. The heat causes soil to dry out faster.
Season – Water less in the winter when growth has slowed. In the active growing seasons of spring and summer, aloes need more frequent watering.
Sun exposure – Aloe plants in full sun need to be watered more often than those growing in partial shade.
Soil composition – Well-draining soil mixtures require more frequent watering than soil containing materials that help retain moisture.
As a general guideline, water a medium-sized aloe plant in a 6-8 inch pot every 2-3 weeks in the summer and 4-6 weeks in the winter if it’s kept indoors.
How Much Water Does an Aloe Plant Need?
When you do water your aloe plant, water deeply until liquid flows from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. This ensures water reaches the entire root zone.
The exact amount of water depends on the size of your aloe plant and its container. Small aloe plants in 4-6 inch pots may only need 1⁄4-1⁄2 cups per watering. Larger plants may need several cups, even a quart or more, to fully saturate the soil.
Signs Your Aloe Plant Needs Water
Learn to read your aloe plant’s signs of thirst, so you know when it’s time to water again:
Dry soil – Stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it is completely dry, it’s time to water.
Drooping or curling leaves – As the plant loses moisture, the leaves may start to droop or curl inward. Water and the leaves will soon plump up again.
Loss of sheen – Aloe leaves normally have a glossy sheen. When they lose luster and appear dull, it indicates a need for water.
Slowed growth – Lack of water stunts growth. If your plant hasn’t put out new leaves recently, resumed growth after watering is a sign it was thirsty.
Tips for Watering Aloe Plants
Here are some tips for making sure your aloe plant gets the right amount of water for healthy growth:
- Water early in the day to allow the leaves to dry fully before night. Wet foliage overnight encourages rot.
- In dry climates, increase humidity around the plant by placing the pot on a pebble tray filled with water.
- Add sand, gravel or perlite to garden soil used in containers to improve drainage.
- For indoor plants, allow tap water to sit out overnight before using. This allows the chlorine and fluoride to dissipate.
- To check if your plant needs water, stick a chopstick or skewer into the soil and pull it out. If it comes out clean, the soil is too dry.
Aloe plants don’t need constant moisture like some houseplants, but they still require regular watering to look and grow their best. Allow the s oil to dry between thorough waterings. With the proper wet/dry cycle, you can keep your aloe plant hydrated just right for healthy, lush growth. Pay attention to signs of under or overwatering and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.