Most people assume that watering is the most important factor in Aloe Vera plant care. But I think suitable soil plays a much more crucial part in your plant’s health!
Most often, these beautiful succulent plants die due to poor soil conditions.
You may know Aloe Vera for its low maintenance upkeep, which may make you think the plant can be grown just about anywhere and thrive, but sadly, this is not true. Due to the nature of this plant, it needs a specific soil mix to keep its roots healthy!
It sounds much more complicated than it actually is. Creating a DIY Aloe Vera potting soil is incredibly easy and can be done using as few as four ingredients.
Below is my favorite potting mix that has kept my Aloe Vera thriving for years!
Table of Contents
About Aloe Vera Succulents
Succulent plants are known for their fleshy, thick foliage that stores water inside them.
Aloe Vera, one of these plants, is famous for its thick leaves filled with aloe vera gel. This gel is full of moisture, meaning Aloe leaves have lots of water storage!
Aloe Vera Origin
Aloe Vera originates from the deserts in Arabia and Northern Africa, where it grows in poor, sandy soil, warm temperatures, and arid climates.
Aloe Vera receives infrequent rainfall in its natural habitat, so it has adapted to store moisture inside its leaves. This makes it possible for the plant to survive prolonged droughts!
Among the Aloe genus are over 400 specimens, such as the Aloe Barbadensis, Aloe Aborescens, and of course, the Aloe Vera. They have been cultivated worldwide and are among the most popular indoor plants.
Aloe Vera plants were initially grown as medicinal plants, as the aloe leaf’s clear gel contains many medicinal properties. But recently, the plant is often sold and bought for decorative purposes only.
Fun Fact: Aloe plants are widely considered lucky in homes and are a great alternative to bad luck plants. However, they also put people with latex allergies at risk, so if you have latex allergies, it’s something to consider.
Aloe Vera Care Requirements
Keeping an Aloe Vera healthy and happy is not difficult, but knowing its needs is essential. These plants thrive off neglect and can go for months without a sip of water.
Watering your Aloe Vera when the soil feels bone dry is best. Check the soil with your finger weekly, and water when the soil feels bone dry.
You’ll notice the plant is thirsty when the leaves feel soft and wrinkly. After watering, they will plump back up quickly!
On average, water your Aloe monthly during spring and summer and cease watering entirely in the winter. The Aloe Vera leaves store enough water to sustain themselves throughout the cold months when the plant is dormant.
Don’t worry about giving your Aloe too much water at once. Overwatering is done through too frequent watering, not too much water at a time!
Water the soil thoroughly to become evenly saturated, then let it dry out completely again.
Lots of Light
If you have a sunny spot in a south-facing window, give it to your Aloe! These plants adore the sun and can tolerate direct sunlight even during hot summer afternoons.
But, ensure the plant is acclimated adequately to full sun exposure. Otherwise, you risk burning the leaves.
You can also keep your Aloe in bright, indirect sunlight instead. It will grow just as well.
It’s important not to place your Aloe Vera in low indirect light, as this can cause leggy growth and increase the risk of overwatering.
What Is The Best Soil Mix For Aloe Vera?
My Recommendation: Succulent Soil from Tinyroots!
If you are in a garden center looking for soil for your Aloe plants, choose succulent or cactus mix like this succulent soil from Tinyroots. This is the best potting soil option if you don’t want to create your own mix (in my opinion).
Most cactus soil contains coarse sand and grit to allow water to run freely from the soil, which is vital in keeping your Aloe Vera roots healthy.
Regular potting mix or garden soil often consists of peat moss, compost, and sometimes a small amount of perlite.
These mixes hold onto too much moisture, leading to overwatering and root rot in succulents.
These soils also ensure that you don’t kill off an entire succulent arrangement – especially those costly arrangements from something like a DIY succulent or cactus kit.
Why Do Succulents Need A Different Soil Mix?
Most tropical houseplants need constant moisture in the soil to keep their foliage healthy and green, but this is not the case for succulent plants.
Succulents hold a lot of moisture inside their foliage, which means they rely less on moisture in the soil.
Succulent soil needs to dry out a lot faster. Since succulents have a lower need for soil moisture, their roots do not absorb the same amount of water from the soil.
As a result, the soil would remain wet for too long, drowning the roots and causing root rot on a succulent plant.
Be sure to choose the right types of succulents to pair together to ensure health and productivity in your garden!
What To Look For In Aloe Vera Potting Soil
Choosing the right soil mix for your Aloe Vera is easier than it sounds.
When choosing or creating a soil mix for your Aloe plant, you must consider three essential factors.
The most important thing is proper drainage. The soil should allow excess water to run through easily and quickly so that the soil does not remain wet for too long.
Good drainage also allows proper airflow through the soil, which is essential for keeping the roots healthy as they require oxygen to live!
Soil with a Neutral pH
Aloe Vera can thrive in various soil pH, with the ideal pH level around 6, which is more or less neutral.
Having the right pH level in your soil and avoiding extraordinarily alkaline soil or acidic soil will allow nutrients to be absorbed optimally and prevent diseases like fungal infections.
When in doubt, use a soil pH meter like this one. It will keep your Aloe happy and healthy.
Proper Nutrition Balance
Since Aloe Vera naturally occurs in desert-like, dry conditions and loamy soil, they are used to growing in poor soil.
This means the soil should not contain vast amounts of nutrients, which could lead to root burn on your Aloe.
The Perfect DIY Aloe Vera Potting Soil Mix
Creating a DIY soil mix from scratch is the best way to care for your Aloe Vera.
This way, you can control what goes in the soil and how much, making it easy to adjust the soil to your specific needs and care regimen!
Below is the recipe for my favorite Aloe Vera potting mix, which I use to keep my Aloe Vera healthy and promote vigorous plant growth.
This soil has excellent drainage and a balanced pH level and ticks all of the other boxes for a good Aloe Vera potting mix, and will even work well with other plants like Pothos!
DIY Aloe Vera Potting Soil Ingredients
Creating the right potting soil for Aloe Vera is about choosing the best components in your soil mix. Below are my go-to ingredients for Aloe Vera soil.
My Recommendation: Coco Bliss Coir
I like to use coco coir in my succulent mix because it is much more sustainable than peat-based potting soil, as it is a byproduct of coconut processing, while peat moss production is an industry on its own.
Coco coir is needed to hold onto moisture in the soil. It can hold up to a third of its weight in water, providing ample moisture for your Aloe Vera roots.
Another great bonus of coco coir is its pH of around 6.0, so you will not need to adjust the soil to alter the acidity!
Alternatively, you can use peat moss instead of coco coir if it is more available. Coco coir is also more expensive than peat-based soils.
My Recommendation: xGarden Premium Perlite
Perlite is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in volcanic rocks (lava rock). It’s incredibly lightweight and widely available, and it’s one of the most beneficial soil amendments available on the market!
I like to use it in my soils to enhance the drainage and aeration of my soil mix.
Due to the porosity of perlite, it creates airflow through the soil, allowing your Aloe Vera roots to breathe! This is going to help prevent overwatering and root rot.
Coarse Sand or Gravel
My Recommendation: Pure Original Potting and Garden Sand
Sand is a cheap and widely available product but can make a huge difference in your potting soil. It will help prevent constantly moist soil by making sure that the soil drains excess water properly.
Avoid using regular sand or play sand in your soil mixes, as these are too fine.
The best type of sand for your potting mix is Builder’s Sand or Horticultural Sand. These are available in most garden centers or hardware stores.
My Recommendation: Sun Bulb Orchid Bark
It may sound unconventional, but using Orchid Bark in your succulent soil mix will yield great results. The bark creates large air pockets in the soil, which will help excess water drain from the soil much faster.
You could also use a different organic material, such as pine bark, instead of Orchid bark.
Aloe Vera Soil Ingredient Measurements
To create my Aloe Vera soil, I combine all ingredients in equal parts and simply mix them well. Ultimately, you will be left with a fluffy, soft soil mix to keep your Aloe Vera plants in excellent health.
Considerations for Repotting Or Planting Aloe Vera
Use The Right Kind Of Pot
My Recommendation: D’vine Dev Terracotta Pots
Always make sure to use plant pots that have drainage holes in the bottom. Try using a terra cotta pot for a desert plant like Aloe Vera for the best results.
These pots can help prevent overwatering and root rot by absorbing moisture through their porous walls, making them the best pots for drought-loving succulents.
Alternatively, plant your Aloe in a plastic nursery or ceramic pots. Just ensure that the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
Drainage holes are crucial to keep your Aloe Vera healthy.
Without them, water remains in the bottom of the pot, overly saturating the soil and drowning your poor Aloe’s roots!
Pick The Right Size Pot
Avoid potting your Aloe Vera in a larger pot, thinking it will grow bigger!
When the pot is too big for the plant, the soil will remain wet for a long time as the roots cannot absorb all the moisture properly.
It also makes it harder for the roots to reach oxygen, significantly increasing the risk of root rot.
When choosing a new pot for your Aloe, aim for a pot that’s no more than 2 inches larger than the root ball of your plant—keeping your Aloe Vera in a relatively small pot will also anchorage it to produce Aloe Vera pups.
You can remove these baby plants from the mother plant to propagate and create new plants!
Prevent Transplant Shock
When repotting any houseplant, you must take measurements to prevent the plant from becoming too stressed.
Repotting is always stressful for a plant, as they are suddenly moved into a new home after being established and comfortable in its old pot for a long time. But you can minimize this stress.
Be gentle when handling your plant’s roots to prevent transplant shock. Try to damage and break the roots as little as possible, as too much disturbance in the roots can cause excess stress.
Always repot your plants during the spring or summer, as the roots will acclimate and recover much faster when there is bright light and warmth for healthy growthm root development, and succulent blooms.
FAQ for Aloe Vera Soil Mixtures
What Is The Best Soil Mix For Aloe Vera?
Like most succulents, Aloe Vera must be in a well-draining soil mix. Proper drainage, pH level, and nutrition are critical for a good soil mix. The best potting mix comprises equal amounts of coco coir, perlite, sand, and bark.
Can You Use Regular Potting Soil For Aloe?
No, I do not recommend using a standard potting mix for Aloe Vera as it often has poor drainage. However, if you wish to use a commercial mix, you can mix perlite and bark into the soil to enhance drainage and provide a more well-drained soil for your Aloe Vera.
Can I Put Coffee In My Soil For Aloe Vera?
No, I do not recommend adding coffee grounds to your Aloe Vera soil. Coffee is acidic and retains a lot of water, which can cause significant harm to your Aloe Vera root system! While coffee grounds have beneficial nutrients, it is unsuitable for your Aloe Vera.
If you wish to fertilize your Aloe Vera, you can do so by applying liquid fertilizer or using organic matter such as worm castings or compost and mixing this into the soil.
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