Stop asking how often do you water aloe vera and start asking how to best water aloe vera. These succulents are known to be resilient and ideal for first-time plant parents but I’m won’t let you completely off the hook. There is a technique to watering aloe vera plants.
Whenever possible, water aloe vera from the bottom. Since succulents store a lot of moisture in their leaves, their roots should get first contact with fresh water. This provides a more even distribution of moisture and avoids damage to the leaves.
Never tried watering your plants from the bottom? Now is as good a time to start as any.
This is what you need to know about how to water aloe vera plants correctly and why they prefer watering from the bottom. And as a bonus, I’ll also give you some tips on how to make watering from the top safer.
How to Water Aloe Vera Plants the Right Way (Up)
This is the best way to keep your indoor aloe vera plant healthy throughout the year. And while you are at it, water your other plants in the same way because most will benefit from watering from the bottom.
Step 1: Make sure your aloe vera plant pot has drainage holes. Check the bottom of the pot and see whether the holes are not clogged, either.
Step 2: Place the pot on a drainage tray to catch excess water and easier bottom watering.
Step 3: Pour water into the tray and wait for the water to get absorbed. This happens naturally through osmosis.
Step 4: Continue to add more water to the tray every time it dries up.
Step 5: Stop watering when more than 15-18 minutes have passed and the water remains in the tray. When this happens, the soil is fully saturated.
Step 6: Use any water leftover in the tray to water other plants.
Step 7: Do not water aloe vera again until the top soil has become completely dry. The finger test is the simplest way to find out when your plant needs watering.
Why You Should Water Aloe Vera from the Bottom – Not the Top
Aloe vera plants are succulents and like all succulents they hold most of their moisture in their leaves. This is why they are so plump and a beautiful shade of green.
This clever water storage is what allows them to thrive in extremely dry conditions like the desert. And also your air conditioned or heated room, for that matter.
Watering from the bottom also helps to make sure the roots are not absorbing too much salt and other minerals. Although some plants thrive in high mineral soils (orchids for example), it can be quite damaging to aloe vera.
If it is only the top layer of soil that holds moisture, the roots cannot transport essential nutrients to the leaves. You’ll start to get sad-looking limp and faded leaves and poor growth.
How to Water Aloe Vera from the Top – If You Really Must
My first recommendation will always be watering aloe vera plants from the bottom but if for some reason this isn’t possible, there is an alternative. There is a way, albeit a flawed way, to water aloe vera from the top and still keep it healthy.
Follow these tips for top watering aloe vera to avoid sickness, overwatering and underwatering.
Step 1: Always make sure there is a drainage hole. There is a good chance of overwatering when watering aloe vera from the top so this is non-negotiable.
Step 2: Use a watering can with a very slow trickle or practice pouring water out slowly. This helps to prevent overly saturating the top soil layer.
Step 3: Let the water trickle into the soil from the sides of the pot, avoiding the leaves as much as possible. Turn the pot as you go for more even distribution.
Step 4: Continue watering until water starts to come out from the drainage. Then, immediately stop watering.
Step 5: Leave the pot on a tray to catch any excess water still coming out. Empty the tray to avoid root rot.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Aloe Vera Recover from Overwatering?
To save overwatered aloe vera, remove it from the pot and let the remaining soil around its roots dry out before repotting into fresh soil. Cut off any leaves that have turned yellow, brown or black so the plant can focus its energy on recovering the healthy parts.
How Often Do Aloe Vera Plants Need Watering?
Water aloe vera plants once every 10 days or every 2 weeks, depending on the weather conditions. Do the finger test to check whether the soil has become dry enough for fresh watering.
Is It Better to Water Plants from the Top or Bottom?
For most plants watering from the bottom is best. This allows for more efficient water absorption from the roots and avoids water running off.
Lovely aloe vera plants are succulents that should be watered from the bottom. Use a tray to water the aloe vera and closely monitor how much water gets absorbed into the soil.
Never let water sit in the tray for more than 20 minutes or you will risk root rot. Also don’t water aloe vera until the leaves or the soil show signs that it is thirsty.
Poke your finger an inch into the top soil and check whether it is dry. If the soil doesn’t stick to your fingers it is safe to water the aloe vera plant.
If you must water aloe vera from the top, make sure that the water can drain out through the bottom. Water slowly and from the sides to get a more evenly moist soil.