Aloe vera is a world-renowned medicinal plant. Without any doubt, it is the most potent skin-healing herb.
Many people choose to grow aloe vera to avoid purchasing the processed products of its extracts. Others grow it to add life to their houses and gardens.
Regardless of the reasons for growing aloe vera, gardeners make many mistakes while attempting to keep this herb alive. The most troubling one is choosing the wrong potting soil for aloe vera.
Growing aloe vera in a soil that doesn’t suit its needs can result in its death. It’s as if you’re trying to keep a fish alive out of water.
I wrote this article to guide you through choosing the best potting soil for your aloe vera. The appropriate soil increases its odds of staying happy and healthy throughout its whole life. Let’s go!
Understanding Your Aloe Vera’s Soil Needs
Before mentioning the options available, let’s talk a little about aloe vera. Understanding why this herb loves certain types of soil is key in our discussion!
Aloe vera is a succulent plant. That means it usually grows in extreme drought conditions. This plant is native to the Arabian Peninsula, which is a sweltering and arid region.
This plant goes through its life thinking that water is as rare as a diamond. For this reason, it has adapted to hold onto extra amounts of water to stay stable.
You cannot water aloe vera the same way you do with other moisture-loving herbs. It won’t understand why you’re trying to bless it. It will start to wilt and eventually die.
Likewise, your aloe vera will struggle if you’re growing it in a medium that doesn’t drain water well, such as clay soil.
Your priority is to find a soil that doesn’t violate aloe vera’s natural requirements. You want this plant to feel like it’s growing in its native habitat.
Proper drainage isn’t where the story ends. Good potting soil shouldn’t only be fast draining. Otherwise, sand would be the ideal mix for your aloe vera.
Aloe vera also requires a rich medium to grow in, which is the beauty of potting mediums. In nature, succulent plants grow very slowly. On the contrary, in pots, we can make them grow as quickly as possible.
Since nutrient-rich organic matter traps a lot of water, you need to find the perfect balance. You need both draining materials and moisture-retaining organic matter. This mixture will keep your aloe vera happy.
But aloe vera is susceptible to some pests and diseases. You need to ensure you’re using a premium quality potting soil. They come prepared to fight off things that can harm the plant.
Overall, your aloe vera should be growing in a fast-draining, rich, and clean potting soil. The absence of one of these elements could affect the herb’s growth rate or even its chances of survival.
Aloe Vera Potting Soil:
It’s time to choose your potting soil, so let’s consider the best options available.
Modified Well-Drained Potting Soil for Aloe Vera:
A regular well-drained potting soil can work for your aloe vera. You can get any premium quality, fast-draining potting soil, such as FoxFarm mix, but you need to adjust the soil’s drainage capacity.
Take one part sand or perlite, (or any other effective draining material). Then mix it with two parts well-drained potting soil. That mixture produces a highly suitable medium for your aloe vera.
It’s always vital to purchase the best potting soil. Cheap potting mixes are full of fungus gnats and other pests. They also have a terrible texture. They tend to break down after a few months, leading to excessive water retention.
I always advise my friends and family to purchase the FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. It’s an exceptionally reliable and high-quality brand of soil.
You can also visit your local store or nursery and ask them about their best potting soil. Be sure to avoid the brands with discounts or that are on sale. In most cases, this means the product is inferior.
Cacti and Succulents Potting Soil for Aloe Vera:
“Cacti and succulents” potting soil is hands down the best choice for your aloe vera. Since this herb is a succulent plant, there is no doubt that such a potting mix would serve its needs well.
It’s true. Most succulent plants love acidic soil, but this isn’t the case with aloe vera. Premium brands of this soil are usually pH balanced, which is ideal for this plant.
These mixes are porous and allow water to drain quickly. At the same time, they are rich with nutrients and will allow plants to survive and flourish.
Many people have reported that their aloe vera plants are happiest in this soil. I grow most of my succulent plants in this mix because, when I do, I don’t need to watch them all the time.
Many high-quality succulent potting mixes are available on the market. Miracle-Gro® Cactus Palm & Citrus Potting Mix and Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix are perfect. You can find all these premium brands online on Amazon or the manufacturer’s online store.
Feeding Aloe Vera:
Okay, now you’ve chosen the soil that suits you the best. You should know that almost every plant also needs a fertilizer.
Soil amendments are especially important in the case of aloe vera. Succulent plants can grow very slowly without proper nutrition.
You should avoid using inorganic fertilizers. This rule holds particularly true with aloe vera. They can alter the soil’s pH level to a great degree without warning. That could affect the plant’s health.
To be safe, you should only use compost and other types of organic matter. I recommend using worm castings or leaf compost to enrich the soil.
Important Extra Tips About Soil for Aloe Vera:
- It would help if you repot your aloe every few months as the compost becomes exhausted. The duration between each repotting depends on how fast your aloe is growing. If it’s growing quickly, you might need to repot it every three months.
Remember that you only need to change the size of the container in case the roots are spreading all over the soil.
- You should never use the same potting soil when repotting your soil, even if you add new compost to the medium.
Don’t let the potting remain for a long time. The microbial ecosystem that’s present starts to change for the worse. The beneficial microbes start to decrease, and harmful ones begin to proliferate.
- You can also mulch your aloe vera pots with granite or chicken grits to balance the temperature of the soil. That prevents pests from laying eggs in the pots.
Most importantly, don’t use organic matter to mulch the containers; that causes more water retention. Too much water may cause the roots of your aloe vera to rot.
So, that’s it! Enjoy growing and looking after your aloe vera. And don’t forget to share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!