Should You Fertilize Potted Indoor Aloe Vera Plants?
Not sure if you should fertilize indoor aloe vera plants or if it's something you should skip from your plant care routine? In this article, gardening expert Paige Foley examines if fertilizing your indoor aloe vera is ever considered a good idea, or if it's something that you can ignore.
Aloe vera may be one of the most popular houseplants on the market. This succulent has many benefits which make it an excellent houseplant whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener.
The plant is noted for being low-maintenance and hard to kill. Providing the proper care will ensure your Aloe Vera thrives and is useable for many years. Like other succulents, they need very little attention.
Since this popular succulent doesn’t need a whole lot of care, is fertilizing necessary to keep it happy? This is a common question and honestly isn’t very black and white. Aloe vera can adapt to many different growing conditions.
But do these low-maintenance plants benefit from a little extra care? Will the use of fertilizer help or harm your plant? Keep reading to learn if you should or shouldn’t fertilize your indoor Aloe Vera.
The Short Answer
Aloe Vera is a tough plant, but should you fertilize it? The answer is both yes and no. Aloe vera is native to desert regions and can survive in very nutrient-difficult soils. So with that being said, they won’t benefit from a regular feeding schedule during their growing season (March-September). Aloe vera will benefit from the occasional feeding which will give them a boost during the growing season.
Aloe vera grown in containers have a tendency to leach nutrients out of the soil more quickly. In the spring, you can begin applying either a liquid or slow-release fertilizer. Depending on the fertilizer you use you can reapply every few months or so. Apply according to the directions.
The Long Answer
Aloe vera can thrive in some pretty nutrient-deficient conditions. This is why this succulent is a top household plant to grow. On top of being hardy plants, they are very easy to care for. They will not require any crazy schedule to keep them happy and thriving.
Deciding whether or not to fertilize can be tricky. Although they can thrive in nutrient-deficient soils they can benefit from fertilizer in the growing season. Fertilizer will give the plant a boost to thrive and grow.
You can still fertilize if you aren’t interested in producing a bloom. The plant will appreciate a little extra boost during the growing season.
Types of Fertilizers to Use
There are two types of fertilizer to use. Those are a liquid fertilizer and a slow-release pellet. Both have their benefits and it really comes down to personal perseverance. When looking at purchasing a fertilizer, begin by looking for one designed for succulents.
If you choose to use a liquid fertilizer, choose a 10-40-10 mix. These ratios will give you a balance of proper nutrients. Try to avoid using a granular fertilizer. If you are nervous about using a liquid fertilizer, you can use less and monitor the plant for signs of stress.
If you have not interested in using a liquid fertilizer, you can use a slow-release fertilizer. These are personally my favorite to use because you only have to apply every 3 months or so. Following the directions, you sprinkle a determined amount over the soil and water thoroughly.
No matter the fertilizer you choose to use be sure you read the directions before applying. Overuse of fertilizer can be very harmful. Many garden centers and retail stores will carry fertilizer specifically for succulents or can point you in the right direction.
Aloe Vera is actively growing from spring to late summer and after this will enter a dormancy period. You can begin applying fertilizer in early spring, March, or April. Fertilizing early will give the plant energy to begin growing bigger and stronger.
You can continue to fertilize through the summer into early fall. Once temperatures become cooler, your plant will go dormant. Dormancy is normal and during this time the plant will require very little in the ways of water and nutrients.
Once the winter has begun, you will no longer need to fertilize. If you fertilize during the winter, the soil will hold onto those nutrients. Excess nutrients can cause the soil to become acidic. When the plant awakes from dormancy, the acidic soil can be a shock to the plant.
This will make for a very unhappy plant and you may need to repot if the plant shows signs of stress. You may also be able to thoroughly water and this may flush the excess nutrient from the soil. Excess nutrients can cause the root tips to dye back which can cause the plant to turn yellow or brown.
Creating a schedule for when to fertilize can be very beneficial. A schedule will help keep you from over or under-fertilizing during the growing season. Heavy applications can cause plant harm so keep track of how much and when is beneficial.
It is best to fertilize infrequently and lightly when you do decide to fertilize. During the growing season, you can fertilize every month or two. How often you fertilize will depend on the quality of your soil. Soil should be well-draining with and contain sand, gravel, or rocks to help drainage.
The application schedule will depend on the type of fertilizer you use. Typically, liquid fertilizers can be applied every month but be sure to read the label directions.
Slow-release pellets last much longer, anywhere from 1 to 3 months. Read the direction to see how often you should apply.
Fertilizer is a strong chemical, and when used improperly can damage or kill your plant. Always follow label directions when working with fertilizer. Once you have read the direction, you can begin to apply your fertilizer.
If you are getting ready to fertilize, there are a few steps to do beforehand. Approximately 12 hours before application, you should water your plant thoroughly. Moisture helps remove salts from the soil and helps prevent tip burn.
Water will also help move the nutrients through the soil and keep them from sitting in pockets in the soil. When you apply the fertilizer, be sure to apply it to the soil surface.
Applying fertilizer over the leaves can cause fertilizer burn and damage the aloe leaves. If you notice fertilizer burn, the plant will most likely grow out of it.
Aloe Vera is very hardy and can honestly adapt to any environment. When it comes to fertilizing, it’s not so black and white. Your plant will be perfectly happy without any fertilizer during the year. But if you are looking to give your Aloe a head start or boost of energy, fertilizing can be beneficial.