Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis is a beautiful foliage plant. All aloe plants are a member of the Succulent family. Their leaves are long and thick. These leaves store water and minerals for the plant to survive drought-like conditions. Today we will discuss the preparation of soil mix for Aloe vera plants.
Aloe vera plants are native to the dry African climate. These plants can survive long hot summer days without water. This doesn’t mean that you need not water these at all. They need water but in very less quantity.
DIY SOIL MIX for Aloe vera– 1part regular soil, 1 part clean coarse sand, 1 part perlite or cocopeat with 1/2 part compost or leaf mold is best for aloe plants.
What kind of Soil Do Aloe Vera Plants Need?
Aloe vera plants need well-drained nutritious soil. These plants are succulent in nature. They love dry porous soil to grow.
It means any aloe plant will do best in soil that drains well and can retain enough moisture to survive. The soil should be nutritious and supportive.
The best soil for aloe vera should be loamy, sandy soil. It should be coarse in texture and rough in touch.
Expert cactus and succulent growers suggest mixing commercial potting soil with clean sand and grit. I personally using cocopeat or perlite for the best growth in aloe plants.
Read my previous article: How to Kill Grass Burrs? get rid of southern sandspur
What is the Correct Ph Balance for Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera plants love slightly alkaline soil. The ideal Ph balance is between 7.5 to 8.0 for all Aloe plants. In nature, these plants can survive in soil with Ph 6.8 to Ph 8.5. Therefore, Neutral to slightly alkaline soil is good for growing aloe vera plants.
You can test the Ph of your potting mix using vinegar or a standard ph strip. Sometimes testing the ph before potting any plant is a good decision.
You can add half a teaspoon of fine wood ash to maintain the ideal ph balance for Aloe vera plants.
What are the Natural Growing conditions for Aloe vera Plants?
Direct sunlight, sandy soil and warm temperature is the ideal natural condition for Aloe vera plants to grow.
Aloe vera plants need at least 3-4 hour direct sunlight every day. In fact, more than this is not recommended for indoor growing. Sunlight is necessary for Aloe plants to grow but an excess of it can turn the leaves red or brown.
Read my previous article for more details-Why do Aloe vera plants turn red, how to prevent this?
Aloe plants love soil with the sand mix. Loamy soil is ideal for this plant. The Soil mix for Aloe vera should be coarse in texture with high drainage. It would not hold water. Aloe vera plants can’t survive waterlogging or even soggy soil.
The rainy season is not for Aloe vera. Every member of the genus Aloe loves hot climatic conditions. These plants need warm soil and air to grow healthy.
In the US, the agricultural Hardiness zones 8 to 11 are good for cultivating Aloe vera plants. Aloe plants are not compatible with cold climatic conditions. Still, you can protect them during heavy frost. You can easily move them inside a shade or greenhouse during such harsh conditions.
Also read: Can you use garden soil for indoor plants?
Best Aloe vera soil mix Recipe
Coarse sandy soil is best for Aloe vera plants. You can prepare your own soil mix for aloe vera if you want. Also, you can use any succulent mix or cactus mix for Aloe vera plants.
Best soil Recipe for Aloe plants should fulfill these four Conditions. First is Support to the plant. Obviously, anything like soil or sand can provide support to the plants to stand firm. We will discuss the latter three factors for aloe soil mix.
- Proper drainage and water retention. The soil mix should be well-drained especially for any succulent like aloe vera. Also, it should store enough moisture to protect the roots from drying. It should not hold water for more than 30 seconds.
- Proper Aeration in the soil. The soil mix for aloe vera should be well aerated. The fine air pockets in the soil mix help the roots to breathe effectively and reduce fungal attacks. The Best soil mix for aloe vera should be coarse in texture. This is why sandy soil is always preferred for Aloe plants.
- Nutrition Balance. The soil for aloe vera should be dry and coarse. Also, it should store enough nutrients to support the healthy growth of the plant. This is a really fine balance. It is important because running water will wash off the soluble nutrients and the mix can quickly lose its fertility. Also, if you add too much organic matter for fertilization, then the soil will hold more moisture. this moisture can lead to root rot disease. Therefore best soil for aloe vera should be well balanced in the organic and inorganic matter- This is a tricky task.
Best soil mix for aloe vera available online
- Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
- All Natural Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix
- Espoma CA4 4-Quart Organic Cactus Mix
- Succulent Plants (5 Pack)
DIY Aloe vera Potting soil mix
There are many different ways to prepare quality potting soil for Aloe vera plants. Here I will discuss two easy and useful methods with all of you. First is the general method, you can do this easily to your home. The second is the commercial method. This is also easy but requires some more products and little skill.
The general method to prepare soil mix for Aloe vera
- Take 1 part garden soil. Clean the soil. Remove all the debris and plastic or stones from it. You can use a sieve to clean it thoroughly.
- Dry the soil in direct sun for 3-4 days. The soil should be completely dry before being used.
- Next, take an equal amount of River sand or construction sand. Wash the sand thoroughly. repeat the washing step 2 times.
- Let the sand dry for a few hours. After being dried, mix the soil and sand carefully. It should be in equal proportion (1:1) is ideal for aloe vera plants.
- Add 1 hand full or a fist full of compost and cocopeat to this mix. If you don’t have any then add some dry leaves in the soil mix.
- Mix everything thoroughly and fill the pots half and plant the aloe vera in it.
- Don’t water the plants at the time of potting. Water the plants after 24 hours of potting. Don’t worry the aloe plants will not die.
- Once potted leave the plants in shade for 2-3 days for acclimatization. After 3 days place the plants in full sun.
Commercial methods to prepare soil mix for Aloe vera
Commercially plant sellers prepare their own soil mix for aloe plants. Some secrets make those plants healthy and greener. Can you make that mix for aloe plants?
Yes, You definitely can make the best potting mix for aloe vera. It just takes some effort and time. Generally, very few chemical fertilizers are needed for aloe vera plants. Follow the given steps carefully for the best results in aloe vera plants.
- Mix Clean Soil, Sand, and Coco peat or perlite in equal proportion. Follow the rules- 1:1:1 mix is best commercially used. Don’t use beach sand. Some gardeners claim its use but I doubt. Beach sand can have a fine texture like clay and it contains salts in abundance.
- Add half part Compost or leaf mold to this mixture. Don’t add vermicompost. It will settle down and form a clay-like mixture at the bottom. Don’t worry if you add the recommended amount of compost then everything will be fine.
- Mix everything carefully. Even the distribution of nutrients and soil is important for aloe vera plants.
- Dry fry this mixture for 5-10 minutes. This is the secret of commercial plant sellers and gardeners. Heating the soil mix will reduce any chance of fungal growth and disease. Also, it will release the nutrients quickly.
- Add 1 teaspoon contact fungicide to this soil mix. Also, add 2 teaspoons of bone meal to each pot. These are the best ways to support your aloe plants.
- Again apply liquid fertilizers to this soil mix once every 15 days to keep your plants healthy.
Aloe vera is one of the easiest plants to grow. You can use any of these two methods to keep your aloe plants healthy. If you follow all these steps carefully then I can assure you that your plants will survive for more than 10 years.
Can I use cactus soil for the aloe vera plant?
Yes, You can use cactus soil for the aloe vera plant. Aloe Vera is a succulent plant. They need sandy soil with some nutrition. Aloe vera plants can survive in hot climatic conditions but they can’t tolerate the driest drought conditions like any cactus plant.
Cactus soil is made specifically for cactus plants. This soil is similar to the succulent mix but with some changes. This soil is not ideal for most plants. Till you can use this soil mix for your aloe vera plants. You have to make a few changes to use this soil for the aloe vera plant.
- Mix 3 part cactus mix with 1 part cocopeat and 1 part dry compost.
- Add 1 tea-spoon low nitrogen NPK 5-5-5 or similar to this soil mix.
- Spray little water to this soil mix. Make it slightly wet, not soggy. Mix the soil thoroughly.
- Leave the soil mix to completely dry for 3 days.
- After three days use this mixture for your Aloe vera plants. You will definitely see faster growth within 30-45 days.
Note:- Water only if required. Regular watering is not necessary during monsoon and winter days.
Can you use regular potting soil for aloe vera?
Yes, You can use regular potting soil for aloe vera but with little care. Regular potting soil is made for a general garden or indoor plants. These soil mixes are not cured for succulent specific growth requirements.
Sometimes Regular potting soil can store too much moisture that can cause root rot. Root rot is very common in Aloe vera plants. In aloe vera plants, overwatering is the main source of root rot disease. This is why many gardeners don’t recommend regular potting mix for Aloe vera.
I personally don’t recommend using regular potting soil directly for you aloe vera. Instead, you can follow these steps to check whether your soil is fit for an aloe plant or not?
- Take a Styrofoam or single-use plastic glass.
- Make 4-5 holes at the bottom of the glass. You can use a pen, a nail, or even a knife to make these holes. Be careful don’t break the entire base of the glass. This is very common with these single-use glasses.
- Fill the glass with your regular potting soil. Gently press the soil with your thumb.
- Leave at least 1/2 cm or inch space at the top. This place is for watering.
- Now pour some water gently on the top of the soil mix and count for it to pass.
- If the water comes down within 30 seconds then the soil is the best for aloe plant. If it takes more than 45 seconds then the soil is fairly good to be used for aloe vera. Else if it takes more than 60 seconds then don’t use it for Aloe plants.
Still, if you want to use a regular potting mix for your Aloe vera plants. Then add 2 part regular soil with 1 part clean washed sand. This mix will be fine for an aloe plant. Also, add some contact fungicide to the soil mix. Aloe vera plants are highly susceptible to fungal attack. This will protect the plants from any fungus causing root rot diseases.
Is Wood ash good for Aloe vera?
Yes, Wood ash is good for aloe vera plants but use it with proper care. Wood ash is a great agent to turn the soil alkaline. Adding 1 or 2 spoons of wood ash can be beneficial for aloe vera plants.
Wood ash can balance the required Ph of the soil. Also, it can protect the plant from several pest and fungal attack. black spot in aloe vera is commonly due to fungal attack. This can be controlled by sprinkling fine wood ash powder over the leaves.
Always be careful with the use of wood ash as it can increase the ph quickly. Too much wood ash can make the soil highly alkaline which is not good for any plant. Not even Aloe vera can survive ph over 8.5 for a long time.
Are coffee grounds good for aloe vera plants?
No, Coffee ground is not good for aloe vera plants. Generally, the coffee ground is considered nutritious for house plants. It is nutritious but it lowers the Ph of the soil.
We know that Aloe plants love alkaline soil. Adding coffee ground to the soil makes it acidic. Aloe plants can not survive in acidic soil. Initially, the leaves turn pale and lose the firmness. Later the plants will die.
Are eggshells good for aloe vera plants?
Yes, eggshells are good for aloe vera plants. You just have to clean it carefully. There should be no trace of yolk or egg white left on the shells. These leftovers can attract fungal attack to the soil as well as the plants. Cleaning eggshells is important to protect your plants from fungal attack.
Eggshells can provide extra potassium and phosphorus for healthy plant growth. You should use eggshells with some care.
- Roast the shells. If possible roast the eggshells for 15 minutes in the microwave. This will disintegrate the bonds and kill all the spores on the shell.
- Ground the eggshell. You can use a grinder to grind the eggshells. It should be fine powdery in texture.
- Use in Balance. This important, too much of anything is bad. Use only 1 or 2 spoons full of this eggshell ground per pot.
Special Tips for Aloe Vera Plants
- Water the aloe plants only after the soil gets completely dry. Even in summer days take a 4-6 days gap before watering. In monsoon Water only if required. Water the plants once in 15 or 20 days during winter months.
- Aloe vera plants don’t need much fertilization. Still apply organic compost once every 3 months to keep the plants healthy.
- Apply a mixture of contact fungicide and water once every month over the leaves and soil. This will protect the plant from any fungal attack.
- Aloe vera can survive in dry desert-like conditions. Still, I will recommend putting aloe plants in partial shade where it can get direct sunlight for just 3-4 hours a day.
If you follow all these details carefully then your aloe plants can survive for more than a decade. It is really easy to grow and maintain.
I hope now you can prepare your own soil mix for Aloe vera plants. These plants are best for air purification and can be grown easily anywhere. If you don’t have a garden or a newbie in gardening then you should start with Aloe vera. It will stay with you for years.
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