Aloe is a tough and resilient succulent that grows best in soil that drains well. That’s why it’s ideal to grow it in a pot filled with fast-draining cactus mix, like Miracle-Gro(r) Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, formulated for container growing.
Ideally, repot your aloe in the spring or summer (zones 9 and 10). Plant it in a container that is an inch or two larger than the old one, to allow room for the roots.
Selecting a Pot
Choosing the right pot for your aloe plant is an important part of maintaining its health. Whether you’re repotting an existing plant, or starting a new one, choosing the correct size and type of pot can make all the difference.
A good pot for an aloe vera plant is a container that provides adequate drainage and holds enough water to keep the plant healthy. Porous materials, such as terracotta or ceramic, are best.
They allow the soil to dry out between waterings, which is crucial for succulent plants like aloe vera that withstand drought. They are also heavier than plastic or glazed containers, which help to ensure the plant doesn’t tip over.
The ideal pot for an aloe plant is about 5 percent larger than the plant’s current size, leaving 1 to 2 inches of space around each side. This allows room for the roots to grow, and gives the plant room to thrive.
Aloes can grow pretty large and often need a new home to accommodate their growth. Repotting gives them a new container with the proper soil, space for roots and nutrients, and a fresh look.
A repot can also help prevent rootbound issues. If a plant gets rootbound, it can grow spindly and not produce any gel at all.
To repot, first remove the plant from its current pot. Be careful to pull the plant out from under its soil without disturbing the roots or breaking any leaves, as you will want to leave these in place.
Then, fill a clean container with a well-draining potting mix (like Rosy aloe vera soil). Center the plant in its new pot, gently firming the soil down around its base.
You can repot a baby plant and its mother plant together, but you will need to wait for about twenty-four hours before they will start suffering from transplant shock. After that, you can separate them and give them their own pots to begin growing a root system.
Transplanting Baby Plants
Mature aloe plants often produce offsets–also known as plantlets, pups, or “babies”–that can be removed to produce an entirely new plant (a clone of the mother plant, technically). Find where the offsets are attached to the mother plant and separate them using pruning shears, scissors, or a sharp knife.
Then, repot the baby plant into a standard succulent potting mix with a well-draining soil. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the existing container and is about as deep as the roots of the aloe.
Water your aloe transplant often, but sparingly–especially during hot weather–to help it get established and begin to grow roots. Check the soil for dryness at a few inches below the surface; if the soil is wilting, more water may be required.
Transplanting is a simple process, but it can cause your aloe plant to look a little stressed. Take care to let the plant recover in a shady spot for a day or two after it’s been transplanted.
Starting New Plants
Aloe plants grow best in cactus- or succulent-based potting soil that drains well. You can use a commercial mix or create your own by mixing equal parts of sand, peat moss and perlite in a high-quality, organic compost such as Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost.
Once the potting soil has been thoroughly mixed and your new aloe plant is settled in, water it well, using rainwater or distilled water. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.
In addition to watering, aloes need a lot of light to thrive. Since they are primarily succulents, they prefer partial sunlight, but you should never leave them in direct sunlight.
You can try starting new plants from offsets (also called “plantlets” or “pups”) that form on mature aloe vera plants. Typically, you’ll want to find where the offsets are attached to the mother plant, cut them off at an inch or so from the stem tip and then plant them in standard succulent potting soil.