12 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid When Caring for Your Precious Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, this plant with multiple benefits, is a must-have in many homes.

It is appreciated for its medicinal and cosmetic virtues.

However, its survival and prosperity requires a certain respect for the basic rules.

As a French language specialist, I will explain with precision and clarity the twelve most common mistakes that aloe veras owners make.

This way, you will avoid these pitfalls and your plant will thank you with its flowering and its benefits.

Mistake #1: Overwatering

The first mistake, common but harmful, is watering aloe vera too frequently.

Excess water is the number one enemy of this plant. Native to desert regions, aloe vera has developed an exceptional ability to store water in its thick leaves to cope with long periods of drought. Therefore, watering too frequently can lead to root rot and plant death.

  • Water your aloe vera once a week in summer and once every two to three weeks in winter.
  • Make sure the water drains through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
  • Never leave stagnant water in the saucer under the pot.

Mistake #2: Insufficient sunlight

The second error arises from a lack of exposure to light.

Aloe vera is a sun-loving plant. A shady location or too far from a source of natural light can hinder its growth. Without sufficient light, its leaves become pale and elongated and the plant may even stop growing.

  • Place your aloe vera near a south or west facing window to benefit from the best light.
  • If you live in an area with little sunlight, consider using special artificial light for plants.

Mistake #3: Unsuitable flooring

The third mistake concerns the choice of soil.

Rich, moist soil, ideal for most houseplants, is contrary to the needs of aloe vera. This plant prefers well-draining soil that mimics the conditions of its natural desert habitat.

  • Opt for a mixture of potting soil and coarse sand, or purchase a specialized potting soil for cacti and succulents.
  • Avoid using clay soil or overly rich potting soil that retains water.

Mistake #4: An Inadequate Pot

The fourth mistake is planting aloe vera in an inappropriate pot.

A pot without drainage holes or a container that is too large can cause water to pool and cause root rot. Additionally, a pot that is too spacious can also slow down the growth of the plant.

  • Choose a pot with drainage holes and not too large for the size of your plant.
  • Prefer terracotta pots which allow good evaporation of water.

Mistake #5: Incorrect size

The fifth mistake concerns the size of the aloe vera.

Improper pruning can harm the health of your plant. It is important not to cut the leaves randomly, as this could damage the plant and hinder its growth. Additionally, using an unsanitized tool can introduce disease.

  • Always use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to prune your aloe vera.
  • Cut only the oldest leaves, those near the base of the plant.
  • Never cut the central stem, as this is where new growth occurs.

Mistake #6: Lack of fertilization

The sixth mistake is neglecting the fertilization of your aloe vera.

Although aloe vera is a hardy plant that can survive harsh conditions, it will benefit from regular fertilization to promote growth and flowering. However, excess fertilizer can be harmful.

  • Fertilize your aloe vera once a month during the growing season, from March to October.
  • Use a half-diluted liquid fertilizer or a specific fertilizer for cacti and succulents.

Mistake #7: Inadequate temperature

The seventh error concerns temperature conditions.

Aloe vera loves heat and cannot tolerate cold. Too low a temperature can damage or even kill the plant. Additionally, cold drafts can also be harmful.

  • Store your aloe vera at a temperature between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.
  • Avoid placing the plant near a window or door in winter, where it may be exposed to cold drafts.

Mistake #8: Incorrect propagation

The eighth mistake is related to the spread of aloe vera.

Propagating aloe vera is a fairly simple task, but it can easily fail if not done correctly. Incorrect propagation can result in the death of suckers or cuttings.

  • Wait until the suckers reach a size of about 5 cm before separating them from the mother plant.
  • Use a sharp, clean knife to separate the suckers.
  • Allow the sucker to air dry for a few days before planting.

Mistake #9: Improper repotting

The ninth mistake is incorrect potting.

Repotting is necessary when the plant outgrows its pot, but it can be stressful for aloe vera if not done correctly. Improper repotting can damage the roots and slow plant growth.

  • Wait until spring to repot your aloe vera.
  • Choose a slightly larger pot than the previous one and make sure it has drainage holes.
  • Handle the roots with care and be sure to remove all old potting soil.

Mistake #10: Mismanagement of sucker growth

The tenth mistake concerns the management of the growth of aloe vera suckers.

The suckers are the new shoots that grow from the base of the aloe vera. If you let these suckers grow unchecked, they can deplete the parent plant’s resources and inhibit its growth.

  • Remove suckers regularly to allow the mother plant to conserve its resources.
  • You can also replant them in another pot to get a new aloe vera plant.

Mistake #11: Improper use of leaves

The eleventh mistake is improper use of aloe vera leaves.

Aloe vera is known for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. However, incorrect use of the leaves can lead to a loss of these valuable qualities. Additionally, cutting off too many leaves at once can weaken the plant.

  • Always harvest the oldest leaves, those closest to the base of the plant.
  • Don’t use a whole sheet at a time, just cut off the amount you need.
  • Be sure to seal the cut on the leaf with a piece of cloth or paper to prevent loss of gel.

Mistake #12: Exposure to parasites and diseases

The twelfth and final mistake is exposing your aloe vera to pests and diseases.

Like all plants, aloe vera is susceptible to attack by various parasites and diseases. Aphids, scale insects, root rot and rust are some of the common problems this plant can experience.

  • Inspect your plant regularly for signs of pest infestation or disease.
  • If you detect a problem, isolate the plant and treat it quickly to prevent spread.
  • Maintain a clean environment around your plant to prevent pest infestations.

Caring for aloe vera requires some understanding of its needs and natural environment. Avoiding these twelve common mistakes will help you keep your plant healthy and reap its many benefits. Remember, each plant is unique and may require slightly different care. Get to know your aloe vera and understand its specific needs to provide it with the best possible environment.