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The aloe vera is a unique and interesting succulent houseplant – it adds a lovely greenness to any room and is ideal for cleaning and purifying the air in your home. It’s also very easy to grow and with the right care, you’ll have this plant thriving in your home for years to come.
The aloe vera plant is also known for it’s healing benefits. The juice found in aloe vera leaves is used for skincare and treating burns and cuts and is also an ingredient in both food and healthcare products, such as aloe juice, shampoo, and shower gels.
If you have an aloe vera in your home, one of the questions you may have is how big do aloe plants get? I’ve put together everything you need to know about the size of aloe vera plants, as well as how you can get them to grow bigger or keep them small.
Appearance of Aloe Vera
The aloe plant has a very short stem, with thick green leaves that grow from this central stem. The leaves are fleshy and spear-like, with small serrated teeth growing along the edges.
Aloe vera plants can be small enough to keep as interesting succulents in a terrarium or large enough to fit into potted planters on your patio in the warm summer months.
How Fast Do Aloe Plants Grow?
Succulent plants are often very slow growing. The good news is that aloe vera are one of the faster growing succulents – so if you’re doing things right, you can get your aloe to grow quite large, with noticeable growth of new leaves every few months.
How Big Do Aloe Plants Get?
Aloe vera plants that are grown indoors typically grow to between 12 to 24-inches (30 to 61-cm). In the right conditions, plants can reach 3-feet (91-cm).
But how can you get your aloe to grow from a small succulent into a larger one that becomes the centerpiece of the room? It’s all about those “right conditions.”
Ideal Growing Conditions to Promote Growth
There are a few important things that will keep your aloe vera growing and thriving, including the right light conditions and proper watering.
The one thing I’ve learned from having several aloe vera plants is that they grow well when they have a lot of light. Without enough sunlight, over time the plant will grow to be tall and spindly, rather than full, with healthy leaves.
The ideal window for the aloe is one that’s south or west facing. This way your aloe will get sunlight for most of the day. About 6 to 7 hours of sunlight is perfect.
Place the plant in indirect sunlight – direct sunlight, especially during the summer months, can burn the leaves and cause the plant to dry out too quickly.
Aloe prefer temperatures that are between 55 and 80°F (13 and 27°C) – so pay attention to room temperature and move the plant to a warmer or cooler room if needed.
If you’re bound and determined to grow aloe vera in your home and just don’t have adequate sunlight, these succulents do well under artificial lights.
Watering Your Aloe
The biggest mistake you can make with an aloe plant is to overwater it. The key to getting this plant to grow is consistent watering. Overwatering will lead to root rot, which will eventually kill the roots of the plant and then the plant itself.
When watering, make sure to water the plant deeply, being sure to let the soil dry out completely to at least one to two-inches between each watering.
Never let the plant sit in water. I have my plant pots sitting on top of a layer of small gravel rocks – this way the water collects in the gravel and prevents the roots from being saturated.
As a rule, during the spring, summer, and fall you can plan on watering your aloe vera every two to three weeks. During the winter, water more sparingly, every three to four weeks.
During the colder months the plant will be in its dormant stage when little growth happens and therefore it requires less water.
The Right Pot and Soil
Select a pot that has one or more holes on the bottom – you want the pot to be well-draining. My favorite containers are clay or terracotta, which help keep the soil moist for longer periods of time.
Use a well-draining soil mix. Check your local garden store for a commercial mix that’s designed for succulents. Or you can make your own with a mix of regular potting soil and perlite or sand.
Plant the aloe about a third way into the pot, being sure to leave about a half-inch of space between the top layer of soil and the edge of the pot.
You’ll want to repot the aloe when it starts to become root bound, moving the plant to a container that’s one size up.
Unlike many other houseplants, aloe vera should only be fertilized every six to eight weeks. If you’re giving your aloe enough sunlight and water and have it planted in the right type of soil, it won’t need a lot of other nutrients.
In fact, fertilizing too often can lead to “leaf burn,” where the tips of the leaves start to turn brown. If you’re going to fertilize, choose a liquid fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus, such as 10-40-10.
How to Keep Your Aloe Vera Small
If your aloe is healthy…it’s going to grow. So, what do you do if you have aloe vera planted in a small, cute container that you’re keeping on a small shelf or table? Or one that’s growing in your terrarium?
What you can do is let the plant grow and replant its “pup” into small 4-inch pots. Aloe vera will produce small baby plants that are known as pups. The larger your aloe vera, the more pups you’ll have.
As soon as the plant has started to produce pups, wait until they’re about 3-inches tall before you divide them off from the main plant.
To remove pups, you’ll need to carefully take the mother plant out of the pot. The baby plants will have roots that are entwined with the main plant – gently pull the pup away from the rest, being sure it has roots.
You can use clean, sharp pruning scissors if needed to remove. Then repot these small plants. But be prepared to repot and plan for more pups! I often give these small aloe vera plants away as a gift – just plant in a teacup or other interesting eye-catching container.
Now that you know how big aloe plants get and how to grow them successfully, you’re ready to go out and buy your first aloe. Flower shops or garden centers are a good place to start. Once you have one aloe in your home it won’t be long, and you’ll have more!