Aloe vera is a classic plant for the kitchen (see some of my other favorites), not only because it likes the environment but it’s also a little first aid kit too. Just slice off the tip of a spear, and the cool gel inside is ideal to treat any small cuts or burns. Just rub it on your skin, fresh from the plant.
Drinking aloe vera juice also has a reputation for being good for the digestion but you shouldn’t try to process your own houseplants for that. It can easily be found online on Amazon (this is the one I’ve had in the past). It tastes surprisingly good, all things considered.
There are many different kinds of aloe plant species, but we are specifically talking about aloe vera (know by the species name Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis). It’s easily recognizable as it grows thick green spears rather than the usual leaves.
Does your aloe vera plant seem a little on the small side and you wish it would grow faster? Well, you may have to be patient until your plant grows up.
How Fast Does Aloe Grow?
In the world of succulents, aloe is one of the faster growing species, though that is somewhat relative since succulents aren’t exactly speedy in the first place. There is no precise growth rate for them though.
Roughly speaking, you should be able to visibly notice changes in size or new leaf spears every few months. Definitely not the kind of plant that will surprise you with a whole new leaf or flower overnight.
More on Succulents
Now that we’ve mentioned aloe vera as a part of the succulent family, you may be wondering what that means. Understanding succulents will help you understand your own plant better. This family of plants is usually recognizable by its fleshy leaves or body, and they often have spines of some type as well. As mentioned in one of my articles – cactus plants are one kind of succulent, but aloe vera and jade plants are the non-cactus type.
People often make the mistake of treating all succulents like cactus, which isn’t a good idea for the varieties that don’t like the heat, such as the aloe vera.
How to Make Aloe Grow Faster
There aren’t any secret tricks to speed up your aloe. The most effective way to get your aloe vera plant growing faster is to give it excellent care, and keep it in the right environment. A healthy plant grows the best.
That means an aloe vera will grow faster in a very bright and sunny spot that doesn’t actually get overly hot. A window sill or spot on the counter that gets at least 6 hours of direct light is perfect.
They’re happy in periodically dry soil, which is a nice bonus if you tend not to remember your houseplant watering chores. In fact, you need to make sure you don’t over-water an aloe vera plant. That won’t help it grow faster, just give it root rot.
Use loose or sandy soil in the container for the best results. When you do water, give it a complete drink, so that it soaks right through the container. Aloe naturally takes in a lot of water all at once, because it rains seldom in its usual habitat.
A little fertilizer may help speed up some growth as well. These are plants that do naturally grow in sandy soil with low nutrient levels, so they won’t necessarily need much feeding. You can give them a houseplant fertilizer intended for succulents, or a more general formula with a higher phosphorus content (like 10-40-10). A liquid blend is best.
It’s tempting to give an aloe a lot of fertilizer but that can do more harm than good. They do not need a lot of nutrients and can start to show “burns” on the leaf tips if you are overdoing it.
You should also remember that having your aloe vera growing quickly also means that it will get larger too. The usual aloe plant will get to 2 or 3 feet in height, keeping it manageable as a houseplant. Just don’t let it outgrow the pot due to all the little clones it produces. More on that below.
For more useful tips about caring for your aloe plant, check out my in-depth succulent care guide.
Other Fast Growing Succulents
For the gardener who doesn’t like to wait around, there are a few other types of succulent plants that you might want to add to your aloe vera.
- Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera sp.)
- Hen and chicks (Echeveria sp.)
- Irish rose (Aeonium arboreum)
- Jade plant (Crassula sp.)
- Lavender scallops (Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi)
- Jelly bean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)
Just keep “fast growing” in perspective. These plants will grow enough for you to see a difference in about 3 to 4 months. For comparison, some of the slower succulents can seem unchanged for a year or more before they grow enough for you to actually notice anything. When looking for speedy plants, avoid barrel cacti or air plants (Tillandsia) for example.
Reproducing Aloe Plants
Discussing the growth habits of aloe vera should include a bit of information on how they sprout little baby plants in order to reproduce. Like many other succulents, aloe will produce little clones of itself around its based (they’re called pups).
There is nothing wrong with leaving them in place except that your aloe vera colony will quickly outgrow its container if you do. The main plant will also grow faster once the young ones are removed, as it can stop diverting energy into the baby plants. If you just want them gone, carefully snip them off at soil level, and avoid watering the plant until the wound has dried over.
If you prefer to harvest a few new plants for yourself, each of the pups can be removed and potted separately once they reach about 3 to 4 inches in size. Gently remove the whole family from the pot, and shake away the soil. Carefully pull each pup away, including its own roots. A little snipping may be necessary.
Let your new mini-plants and your original aloe sit in a dry spot out of the sunlight for a day or two, and then get them all into new containers with fresh soil.