Aloe vera plants are grown for their long list of medicinal properties, but also as decorative plants indoors or outdoors. Aloes are popular because they don’t require much upkeep after their initial set-up.
As succulents, they don’t require frequent watering either because they can store water in their fleshy leaves. Like most succulents, aloe vera plants have a relatively slow growth rate, but they’re not the slowest of their kind.
How fast do aloe vera plants grow? Can you boost their growth rate? And which are the factors that boost or slow the growth rate of these succulents?
I’m going to cover all these topics below and offer actionable advice to help your aloe vera grow faster and healthier.
When do Aloe Vera Plants Reach Maturity?
It takes about 3 to 4 years for aloe plants to reach full maturity indoors. Its leaves will grow to about 8-10 inches in length.
By giving your aloe plants a great set-up and by taking other plant care measures, you’ll be able to boost their growth rate and ensure a healthy development.
Despite their slow growth rate compared to other houseplants, aloe vera plants are actually considered a fast-growing succulent compared to other succulents, especially compared to cacti, which are notoriously slow growers.
Because these plants have adapted to grow in arid climates, it makes sense that they don’t invest a lot of energy in fast-growth and instead focus on stocking up on water reserves for survival.
As for the growth rate of the plant, it will produce new leaves over the course of a month or so, and you’ll be able to observe noticeable growth after a couple of months.
How to speed up aloe vera growth rate? And what factors come into play that could help your aloe develop faster?
How to Make Aloe Vera Plant Grow Faster?
In my experience, making sure your aloe vera has a great initial set-up is just as essential as any subsequent plant care measure.
Here’s what your plant needs to thrive and grow fast:
Choose a Fast-Draining Potting Medium
To mitigate the effects of any potential overwatering, aloe plants require a well-draining soil that will not allow water to pool at the roots.
Invest in a good quality succulent or cactus mix or prepare your own using perlite and coarse sand as mediums that stimulate drainage.
Any potting medium that will hold water should be avoided for succulents.
Give the Pot a Thought
You may not give much thought to the type of pot you get for your aloe plant, but you should. Plastic pots should be avoided. Go for terracotta and clay pots, which have a porous structure that helps absorb excess moisture and prevent the roots from rotting.
Perhaps I don’t have to remind you that the pot should have draining holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape.
Avoid Too Much Direct Light
Aloe veras require lots of light, but they’re not immune to scorching either. Plus, too much direct sunlight will increase evaporation and potentially dry out the plant.
Aim for partial direct sunlight, 6-7 hours per day, and see how your plant reacts. If you start to see signs of sun damage (brown spots, scorched leaves, etc.), reduce the amount of sun exposure.
The other extreme — shade — is also to be avoided, because just as excess direct sun, lack of any sun will stunt the growth of your aloe plant.
Rotate the plant periodically, so that the entire plant gets exposed to sunlight.
Watch Out for Temperature
Aim for a temperature range between 55-80 F. Higher than that and there’s a risk that the plant will lose too much water and dry out. Lower than that and the plant’s growth will stunt and will have development difficulties. Aloe plants are not tolerant to cold, so be careful not to shock the plant.
Evolved to withstand drought, overwatering is one of the main dangers to aloe plants. When watering, water your aloe plant deeply and let water drain, then empty the excess water that pools in the saucer.
Wait for the soil to dry out before the next watering. This system will leave you with watering every 2-3 weeks, depending on humidity levels and temperature in your environment.
Water much less frequently during winter (every 3-4 weeks), when the plant enters a dormant stage and there’s no active growth going on.
You should always let the dryness of the soil help you decide when to water, and not how much time has passed since the last time you watered your aloe.
Boosting Growth with Fertilizer?
Aloe vera plants typically don’t require any fertilizing. If the potting medium is one suitable for these plants and you have a correct watering routine, you can usually skip the fertilizer.
That said, you can fertilize with a succulent fertilizer that’s typically low in nitrogen, but only in the growing season and only every 6-8 weeks.
You should dilute the fertilizer to half-strength and fertilize after watering and draining to prevent chemical burns.
Fertilizer will help the aloe plant develop faster, but excess fertilizer will certainly damage it. Less is more, so don’t overdo it since there are no benefits associated with it.
If your aloe is doing fine otherwise even without fertilizer, I’d say don’t push it, only use fertilizer if the plant looks like it actually needs it or use it very sparingly.
Tips to Speed Up Aloe Vera Plant Growth
If you’ve done all of the above and ensured that things will go well for your aloe plant from the get-go, here are some more things that can help your aloe thrive:
When possible, keep your aloe plants outdoors
If the weather is fine in your area, you will see more remarkable growth if you keep your aloe plant outdoors as opposed to keeping them indoors.
Just remember to position it in a location where it isn’t blasted by too much direct sunlight and when temperatures start to drop, you’ll move it back inside.
Monitor for diseases and pests
If you want your aloe plant to develop faster, make sure it’s healthy and pest-free. Pests can live in the soil, they can transfer from other plants from your household, or appear as a result of too much humidity. Diseases can appear as a result of overwatering, for example.
Prevent overcrowding in the pot
Aloe vera plant will produce offsets that grow from the mother plant. These pups can lead to crowding and competition for resources, which can stunt the growth of the mother plant.
Pups should be removed and repotted so that they don’t take away from the resources of the mother plant.
Allow room for growth by repotting
Pick a pot with room sufficient to accommodate further growth. A pot that’s three times the size of the root ball is a good starting point.
Don’t oversize too much either, that comes with its own set of complications. Pick a pot that’s wide and not deep, so roots have room to spread and the plant doesn’t become rootbound too quickly.
Go for natural fertilizing
Chopped or whole banana peels mixed into the potting medium will give aloe vera plants a boost. Use this trick when repotting or when transplanting pups to their own pots.
Banana peels will slowly release potassium, giving your aloe vera a strengthening boost.
Use rooting hormone to stimulate root development
When transplanting pups, you can dip their roots in rooting hormone to encourage root growth and help them get established faster.
Also, withhold watering for a week for freshly transplanted pups, then water thoroughly and let the water drain to protect the roots from excess moisture.
These are some of the little tweaks and tricks you can use to maximize the speed at which your aloe vera plants will grow in addition to following the general recommendations related to the keeping requirements of these plants.
Some of the things I wrote about in this article you probably already know because they’re a highlighting of the importance of giving your aloe plant a good start in its life.
The other tips and tricks may be entirely new to you, and while they can be efficient in stimulating faster growth, they don’t do much on their own if they’re not preceded by a good set-up.
I hope my article has helped you understand the importance of good potting medium, good environmental conditions and good watering habits in the development of aloe vera plants.
These may seem like small things, but they can definitely have a huge impact on the health and growth of your plants.
With most things, moderation is key, so avoid overwatering, overfertilization, excess direct sun exposure, and protect your aloe from cold drafts and temperatures below 55 °F.