Belonging to desert regions, Aloe Vera will flourish as long as they get adequate light and good soil. But will they need fertilization? Let’s find out.
You can fertilize your aloe vera once or twice a year during the summer season. Fertilize your aloe vera with slow-release pellets or liquid fertilizers of NPK 10:40:10. And if you don’t want to use the commercial ones, you can also go for homemade fertilizers like banana peels and eggshells.
Today, we will talk about the fertilization requirements of an Aloe Vera plant. We will also discuss some best commercial and homemade fertilizers suitable for the Aloe Vera plants.
Is fertilizing an Aloe Vera plant necessary?
In general, it is not mandatory to feed an Aloe Vera plant.
Aloe vera grows in poor soil in their natural habitat, but they remain healthy due to the constant sunlight and well-drained growing medium.
However, it doesn’t mean that Aloe Vera doesn’t require any fertilization.
In their natural habitat, they get everything automatically from Mother Nature.
But in your garden or indoors, giving them a little bit of fertilization will boost their growth.
When grown under harsh conditions, they require minerals to grow well.
Aloe Vera will stay happy and healthy after getting the nutrients if you are not overfeeding it.
How often to fertilize an Aloe Vera plant?
If your Aloe Vera is in the garden, fertilize it once.
A good drench one time in the months of spring is enough for the whole year.
Fertilize every 6-12 months.
But if they are in containers, you can fertilize Aloe Vera plants once a month or every 6-8 weeks during their growing seasons.
After planting Aloe Vera plants, fertilize them after one month during their growing season.
If you have used a soil mix that already contains fertilizer, wait for at least 2-3 months for fertilizing them separately.
If you are unsure about the frequency, stay on the lower side.
Since Aloe Vera is not at all a heavy feeder, always provide low fertilizers.
When is the best time to fertilize Aloe Vera plants?
The best time to fertilize Aloe Vera plants is during the months of spring.
As it is their growing season, they will absorb the provided nutrients instantly and grow vigorously.
The growing season of Aloe Vera begins in March.
Start feeding them from the beginning of spring till the early fall.
Discontinue if the summers are too hot with high temperatures.
In the summers, fertilization is tricky.
Occasionally, they will grow well due to the warm temperature.
But they will go dormant if the temperature rises above 80°F.
If the temperature stays within 80°F, you can fertilize them slightly.
But, during dormancy, don’t bother them with fertilization.
That causes reverse osmosis and salt burn.
In the winters, you don’t have to fertilize.
They grow very slowly during the cold climate.
They won’t absorb the nutrients properly at such a slow growth speed.
Instead, they will struggle to absorb it and ultimately fail, resulting in serious issues.
What to look for in a fertilizer suitable for Aloe Vera?
While choosing the fertilizer for these succulents, you must ensure that they possess the following things:
The right NPK values
Aloe Vera enjoys a fertilizer with an NPK value of 10-40-10.
This will not only help them to grow healthily but will also ensure blooming.
This fertilizer will show its skill if you want your succulent to flower.
The ideal type of fertilizer
Aloe Vera can grow well both with liquid and slow-release fertilizers.
If you apply the continuous-released fertilizer, take it in the form of pellets.
It will ensure that the plant gets all its essential nutrients adequately, both macro and micronutrients, for a pretty long time.
This will further avoid over-fertilization.
You don’t have to fertilize too much or too frequently since they are low-feeders.
One package will last for the entire growing month.
In the case of liquid fertilizers, it spreads evenly and works instantly.
That is why most gardeners prefer this type.
The only problem is they are tricky to apply, and frequent application is required.
You must always use fertilizers that you can dilute in the water.
Water-soluble fertilizers are diluted to reduce their concentration.
Direct use can burn the roots.
Diluting can reduce the chances of burning.
Since Aloe Vera plants are not heavy feeders, weakening the fertilizer and using it with ½ the strength will be better for the plant.
Many people get confused about choosing between organic and synthetic fertilizers.
However, you can use both of them, but you need to be careful while applying.
If you want your Aloe Vera to be organic, you must use organic fertilizers made of natural ingredients.
It will not pollute your plant, and you can use it for any medicinal purpose.
But, if you want your plant to show immediate or quick results in its growth and development, you must go for synthetic ones.
Though they are more concentrated, they will deliver fast results.
You can also dilute them to reduce the concentration.
However, you cannot use chemically fertilized Aloe Vera for any medical purpose.
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What is the best fertilizer for Aloe Vera plants?
First, you must look for the fertilizers precisely prepared for succulents.
The second thing would be the type.
Select liquid or pellet fertilizers and avoid granular fertilizers.
The third thing is the NPK value.
If you use pellets or slow-release fertilizers, the NPK value should always stay 10-40-10.
Use one tablet for one growing season.
The NPK value will be different in the liquid fertilizers.
It must be 0.5-1-1 and should be applied once a month.
If your fertilizer contains these three basic features, then that would be the best fertilizer for Aloe Vera plants.
Best commercial fertilizers for Aloe Vera
Choosing the right kind of fertilizer for the Aloe Vera plant can be tricky because multiple options are available.
Even if you understand the right NPK values and nutrients, you might wonder whether a particular fertilizer will be suitable for Aloe Vera.
Below, I have shared some top commercial fertilizers which are ideal for Aloe Vera:
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food, 8 OZ (3 Pack)
Since Aloe Vera is succulent, you can use succulent fertilizer.
Miracle-Gro products are popular mainly for indoor plants, and they have high ranks of success.
It has the correct NPK value.
The quantity lasts for one whole growing season.
The level of nitrogen and potassium is the same, and phosphorus is more.
Being a liquid fertilizer, it will work instantly.
Add two pumps in one gallon of water and apply it as required.
The package may instruct weekly application, but you should maintain more gaps.
Since Aloe Veras are not heavy feeders, weekly applications can harm them.
Even if you can use it directly due to its foamy texture, always dilute and then use it.
Buy Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food here.
Opulent Iron, 16 oz. Liquid fertilizer
Though it is not for succulents, you can still use it due to its formulation.
They are usually used for lawns to make them green.
But, it is also used for plants with big leaves.
They are good for indoor and outdoor plants, the latter being more specific.
After a few applications, you will find your Aloe Vera leaves improving their look and health.
This fertilizer will increase chlorophyll synthesis and play a great role in the plant’s overall metabolism.
Buy Opulent Iron Liquid fertilizer here.
Jobe’s Succulent Spikes
These fertilizers come in spikes.
There are many advantages of using them.
You don’t have to use them frequently or dilute them to the water before application.
You only need to take out one spike and add it to the soil.
Water them to activate.
They will slowly release into the soil with each watering.
Wiggle worm soil: Builder Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
It consists of all the necessary nutrients the plant requires.
The plant will have to use minimal effort to absorb the nutrients.
This fertilizer also contains bacteria and microbes that help in better growth.
Buy Jobe’s Succulent Spikes here.
Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food
It is a liquid fertilizer that feeds the plant through the roots with each watering.
The product comes with a measurement dropper.
Feed them with seven drops of the fertilizer 1-2 times a month.
Buy Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food here.
Dr. Earth Premium Gold Pure and Natural Fertilizer
It is recommended for those Aloe Veras that are losing their color.
The fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
While using it, always dilute it with water to reduce the concentration.
Otherwise, a direct application can burn the leaves due to these three major nutrients in high amounts.
By applying them at a proper dose, the plant will grow well and fight diseases.
Buy Dr. Earth Premium Gold Pure and Natural Fertilizer here.
How to fertilize Aloe Vera plants?
Fertilizing an Aloe Vera is very easy.
The only thing you need to be cautious about is the amount.
First, take out the quantity you need to give the plant separately and apply it.
First, saturate the soil bed or the container soil to moisten them.
It will allow the nutrients to spread evenly and dilute the fertilizer more.
Dilute ½-1 tablespoon of the fertilizer with 1-gallon water and mix well.
Now, apply it to the soil evenly, surrounding every corner of the soil.
Avoid splashing the leaves. Otherwise, the leaves will burn.
Pellets or spikes
Take one spike or pellet as recommended in the package and place it in each mature plant.
One tablet contains enough nutrients to feed the plant.
Water the plant thoroughly to let the nutrients spread evenly.
If you use containers, flush the soil once a month to drain excess salt.
Avoid using granular fertilizers as they don’t work well for Aloe Veras.
Precautions to take while fertilizing Aloe Vera
Before fertilizing Aloe Vera plants, water the soil 12 hours before the monthly feeding schedule.
But before that, you must allow the soil to dry for deep watering.
In containers, continue watering until the excess water starts draining from the potholes.
Saturating the soil in such a way dilutes the fertilizer more and reduces the risk of root burn.
Avoid spilling over the leaves or at the center.
It can burn them and raise other issues.
If you have mistakenly splashed them, use a hand-blower to dry them or wipe them with a wet cloth.
Water the soil before applying liquid fertilizers.
After mixing pellets in the soil, don’t forget to water the soil well to activate it.
Homemade fertilizers for Aloe Vera plants
If you don’t want to pollute your Aloe Vera plant and use them for medical purposes, go for the natural, homemade fertilizers.
Below, I have listed some effective materials:
- Banana peels
- Epsom salt
Let’s elaborate one by one.
While having boiled eggs, use it as a fertilizer for Aloe Veras instead of throwing them.
It will give them extra phosphorus and potassium and encourage them to thrive.
Clean the shells before using them.
Leave no traces of the yolk of egg white as that can attract fungal diseases.
Crush the shells into tiny pieces and mix them with the soil.
Roasting the shells can kill leftover spores in them.
You can even grind them to make a powdery consistency.
It will mix better.
Use only 1-2 tablespoons.
Another way is by making a tea out of it.
Soak the shells in water overnight. The next morning, sift the shells and apply the water to the plant.
It is one of the best natural fertilizers for Aloe Vera.
The presence of potassium helps them to grow well and keeps them healthy.
The banana peels release their nutrients slowly and allow the plant to absorb the nutrients gradually.
Collect the peels, chop them into pieces and mix them with the soil.
Tea leaves and eggshells
Tea is packed with nutrients and minerals.
The leftover tea can also be used to fertilize Aloe Vera.
Instead of throwing them away, utilize them for the plant’s greater good.
Take some tea leaves, wash them and dry them.
Now, grind some eggshells.
Mix one tablespoon of crushed eggshells with the tea leaves.
Dig the soil around the plant and add the mixture to it.
You can also use only tea leaves for fertilizing.
Use any 4-5 small spoons. There will be no bad smell or mess.
Don’t use them too much as tea can store liquid, giving rise to other issues.
Eggshells, banana peels, and potato peels
Collect the eggshells and banana and potato peels and keep them in a bottle filled with water.
Cover and let them stay for seven days.
Open the lid once every day to stir the mixture.
After seven days, filter the liquid and mix water.
The proportion of this liquid and water should be in the proportion of 1:1.
Apply one cup of this organic fertilizer to each plant in the evening after every 15 days.
It will support quick growth.
Add Epsom salt with water and feed the mixture to your Aloe Vera plant.
Epsom salt is filled with minerals that will keep the plant healthy in the long term.
Remember not to use too much of anything as Aloe Veras are low feeders.
When you buy a package, you will get all the instructions.
Read them carefully and use them as suggested.
Did I overfertilize my Aloe Vera plant?
Aloe Vera can thrive without fertilization in its natural habitat.
As long as they get adequate growing conditions, including light, water, and soil, they will require little or no fertilization.
Some signs of over-fertilization are:
- Browning at the leaf tips
- Leaves turning yellow
- Slow growth and leaves dying and falling off
- Droopy, wilted, or wrinkled foliage
How to fix the problem?
Stop fertilizing for some months.
Flush the soil with deep watering if the plant is in a container.
Let the soil dry out completely, and then water the plant deeply until excess water drains out.
In case of severe salt accumulation, repot the plant with new soil.
Will Aloe Vera experience under fertilization?
Indeed Aloe Vera doesn’t need to be fertilized.
They can even grow in poorly nutritious soil.
Light fertilization can make the plant healthy.
The soil alone cannot provide all the nutrients to the plant.
Moreover, even if they give nutrients, they will get washed away with each watering over time.
However, if the plant doesn’t get enough nutrients, it will suffer under fertilization.
This makes them discolored and weak.
The common nutrients that are lacking are iron and nitrogen.
Low Nitrogen means low chlorophyll.
Low chlorophyll makes the leaves yellow. It is also called chlorosis.
Sometimes, they will also lack zinc, magnesium, or potassium.
How to solve the problem?
If you see discolored leaves, like brown or yellow, despite following all their growing conditions and surroundings right, think of fertilization.
If you have not fertilized them for several years, give them some and wait for some days to see their reaction.
Other problems behind nutrient deficiency could be overwatering, underwatering, sunburns, low light, or wrong pH levels.
Check these and correct them if anything is wrong and then see the plant’s reaction to it.
Try organic or homemade fertilizers instead of jumping to synthetic fertilizers once.
Since they are homemade, there are low chances of harm.
But, if you must use chemical fertilizers, read the instructions carefully, follow them and then use them.
Many options of fertilizers are available for Aloe Vera. You can use both chemical and organic ones. Whichever you choose, always use it in small quantities. You should not use chemical or organic fertilizers in larger amounts or frequency. Always stay on the low side while fertilizing them. Feeding less is good for Aloe Veras.
Try everything alternatively to see which one works well for your Aloe Vera plant. Don’t forget to water them before or after the application. Don’t fertilize those plants if any plant is sick or has recently recovered from any serious issue.
Always fertilize during their growing months. You can fertilize them during the summers barely as they will sometimes grow adequately due to warm temperatures. But, since it is their dormancy period, be very careful. Also, avoid feeding in the winters.
Indeed Aloe Veras can stay without fertilization, and little fertilization can prevent them from undergoing nutrient deficiency and support optimal and faster growth.
Aloe Vera fertilizer requirements – FAQs
Are coffee grounds good for Aloe Vera?
Coffee grounds are not suitable for Aloe Vera. Instead, it will harm them.
Coffee can block the drainage holes and hold the moisture within the soil or container, thus resulting in overwatering.
Additionally, since Aloe Vera likes slightly acidic to alkaline soil, coffee grounds can increase the pH level greatly, thus deteriorating the plant’s health.
Is Urea fertilizer good for Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera enjoys many minerals and nutrients, but urea doesn’t include in that list. Though they are not bad, they don’t show any improvements in the plant.
Reference: NCBI, New York Botanical Garden, University of New Hampshire, University of Florida, Wikipedia.