Can I leave my aloe vera plant outside in winter? This is the question that I often get asked. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to grow plants in winters. Not all plants can thrive in freezing cold, some are frost tolerant but others can die in winters. Aloe vera is one of the common and most used medicinal plants.
These plants have some special requirements when it comes to growing them in winters. Before getting into the details let me quickly answer: Can you leave aloe vera plants outside in winters?
You should not leave Aloe vera plants outside during winters, as they are not that hardy and cannot tolerate frost. Aloe can be grown outdoors in USDA zone 8-11. Outside these zones as the temperature drops below 50 F bring them indoors.
Aloe vera is the typical desert plant, they can go days without water. They are native to Africa and can thrive in harsh climates. Like every other succulent, they have the ability to retain water in their leaves and can go weeks without water.
How Do You Keep An Aloe Plant Alive In Winters?
Aloe vera plants love the sun; they tend to grow healthy and beautiful in direct sunlight throughout the day. The main problem arises in the winters, there is very little sun exposure, well if you are growing Aloe vera outdoors in zone 8-11 then there is no need to give any special attention to them.
If you are growing Aloe plants outside these regions (zones 8-11) then you have to give some special treatment to the Aloe Vera plant. Here are a few thumb rules to follow:
- When planting Aloe vera, plant them in a container or in a pot, do not plant them in the ground. So that if it gets too cold at night you can bring them inside.
- Plant the Aloe in loose or poor soil with proper drainage. For drainage, have a pot that has holes underneath.
- Lastly do not overwater the Aloe as they do not need a lot of water especially in winters. Just soak the soil with a very little amount of water and let it dry until the next watering schedule.
Follow these three rules when growing them in a region outside of the preferred zone.
The other thing to consider when keeping the Aloe vera alive in winters is by moving the plant indoors when gets too cold during the nighttime. Keep them under the artificial lights to keep them warm.
If you have planted the Aloe Vera outdoors then to help them thrive in winters, make sure to cover them with a cloth shed and light a bulb under the cloth covers. By doing this you can keep the Aloe warm and healthy.
How to Care for Aloe Vera Plants?
Caring for Aloe Vera is very similar to taking care of the other succulents. Aloe Vera is a popular plant for its medicinal purposes. This plant does not need much care and attention from you, they are pretty low maintenance plants. Here are a few of the basic things to take care of to help them grow healthy.
1. Watering schedule
As you already know Aloe Vera, just like every other succulent is a desert plant. They do not like to be overwatered as that can damage the plant. Having an appropriate watering schedule is the best way to keep them healthy.
Water the Aloe Vera plants once a week or you can use the soak and dry method to water them correctly. In this method, you just have to wait for the soil to get dry until the next watering schedule. This method helps us understand the watering needs of the Aloe plants correctly.
In winters soak and dry method is the perfect way to water the plant. Remember during winters, just make the soil wet with a very little amount of water to avoid overwatering. If you find this method difficult then consider watering twice a month during winters.
2. Light exposure
Aloe vera loves sunlight, they need at least six hours of sunlight daily. When growing them outdoors you must plant them in a place where they get sunlight throughout the day.
If you are growing them indoors make sure to keep them in a place where they get sunlight throughout the day. What I prefer is placing them in a window where there is direct sunlight and good airflow.
But during winters in some regions, it is quite difficult to get sunlight. If you live in such regions then consider placing them indoors under the grow lights or normal lights.
3. Potting soil
Aloe Vera grows well in poor potting soil. Just like every other succulent Aloe vera also do not like to sit in water for too long. They need the type of soil that dries faster. This allows them to breathe and enhances the growth of the plant.
With such potting soil, you also need a container or pot that has a drainage hole underneath to flush away all the excess water. When planted outdoors you just need to have the right potting soil. You can buy the soil from Amazon, there are a few good sellers (I am not an affiliate to Amazon, just sharing my personal experience).
4. Pests and Fungal infections
Pests attack is one of the worst things that can happen to the plants. To avoid such attacks you must look for the pests on the Aloe leaves. The most common pests that can attack the plants are mealybugs, if you spot these small white bugs on the leaves, isolate the plant right away.
Consider spraying organic pesticides on the Aloe vera until the pests are completely disappeared. When the plant gets fungal infection they need to be treated as soon as possible to save them.
Consider spraying fungicides on fungal infection and inspect the plant frequently and look for the infections. It is important to catch them as early as possible to save the plants from dying.
Fertilizing the succulents is important because it provides all the essential nutrients to the plant that soil cannot provide. The use of organic fertilizers is recommended as it does not harm the plant and promotes healthy growth.
Fertilize the Aloe vera once a month or twice if you feel the need. But I advise you to do it once, that is more than sufficient. Remember do not fertilize them during the winters as most of the succulents go dormant in this season. Consider fertilizing right before the start of winters, that is their growing season.
Aloe vera can thrive the winters, according to your region you must take care of them during winters. If you are growing them in the region where temperature drops below freezing point then consider taking the Aloes indoors.
If your region does not get too cold then the Aloe vera can be kept outdoors. These are very low maintenance succulents and are super easy to grow.
I hope you found this article helpful, do share it with someone who can benefit from this. If you have any queries make sure to leave the comment below, I will get back to you as soon as possible.