Aloe Vera is a beautiful and relatively easy to care for plant in the succulent family. They are popular for the décor they provide as well as the natural benefits of the gel from the foliage.
To harness the full power of the plant though, the leaves need to be almost fully grown. So, the question many people want to know when they purchase an Aloe Vera plant is: how fast does aloe vera grow?
Generally, Aloe Vera plant takes about 1 to 2 weeks for new leaves to grow. That means that you should see active growth in your Aloe Vera plant at least once every month. To grow from a pup to a mature, fully-grown adult plant (8-10 inch leaves) takes an average of 4 years.
Continue reading to learn more about the growth rate of Aloe Vera and how to encourage healthy and rapid growth.
how long does it take for aloe vera to grow
Aloe Vera plants are known as one of the faster growing succulent species. But, that is not saying much since succulents when compared to other plant families, grow quite slowly.It takes around 3 or 4 years for a young aloe vera plant to reach maturity, where their leaves are fully grown.
The growth rate of Aloe Vera depends on environmental conditions. The best way to understand the growth rate of Aloe Vera is to look at the plants history and to understand where it came from originally.
understand aloe vera growing conditions
The reason Aloe Vera plants and other succulents grow slower than other plants is because they needed to adapt to living in harsh desert climates.
In these climates, there is not as much water and it is hot – so plants need to be able to sustain more frequent and longer droughts than tropical climates for example.
The Aloe Vera plant has some specific features that make them more suited to the desert. For instance, along with the slow growth rate, their roots grow-out horizontally near the soil surface in search of water, and they retain the water that they collect.
A slow growth rate helps the Aloe Vera plant conserve its energy. Meaning that it can devote more of its resources to processes such as water retention – which is perhaps more important than growing tall and fast.
In the desert, plants are sparse and don’t grow very tall. Compared to tropical forests, desert plants don’t need to grow tall in order to acquire sunlight – they have space to themselves and have all the light they need.
Factors that Influence the Growth Rate of Aloe Vera Plants
Growing your own Aloe Vera is very different than the plant growing freely in the desert – you provide water, adequate sunlight, and essential nutrients. However, there are certain factors that influence the growth of your plants and those alone in the desert.
The most important and influential factors for growth rate are all part of the overall growing conditions of the plant. For example, temperature, place in home, etc.
Temperature is very important for all plants. The optimal temperature for every plant depends on where they originated from.
Aloe Vera plants came from desert climates that are typically hot and dry. The specific temperatures that the Aloe Vera plants prefer to grow in, ranges from 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The containers that plants grow in determine show stable they are able to grow. Roots are just as important as the foliage of plants.
If the roots of a plant are constricted, it is much harder for the plant to grow strong and tall.
For Aloe Vera, they originated in a desert climate and adapted to the harsh region by growing their roots out horizontally near the surface of the soil or terrain.
This enabled them to travel farther in search of water. So, when growing Aloe Vera in containers, it is important to grow them in those that are wide and not skinny and deep.
This will give their roots plenty of space to spread out. Giving their roots what they prefer, will enable the plant to grow fast and strong.
Another factor to consider when picking a growing container is drainage holes. Aloe Vera need to grow in containers that do not hold water. Specifically, they prefer clay pots with a big drainage hole in the bottom.
Soil is another extremely influential factor when it comes to growth rate of plants. If plants are used to retaining water, they need a specific soil for that.
Or, if plants need lots of water but don’t retain it well, they need a different kind of soil.
For Aloe Vera plants, they originated in the sandy desert regions with very well draining soil. One of their main functions is to retain water and save it for when it is needed.
This is because the desert region where they are historically found was used to droughts and inconsistent water – Aloe Vera (along with other desert plants) was able to combat this issue with water retention.
So, when you grow Aloe Vera in containers, you need a well- draining soil. Something will sand or gritty soil works extremely well and will help them grow the way they are meant to.
Amount of Light
All plants need light. Regardless of whether you give it artificial or natural light, the amount of light is extremely influential when it comes to growth rate.
If you don’t give your plants enough light, it is going to be much harder for them to get the nutrients and energy required for growth.
If you give them too much light, you risk stressing them out and negatively impacting their ability to grow.
For optimal growing conditions, Aloe Vera prefer 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. At minimum, they need 3.
Providing them with more light makes them create more energy and fosters an environment where they grow well.
Just like sunlight, all plants need water. But, the amount of water for optimal growing conditions varies. Aloe Vera plants, as stated above, are very good at retaining water.
That means that you don’t need to water them very much. Watering them thoroughly after they have completely drained their soil provides the best environment for healthy growth.
Overwatering is the most common problem with Aloe Vera plants and is most likely the reason some people’s plants do not grow very fast.
The best way to foster a healthy growing environment is to wait for the soil to be dry before watering again.
Tricks to make your Aloe Vera plants grow faster and stronger
When you purchase or acquire a new plant, most of the time you want it to grow as fast as possible.
Aloe Vera is a fairly slow-growing plant, but there are some things you can do to encourage faster growth.
Get a growing container that is slightly bigger than the plant
When you repot an Aloe Vera plant, you want to choose a pot that it can grow into. Remember that it is going to spread its roots out in search of water.
This is perhaps one of the most important tips for encouraging growth of aloe vera plants. If the Aloe Vera can’t spread out the way it wants to, the visible plant is not going to grow very much.
Get a potting soil made for succulents
Remember that Aloe Vera plants are succulents and are very good at retaining water. So, when potting, at least get a well-draining soil.
It is even better if you get a soil made for succulents. This will encourage it to growth faster.
Ignore it temporarily after potting
This is a little trick you can do to encourage root growth and subsequently, visible plant growth. If you wait 2 weeks to water the Aloe Vera after potting, the roots will grow fast and wide in search of water.
This in turn (when you eventually give it water) will make it easier for the above soil part of the plant to grow.
Be sure to deal with offsets
When your Aloe Vera plant becomes fairly established, it will start to produce pups or offsets. Be sure to remove these as you see them because they take up space in the pot. See below on how to remove them to make new plants.
Place your plant 3ft from a sunny window
Light is essential for healthy growth. If you want your plant to grow fast, give it as much light as possible. To keep your Aloe Vera safe from burning though, place it about 3ft from a window.
Give it a low-nitrogen succulent fertilizer
Succulents are not plants that you typically need to fertilize, but it can give them a boost when needed. Aloe Vera plants specifically, will grow fast when given nutrients. Be sure to give it a low-nitrogen fertilizer though!
Give it some banana peel tea
This a another gardener tip that can encourage a boost in growth. Just like fertilizer, banana peels can provide essential nutrients to help the plant stay healthy.
Soak banana peels in water for a few days and then water the Aloe Vera with it to help it sprout up in growth.
How to Propagate Aloe Vera Plants to Encourage Growth
When your Aloe Vera plants starts to produce pups, they need to be removed so that the mother plant doesn’t start devoting resources to it. This is a good opportunity to get more Aloe Vera plants though!
Removing these pups is as simple as removing the whole “family” and separating the roots so that the baby is an individual plant. You may need to snip some of the roots apart – this is ok.
You can leave them in the pot with the mother plant, but the family will quickly outgrow the container that it is in. Sometimes it is better to just remove the little ones and start new plants.
If you want your Aloe Vera plant to grow quickly, the best things you can do are to give it what it wants and to care for it.
As long as it is getting the nutrients, water, and sunlight that it needs, it will grow happy and healthy.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.
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