How often should I water an aloe plant? Expert tips for a superb succulent

Experts share how often you should water an aloe plant for perfectly perky succulents – and explain what to do if you overwater

A group of aloe vera plants in a pot
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Keeping a lush-looking houseplant collection has become an incredibly important pastime for many people, especially over the last few years. With so many plants requiring specific and varied care, if you have an aloe plant you may be wondering 'how often should I water an aloe plant?' 

Aloe plant care is relatively simple with the houseplant often thriving on relative neglect. Despite this, however, it can be easy to over- or underwater these simple succulents resulting in drooping shoots and less than instagrammable browning and rot. 

Here, we chat to plant chair experts to hear their tips on when to water an aloe plant, how to tell when an aloe plant needs water, and what to do if you overwater your aloe plant. 

How often should I water an aloe plant?

An aloe vera plant in a pot

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Knowing how to care for succulents is often quite different from looking after other houseplant varieties as you have to balance the right amount of 'neglect' with adequate plant care such as when to water succulents.

'The most common killer of succulents and cacti is improper watering, as they’re infamously susceptible to overwatering, as most species store water in their fleshy, thick leaves and stems to keep them healthy and hydrated during prolonged dry spells,' explains Kate Lindley, indoor plant expert at Baby Bio (opens in new tab). 'However, this doesn’t mean you can neglect them altogether!' she warns.

'Aloe vera are notoriously laid-back plants and probably need watering less than you might think!' says Jo Lambell, founder of Beards and Daisies (opens in new tab) and author of The Unkillables (available on Amazon) (opens in new tab). 'They’re happy to be watered once every three weeks, and potentially even less in the colder Winter months – just check whether the soil has completely dried out before you water.'

Signs your aloe vera plant needs watering

An aloe vera plant in a pot beside another houseplant on a window ledge

(Image credit: Unsplash)

'Your aloe vera will definitely let you know if it’s feeling neglected,' says Jo from Beards and Daisies. 'Keep an eye out for any browning, either along the edges of its leaves or on the tips.' If you have been watering your aloe but are still left wondering why your aloe plant is turning brown, then it may be caused by overwatering or a fungal infection instead. If correcting your watering schedule does not work, consider checking your plant for disease or common houseplant pests.

'During active growing periods in spring and summer, cacti and succulents require regular watering just like any other plant,' adds Kate Lindley, 'the key is to ensure you always allow the top two inches of soil to dry out in between watering and then give it a thorough drink.

'Just like any other plant, over time, the compost your cacti or succulent is potted in will lose much-needed nutrients. If its spine or growth is beginning to look weak or leggy, its leaves are beginning to look shriveled, or it isn’t producing any flowers, this could be a sign that your plant is lacking some essential nutrients,' Kate continues. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider adding a succulent fertilizer such as this top-rated brand on Amazon (opens in new tab) when you water an aloe plant to boost its growth.

Signs you aloe vera has been overwatered — and what to do about it 

aloe vera and Dracaena trifasciata grouped with other houseplants

(Image credit: Alamy)

Despite being one of the best low-maintenance indoor plants, ever watering an aloe plant can result in a less-than-perfect plant and cause some serious issues for your succulent. 

'If you’ve been a little heavy-handed with your watering can, you might notice your aloe is starting to wilt,' says Jo. 'Its leaves may feel soggy, soft, and even mushy – this is a clear sign that your plant is oversaturated. 

'If your plant is at this stage, then firstly – don’t panic,' she adds. 'You should still be able to save it! First, remove your aloe from its pot and check its roots. Cut off any decaying roots and dead leaves before repotting it with fresh soil. Lastly, we recommend treating your healthy plant roots with a fungicide – just to ensure that any root rot doesn’t spread and to get it off to a fresh start.'

Do you water aloe vera from top or bottom?

When watering an aloe vera plant, always water from the bottom. Lift the aloe pot out of the decorative plant pot and pour water in the base before placing the aloe back into the pot carefully. The plant will absorb the water upwards.

After leaving your plant for around one hour, pour any excess water out of the decorative pot to prevent root rot.

Should you mist aloe vera?

Aloe vera does not need misting, and any water left on the shoots can cause rot or wilting. For this reason, avoid getting your aloe shoots wet at all. If your plant has become dusty or you have splashed water onto it by accident, use a gentle, dry cloth to wipe the shoots carefully. 

Chiana Dickson
Junior Writer

Chiana is a junior writer for Homes & Gardens having joined Future plc as a new graduate in 2022 after achieving a 1st class degree in Literature at university. She first became interested in design as a child after spending her summers helping her parents redecorate her childhood home. As a long-time reader of Future’s homes titles, Chiana is constantly finding new inspiration at work as she focuses on emerging trends, how-to’s, and news pieces.