When to Water
- Aloe veras generally suffer from being over watered; however, gardeners may neglect the plant or forget to water during the winter. Shriveling leaves is a sign that the plant needs water and doesn't occur naturally at anytime of year. During the winter, aloe vera plants enter dormancy until the spring. While dormant, aloe vera plants use little water compared to other times of the year. Gardeners use the same method to decide if the plant needs water anytime of year. By pressing fingers into the first 2 to 3 inches of potting soil, gardeners can tell if the soil is moist. The soil must be completely dried out before watering.
How to Water
- Aloe vera plants cannot tolerate fluorinated water or the water that comes from the sink. Plants watered with fluorinated water display signs of damage, such as foliage bruising and brown spots. To prevent harming the aloe vera, gardeners may use bottled water or rain water. Pour the water at the base of the aloe vera until it drains from the draining holes. Avoid overhead watering. Overhead watering increases the chance of pests and disease. Any dust on the aloe vera can be cleaned with a spray bottle full of water and soft towel.
- Aloe veras that have been potted in poorly draining soil exhibit signs of shriveling leaves. Poorly draining soil increases the chances of the succulent contracting a disease, such as root rot. To prevent root rot, plant the aloe vera plant in a mixture consisting of sterilized potting mixture with extra perlite and coarse sand. Refrain from using yard dirt, because it may contain harmful pathogens. Also, spreading a 1 to 2 inch layer of gravel over the surface of the soil prevents fungal diseases from germinating at the base of the plant and prevents fungus gnats from laying eggs in the potting soil.
- Prune off the shriveling leaves on the plant using a pair of bypass shears. Dip the shears into a mixture of 70 percent denatured alcohol and 30 percent water to prevent spreading any harmful pathogens. Furthermore, keeping aloe vera plants on saucers filled with pea gravel helps drainage. However, the saucer must never accumulate enough water to touch the bottom of the aloe vera plant's container. After watering the plant, place the container back on the saucer but return to dump out any left over water.