Also known as desert lily or bitter lily, aloe vera is a leafy succulent plant. Its decorative leaves are fleshy and have strong thorns on the edges and/or tips. The grape-shaped inflorescences are particularly beautiful. Due to the lack of winter hardiness, these plants are usually kept as houseplants in this country. Even if they require little care, regular repotting is essential.

When and how often to repot?

The aloe vera, which belongs to the grass tree family, is a houseplant that grows relatively quickly and extensively and thus quickly increases in volume and weight. So that its development is not slowed down, it needs fresh substrate and a slightly larger planter from time to time. In general, this happens about every two to four years.
At the latest when the roots grow out of the drainage holes or the substrate looks exhausted and compacted, it is time to repot. With the exception of the flowering period, this can be done at any time of the year. However, the best time is after the hibernation, between May and June. You can also repot every year and thus
save yourself the fertilizer completely.


If an aloe vera is to be repotted, the plant in question should not be watered for about a week beforehand. This way the substrate is dry and it is easier to remove it from the pot. There are also a number of things to consider when choosing a new pot.

  • Planter should not be too light
  • Otherwise there is no sufficient stability
  • Especially specimens whose lower leaves are harvested regularly
  • Or formed a tribe because of it
  • Aloe vera leaves are usually large and relatively heavy
  • Plants could easily tip over without additional support
  • Equally important, drainage holes in the pot
  • And sufficient surface area
  • Commercial clay pots heavier than plastic pots
  • Clay pots absorb a lot of water themselves
  • Water plants a little more here
  • A suitable planter can curb evaporation

As already mentioned, aloe vera plants have sharp thorns that can injure oneself. To protect yourself from them, you should wear strong, thick gloves, use pliers or a grip protection made of Styrofoam or newspaper. The following instructions provide information about the right substrate and the procedure for repotting.

The right substrate

In addition to the point in time, the later location and of course the soil conditions play a decisive role. In unsuitable substrates, root damage, rot and, in the worst case, death of the aloe can quickly occur.

  • Plant substrate should be well drained
  • Both humus-rich and purely mineral substrates are ideally suited
  • For example, high-quality cactus or succulent soil
  • Easy to make your own mixes too
  • To do this, mix commercially available standard soil with organic additives
  • With peat or compost that is at least three years old
  • Both materials are particularly permeable
  • Can improve the water storage capacity of the substrate
  • Decompose in the soil and then serve as nutrients

Alternatively, you can use a mixture of 2.5 parts of peat substrate, 1.5 parts of quartz sand, 1.5 parts of lava granules, expanded clay or pumice gravel and approx. 0.5 parts of soil. Lava, expanded clay and pumice give the substrate a loose and airy consistency. By adding more or less soil, the pH can be corrected if necessary. Aloe species are said to thrive best in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.2.

Note: When using country or arable soil, it is important to heat it to make it sterile beforehand.

Instructions: Repot aloe vera in soil

To get the plant out of a clay pot, you can loosen the roots from the pot walls with a knife. In a plastic pot, they can be loosened from the rim by squeezing the pot with your hands. When lifting out, do not forget an appropriate grip protection.

  • Now carefully shake off the loose soil from the bale
  • Loosen the roots with your hands or a pricking stick
  • Cut off rotten and damaged parts of the root
  • After stuffing, let the aloe air out for two to three hours
  • In case of root rot, extend to two weeks
  • Cover drainage holes in the new pot with coarse gravel or broken pottery
  • Put part of the substrate on top of the drainage
  • Insert the aloe vera in the middle
  • As deep as before in the old planter

If the lower part of the plant is already woody, it can also be planted a little deeper. This also applies to specimens that have formed a kind of trunk by harvesting leaves at the bottom. In this case, most of the trunk should be covered with soil. This allows the plant to form more roots and provides additional support. After inserting, fill up with soil and make sure that no cavities remain.

Note: To prevent the plant from buckling, it is advisable to support it with wooden sticks that are inserted into the ground from the side. If they are well established, they can be removed again if necessary.

Repot aloe vera in granules

Aloe plants can also be very well potted in clay granules. It is best, of course, if they have already been cultivated in granules. If they were previously in soil culture, it is particularly important to free the root from all remains of soil and to clean it. Any remaining soil could otherwise encourage rot. The right time corresponds to that of earth culture.

After potting up the plant according to the previous instructions and cleaning the roots, fill the new pot about a third full with granules, eg Seramis. Put the aloe in there and fill it up with granules until the roots are completely covered. To create a pouring rim, leave about a centimeter of space up to the edge of the pot. To ensure that the granulate is distributed evenly and does not leave any gaps in the root area, tap the pot lightly several times.

Tip: It is advisable to use a watering indicator here in order to provide the aloe with water at all times and to avoid over- or under-supply.

Care after repotting

The aloe vera should not be watered in the first few days after repotting. She now needs some time to repair damaged roots. If watered again immediately, there is a risk of rot. These plants can do well without water for a while as they can store it in their strong leaves. If you start watering again after about a week, you should water a little less at first.

Fertilizer can usually be dispensed with after repotting, but not the right location. Initially, the aloe vera should be in a location that is protected from direct sunlight. Later she can also be outdoors in the full sun without any problems. Freshly planted small offshoots must first be accustomed to the sun.

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