Aloe vera on the terrace
Aloe vera is certainly suitable for cultivation in apartments, but benefits greatly from being moved outside when temperatures allow it. In these conditions there will certainly be a more vigorous growth and it will not be rare, in summer, to see the flowering stems appear.
In the milder areas of our peninsula it is also possible to keep it outside, taking some precautions.
From spring to autumn
This succulent finds ideal conditions when temperatures range from 18 to 25 ° C: within these limits we will have the maximum vegetative growth. However, we will hardly have problems with higher temperatures: we will simply have to pay more attention to its water needs.
The approach to winter is more delicate: it is good to always keep the plants at temperatures above 7 ° C, in an environment that is as dry as possible. Below this threshold there are the first damages, which become irreparable when it falls below 5 ° C.
To assess whether to leave the aloe outside we must first know the minimum temperatures reached in recent years in our area. If they allow this approach we can, for greater security, put in place some practices to prevent damage. Very useful is to cover the aerial part with special fabric: in addition to retaining the heat it prevents the cold winds from dehydrating the leaves.
Pot plants, especially during the night, can be damaged at the roots: to avoid this we can cover the container with insulating material or insert it in a larger pot and fill the cavity with sand.
If the climate does not allow to keep the plant out, it is advisable to move the pot in a fairly bright but not necessarily heated room: the minimum threshold is 10 ° C.
From spring to autumn
The ideal location for aloe is full sun; in southern regions, however, it also grows well in more sheltered locations, especially during the afternoon hours.
To avoid damage from cold it is very important to choose an illuminated location for most of the day. We recommend, if possible, to place the vase against a wall facing south.
The plants carried inside live well both the strong and the lighter light conditions, but, in particular the latter case, they will certainly enter a deeper vegetative rest. At the arrival of spring we will then have to expose them more slowly to sunlight and heat to avoid the onset of burns on the leaves.
Soil suitable for aloe
The success in the cultivation of aloe derives from the perfect balance between substratum and watering. To prevent rot from developing, a rich but perfectly drained soil should be provided. Products designed for cacti are good; if instead we want to create the mix it will be sufficient to put in equal parts soil for green plants and coarse sand, then adding some handfuls of clayey soil.
Advice on aloe pot
The right container is certainly a bowl, wider than it is deep. It will allow normal growth in width (through suckers) and drainage will be favored: the soil on the bottom will remain moist for less time.
Repotting initially should be done every year, increasing the diameter by a few cm. Instead, adult plants grow more slowly and sometimes for several years only the addition of topsoil is necessary.
Irrigation and fertilization of aloe
From spring to autumn
In the summer the irrigation should not be missing: it is necessary to wait, between one administration and the other, for the soil to have dried well even in depth. The ideal is to test it personally by inserting it in your finger or using appropriate probes. To exceed with water certainly means to meet rot.
We can also, every 2 months, distribute a specific fertilizer and one for green plants, very diluted.
In the cold season, both outside and inside, it is good to irrigate very lightly, leaving plenty of water between one time and another (approximately a month). In practice we will only have to avoid the complete drying of the earthen bread.
Pests and diseases
The main plagues of the aloe are the cochineal, the rots and the red spider mite.
The first is very frequent and must be fought manually (for small cases) or with special systemic insecticides (in case of important attacks).
The rots must first be prevented. If they should appear we can remove the rotten leaves as close as possible to the base, with very clean scissors. You will then have to completely change the soil and administer radical products several times for this type of problem.
The red spider mite is quite frequent on sunny balconies: we suggest using specific acaricides and increasing the humidity in the area (in summer it should not cause problems).