Relocating Aloe Vera Outdoors in Spring

I over-winter my aloe vera plants indoors. They can't survive a frost, so I make them "commuter" plants that enjoy the outdoors during spring, summer and early fall, and come back inside before the first frost. I have so many around the house that I've contemplated putting Christmas ornaments on them for the holidays.

A Bit About Aloe Vera

Closeup of the largest -- center stem -- plant I repotted last year

You probably already know AV is a rugged succulent. It can take a lot of neglect. Frost is really its only kryptonite, and if you put plants outdoors and watch the weather report to be sure and bring them in before the first frost for your area, you're golden.  They can stand being crowded and virtually ignored.

This is good news if you're used to cultivating plants and herbs that are persnickety about pH, water, lighting and fertilizer. Think of aloe vera as a minimalist plant with benefits.  Even though you can ignore it, this beauty will give you years of service taking the sting out of bee stings and offering nearly instantaneous relief from the pain of minor burns. Just slather on a little goo extracted from the leaves.

If you don't have an aloe vera, you're doing yourself an injustice. Even a black thumb novice can grow one. This is my not so subtle way of encouraging you to buy a young plant this season. It will grow quickly, so you don't have to invest in a large specimen. Even a two leaf baby will double in size if not more during the summer.

These are the smallest repotted specimens -- doing well.
Last fall, I repotted a rangy AV that was getting too big for its accommodations. You can find the article and photos on a previous post: How to Repot an Aloe Vera Plant

After repotting one plant into five pots (sized from 4 to 10 inches), I left the booty outdoors for another couple of weeks then brought everybody in for the winter. In the following five months, I only watered them twice, and then the amount was minimal, about two ounces per pot applied near the base.  I've included pictures of how they fared throughout this post.  Although they were positioned in different rooms, all ended up receiving at least some light. The largest were near a glass patio door.  The smallest were in an eastern facing window, back a few inches to avoid any cold spots. We have double paned windows, but sometimes that's not enough to keep out the chill.

You can see everyone did well. Now they'll remain outdoors all summer. I won't water them -- nature will take care of that.  I'll just protect them from bright sunlight for about 10 days while they adjust. They'll change color somewhat as they acclimate to the outdoors, going from light green, to bronze, to dark green. They'll put on some impressive growth in the next three months, too.

These pups shared space with larger plants. They're do for repotting soon.
The dimpling on some leaves are scars from a run-in with kittens, but they healed okay (so did the cats), and I'll use those damaged leaves to start new plants this fall.  You'll also notice the small babies in the photos. They were triple (or more) potted because I didn't have enough pots to go around. I'll remove them to their own pots shortly.

If you're looking for a plant that makes a great gift, AV is good for that, too. Babies, or pups, begin popping up as the plant becomes crowded, and they're easy to remove and start in tiny two inch pots -- the perfect size for  party favors.

Before you complete your plant wish list, pencil in aloe vera. You'll be glad you did.

For more information on this wonderful plant, visit:

How to Grow Aloe Vera 
Propagate Aloe Vera
Grow Aloe Vera and Have Its Healing Properties at Your Fingertips

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