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My Aloe Vera Plants Don’t Have Long Roots: Can I…

Marilyn Asked

My aloe vera plants don’t have long roots: can I plant them in a pot that is 17 inches deep?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Marilyn in Michigan: You are correct in saying that aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) plants have a shallow root system. Like other cacti and succulents, these plants do not need a very deep container to grow in, and 17 inches is more than enough depth for the aloe to grow. In fact, it may be too much depth because of the potential of retaining too much moisture. Aloe plants are native to Africa, where they thrive in hot and dry conditions. If these plants are growing in a soil that is not well-drained, it can be detrimental. Less is better in terms of water. For a long-lived plant, it should be planted in a cacti/succulent growing medium and a container that has sufficient drainage. Living in Michigan the aloe would happy to live outside during the warmer months, but has to be brought indoors during the winter. Outdoors it will thrive in the full sun, and indoors it should be grown in a south-facing window or any space where it will receive as much light as possible.

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