The best pots for aloe vera are terracotta or ceramic pots that are around 2 inches wider then the size of the aloe vera. The pot size should be proportionate to the aloe vera’s size so the soil can dry out between bouts of watering to prevent root rot and to promote the growth of aloe vera offsets.
Aloe vera grow better in terracotta or ceramic pots as they do not heat up excessively in the sun. Smaller pots are better for aloe vera for drainage (larger pots hold more moisture) and aloe vera can grow well even when pot bound.
The most important feature of an aloe vera pot is that it has drainage holes in the base as they are very sensitive to root rot.
Best Pot Size for Growing Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a slow growing succulent that can grow up to 2 feet tall with a similar width in the right conditions.
However aloe vera can take a long time to reach a large mature size therefore it is important to plant your aloe vera in a pot that is appropriate for its size as pictured with 2 inch or so of soil either side of the aloe vera.
Aloe vera is specially adapted to growing in well draining soil and tolerate drought-like conditions in its native environment in Omen in the Arabian peninsula. Therefore aloe vera has adapted to growing in gritty, well draining soils, with a large particle size that do not retain too much moisture (read my article, best potting soil for aloe vera).
Pots that are significantly larger then the size of the aloe vera have a greater capacity for soil and therefore, a greater capacity to retain moisture. Large pots can retain moisture too long for the aloe vera to tolerate and promote the conditions for root rot, hence the important of planting aloe vera in pots proportion to the plants current size.
(Read my article how to revive a dying aloe vera if the leaves are turning brown, yellow or black).
However it is worth considering that smaller pots dry out quicker as there is less soil to hold moisture.
This is usually favorable for the drought resistant aloe vera as it emulates the well draining soil conditions to which they are adapted, but at the height of Summer with higher temperatures and more direct sunlight, the soil can dry out too quickly for the aloe vera to draw up and therefore it may be necessary to increase the frequency of watering to counteract the fast drying nature of smaller pots.
(Read my article on how to water aloe vera to learn the best method for establishing when your aloe vera should be watered).
Smaller pots also stimulate the development of offsets from the main aloe vera plant at a greater rate then larger pots, so that you can propagate your new little aloe plant.
With larger pots, the aloe prioritizes the development of its roots system more so then growth of the leaves or off sets, so your aloe vera may appear to be growing very slowly if its a small plant in a larger pot as its energy is directed to establish the root system.
Best Material For Aloe Vera Pots
Aloe vera can grow in pots made of any type of material, but some types of pots are more favorable for growing aloe vera then others.
I have personally seen aloe vera grown successfully in metal, wood, plastic, terracotta and ceramic pots.
However I would caution against planting aloe vera in metal pots and containers. Aloe vera prefer to grow in full sun, which would heat up the metal pots significantly to the point the aloe vera’s roots could suffer heat stress.
This would also mean you have to be more diligent with watering and finding the balance between overwatering and underwatering becomes very tricky.
If the aloe is suffering from heat or drought stress the leaves (which store the water) will typically appear more hollow and curl inwards instead of a plump, full looking leaf (Read my article on saving aloe vera leaves curling inwards).
Wooden pots on the other hand have the opposite problem in that they would likely retain too much moisture and keep the soil around the roots too damp for the aloe to tolerate which can promote the conditions for root rot.
My personal favorite pots for growing aloe vera are ceramic and terracotta style pots.
Terracotta and ceramic pots tend to be more hard wearing then metal or wood (the metal can rust which is not favorable from growing aloe vera).
Ceramic and terracotta pots are more durable and do not heat up to the same extent as metal or plastic pots in full sun which makes finding the optimal watering schedule for your aloe a bit easier.
Ceramic and terracotta pots are also more porous and breathable (compared to plastic pots which can retain water) to allow the soil to dry out between bouts of watering which is crucial for a succulent adapted to drought such as aloe vera.
It is worth noting that plastic pots do tend to be lighter then the terracotta or ceramic pots which could be important if you have a large aloe plant that you intend to move outdoors in the Summer.
Plastic pots are the most affordable, durable and do work well for growing aloe vera indoors as long as they are not too large for the aloe vera (always plant aloe vera in a pot proportionate to its size) have good drainage in the base.
Good Drainage in the Base of the Pot
Aloe vera is adaptable and can grow in many different types of pots which ever pot your choose it is important that there are drainage holes in the base.
Without drainage holes in the base of the pot, water just collects in the bottom of the pot which keeps the soil damp around the aloe vera roots which promotes the conditions for root rot and causes the succulent to die back.
A pot with drainage holes in the base should compliment the well draining gritty soil used to plant aloe vera to help replicate the aerated soil conditions of the aloe vera’s native environment.
Gritty soil also prevent the drainage holes becoming blocked with compacted soil which can slow drainage.
This ensures the soil can dry out out completely between bouts of watering which emulates the cycle of a deluge of rain followed by a period of drought typically experienced in the aloes natural habitat.
Avoid this mistake!
A big mistake I see when it comes to growing aloe vera is choosing an appropriate pot with drainage holes but placing to pot on a saucer or tray to prevent water spilling and allowing water to pool in the saucer or tray which keeps the roots damp and causes the aloe to die of root rot.
It is of course okay to use a saucer or tray underneath your aloe pot t prevent water spilling but it should be emptied regularly to prevent to pot sitting in a pool of water so that you can prevent root rot which is the most common cause of an aloe vera dying.
- The best pot for aloe vera is a terracotta or ceramic pot that is 2 inches wider then the width of the aloe plant, with drainage holes in the base. Smaller terracotta pots proportionate to the size of the aloe vera are breathable, allowing the soil to dry out efficiently between bouts of watering.
- The ideal size for an aloe vera pot is around 2 inches larger then the current size of the aloe vera. A pot that is proportionate to the size of the aloe vera promotes the development of aloe vera offshoots and allows the soil to dry out quicker to reduce the risk of root rot.
- Terracotta and ceramic pots are better for growing aloe vera as they are more breathable then plastic or metal pots which helps the aloe vera’s soil to dry out between bouts of watering. Metal pots also heat up in full sun which causes heat and drought stress for the aloe vera’s roots.
- The most important feature for an aloe vera pot is a drainage hole in the base to allow excess water to drain freely away from the roots. Avoid water pooling around the roots by emptying saucers and trays regularly to prevent root rot.