5 Best Fertilizer For Aloe Vera | How And When To Use

As with any cacti or succulent, less is more when it comes to aloe vera nutrition. These plants are expertly adapted to growing in some of the poorest soil conditions on the planet. As a result, they need little help from us to thrive whether growing in the landscape or as a houseplant.

With that said, fertilizer is a great way to optimize your aloe vera’s health. You just need to be careful not to overdo it.

The best aloe vera fertilizer is one that won’t burn your plant’s roots or leave excess nitrates behind in the soil. Below, you’ll find the formulas I recommend most as well as tips and tricks for maintaining aloe vera in your home.

Choosing The Best Fertilizer For Aloe Vera 

A low-concentration fertilizer — i.e., one that contains 2% nitrogen or less — is ideal for aloe vera plants. This type of formula provides just enough nutrition for the average aloe vera without much risk of overfeeding. 

Opting for a liquid concentrate is another great way to protect your aloe vera from fertilizer burn and salt damage.

Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow All Purpose 1-1-1

Best Organic Fertilizer for Aloe Vera

1. Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow 1-1-1

Easy and mess-free organic feeding with a mild formulation of macronutrients. Ideal for light-feeding Aloe Vera nutrient requirements.

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food (Liquid) 1-1-1 

Best For Young Plants

2. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food 0.5-1-1

Fast-acting liquid fertilizer with low nitrogen. Ideal for young Aloe Vera or small plants that may otherwise be susceptible to fertilizer burn.  

Granular Vs Liquid Fertilizer

I often say that choosing between granular or liquid fertilizer comes down to personal preference. However, aloe vera is one of a handful of plants that respond much better to one option — i.e., liquid fertilizer — versus the other. 

In my experience, this is because liquid fertilizers tend to be less concentrated and easier to dilute than their granular counterparts.

Liquid Concentrate

Many of the most popular houseplant and cacti fertilizers are sold as liquid concentrates. These formulas are easy to measure and store. Since each dose is diluted with clean water, a single bottle of concentrated fertilizer can last for a year or more.

One potential downside of liquid fertilizers is that they deliver their nutrients all at once. But this isn’t a problem as long as you choose a low-concentration formula and dilute each application per the label.

Slow-Release Granules

Granular fertilizers slowly release nutrients over the span of several weeks or months. They are applied dry to the soil’s surface and activated with water.

While you might think this formulation is perfect for low-maintenance aloe vera, I rarely recommend using slow-release granules on potted succulents. The reason is that most granular fertilizers contain harsh nitrate salts that can burn the plant’s roots. 

The only time I strongly recommend using slow-release granules on aloe vera is when feeding plants growing in the ground. Either way, be sure to select a granular fertilizer designed for succulents and cacti.

Fertilizer Spikes 

Fertilizer spikes and capsules are convenient alternatives to traditional granules. They provide the same continuous-release nutrition but in a pre-measured package. 

Personally, I rarely use fertilizer spikes on my own plants but I do understand the appeal. Anyone thinking of using this type of fertilizer should be aware that they don’t always release nutrients evenly into the soil. 

In addition, be wary about selecting a formula intended for succulents to prevent the risk of overfeeding.

Soil pH And Nutrients

Soil pH is of little concern when growing aloe vera. These succulents tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils with pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 8.5. Nutritional deficiencies caused by a soil pH imbalance are rare.

Aloe Vera Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio

To easily compare fertilizer formulas, you first need to understand something called an N-P-K ratio. This is a sequence of 3 numbers found on nearly all fertilizer labels. 

The numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in any given formula. For example, the N-P-K ratio 2-7-7 translates to 2% nitrogen, 7% phosphorus, and 7% potassium. 

Best Fertilizer For Aloe Vera Reviews

Since aloe vera plants require minimal nutrition to survive, you want to ensure every drop of fertilizer used is of the highest quality. Here are 5 fertilizers I recommend most based on research and my own hands-on experience:

Pros

  • Made from OMRI-certified ingredients
  • Delivers balanced nutrition

Cons

  • May have a foul odor

In my opinion, balanced, low-concentration fertilizer like this liquid concentrate from Dr. Earth is a no-brainer in terms of aloe vera care. I highly recommend picking up a bottle of this fertilizer for all aloe vera houseplants.

If you’re nervous about using harsh products inside your home, you’ll love this fertilizer. It’s made entirely from organic, feed-grade materials sourced from would-be supermarket waste.

I love using this fertilizer on small houseplants because you can pump the liquid concentrate directly onto the soil. It’s easy to incorporate feedings into your regular watering routine.

How To Use: Apply 1 pump of fertilizer per gallon of container capacity to the soil’s surface. Water thoroughly within 24 hours.

Pros

  • The low percentage of nitrogen is gentle on plants
  • Can be applied directly to the soil

Cons

  • Packaging prone to leaks

In terms of name recognition, it’s hard to beat Miracle-Gro in the world of fertilizers. So it’s no surprise that the brand is responsible for one of my favorite fertilizers for aloe vera.

This formula is very similar to the one from Dr. Earth. However, I want to highlight the lower percentage of nitrogen. Aloe vera can be very sensitive to excess nitrogen in the soil, so this is a great option for young or particularly small plants.

How To Use: Pump fertilizer directly onto the soil. Apply 1 pump to small containers or 2 pumps to large containers (over 6 inches across). Water the soil immediately after application.

Pros

  • No measuring required
  • Formulated specifically for the needs of succulents

Cons

  • May not dissolve evenly

While I don’t often recommend spike-style fertilizers, I admit to being impressed by arthropods. These capsules provide slow-release nutrition in a convenient, pre-measured package. 

If you’re going to use EarthPods on an aloe vera plant, I strongly recommend picking up a container of the cactus and succulent formula. It contains the ideal amount of macronutrients for potted aloe vera and similar species.

Keep in mind that this product needs water to activate. Aloe vera can survive a long time between waterings but won’t receive the intended nutrients if left dry for too long!

How To Use: Push capsules into the soil around the base of your aloe vera plant. Be sure to space capsules evenly and avoid making direct contact with the plant’s base. Water regularly.

Pros

  • Great source of phosphorus and potassium
  • Appropriate for all cacti and succulents

Cons

  • Not a source of micronutrients

Many aloe vera plants benefit from higher levels of phosphorus and potassium. This fertilizer from Bonide is an excellent choice if you want to supply maximum nutrition without overfeeding with nitrogen.

You can apply this low-concentration fertilizer nearly every time you water your aloe vera plants. However, be sure to dilute the product with water to prevent root burn. 

How To Use: Dilute ⅛ teaspoon of liquid concentrate per quart of water. Water aloe vera plants as usual.

Pros

  • Fortified with calcium
  • Low nitrogen content won’t burn roots

Cons

  • Bottle tends to leak

This Grow More liquid concentrate is another fertilizer high in both phosphorus and potassium. Unlike the Bonide formula recommended above, however, it also acts as a source of supplemental calcium.

I recommend this fertilizer for any aloe vera plant actively suffering from or prone to calcium deficiency. The low nitrogen percentage means that you can apply this fertilizer as often as every 2 weeks without overfeeding.

How To Use: Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid concentrate per gallon of clean water. Saturate the soil with the mixture every 2 weeks during the growing season.

How To Feed Aloe Vera Plants

In my experience, fertilizer has the biggest impact when applied to potted aloe vera plants. You will rarely if ever, need to feed aloe vera growing in the ground.

Provide plenty of water when fertilizing your aloe vera. In addition to diluting all fertilizer applications per manufacturer instructions, I recommend watering the soil prior to feeding. This will create a protective barrier around the plant’s roots and lower the risk of fertilizer burn.

Keep an eye out for salt build-up on the soil. The most common sign is a white, crusty layer that forms on the soil’s surface but you may also notice your aloe vera’s health decline. Routinely flushing the soil with clean water — along with avoiding granular fertilizers — will prevent this problem.

When To Fertilize Aloe Vera

I recommend fertilizing aloe vera plants only during the growing season. For most plants, it’s safe to apply fertilizer in early spring. If your aloe vera is kept outdoors year-round, wait to feed until the average temperature is at least 55°F.

A single application of fertilizer in spring may be all your aloe vera requires. If you choose to feed more frequently, be sure to apply fertilizer no later than early fall. This will give your aloe vera time to re-enter winter dormancy.

How Often To Fertilize

Many aloe vera plants respond best when fed once or twice per year. These applications should occur in the spring and (if applicable) in the fall.

Particularly vigorous plants growing in containers can be fed as often as monthly during the growing season. I generally recommend this feeding schedule when using a quick-release liquid formula.

Remember that succulents have much lower nutritional needs than other plant types. I know it can be tempting to use fertilizer in an attempt to produce bigger and faster growth. However, fertilizing more often is very likely to stress your aloe vera or cause a root burn.

Verdict: Best Aloe Vera Fertilizers

Aloe vera is an independent plant that fares just fine without much help from its keepers. With that said, occasional feedings are often the difference between an aloe vera thriving versus just surviving.

Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow All Purpose 1-1-1

Best Organic Fertilizer for Aloe Vera

Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow All Purpose 1-1-1

Easy and mess-free organic feeding with a mild formulation of macronutrients. Ideal for light-feeding Aloe Vera nutrient requirements.

I can confidently say that Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow All Purpose 1-1-1 is one of the best fertilizers for aloe vera currently on the market. It’s balanced, easy to apply, and suitable for a variety of potted houseplants.

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food (Liquid) 1-1-1 

Best Liquid Fertilizer for Aloe Vera

Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food 0.5-1-1

Fast-acting liquid fertilizer with low nitrogen. Ideal for young Aloe Vera or small plants that may otherwise be susceptible to fertilizer burn.  

Alternatively, Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food 0.5-1-1 is an excellent formula containing slightly less nitrogen than the one above. I recommend it for aloe vera plants planted in rich soil or that have more sensitive root systems.

FAQs Fertilizing Aloe Vera