Aloe vera is a plant that is well-loved for many reasons. Primarily, the succulent is an attractive plant that has thick green leaves and looks wonderful in any home. However, this is a plant that is also recognised for its incredible medicinal benefits and many people are interested in growing it to relieve skin conditions, digestive problems and a whole host of other problems. But with the cooler climate, a lot of gardeners are left wondering; can you grow aloe vera outside, UK?
Aloe vera is native to Africa, where there are a range of climates. As such, different varieties have different tolerances. There are those that will handle temperatures as low as freezing whereas others will never thrive in these conditions. However, in the UK summer, potted aloe vera plants may do well in certain parts of your garden.
Choosing the right location and container for your aloe vera plant will ensure that it does well when you take it outside. While it may begin its life indoors, once the summer comes, things could change. In this guide, we will be telling you everything you need to know to successfully keep an aloe outdoors in the UK.
What Are The Right Conditions For Aloe Vera?
Aloe is a plant that is native to the continent of Africa; the climates across this continent can vary wildly from arid to humid and burning hot to relatively cool. These varied climates mean that more than 400 species of aloe have evolved here and as such, homeowners in the UK have some scope to keep certain ones in the gardens.
Aloe vera is just one of the many varieties of the aloe plant and potentially the most well known. Aloe vera does have some subspecies that will tolerate much cooler conditions but on the whole, it will not do well in frost. The more hardy versions of this plant are able to withstand even freezing temperatures, these are the Alpine varieties.
What’s more, there are two most common types of aloe vera, these are:
- True aloe: this variety may produce small yellow flowers, but warmer climates are required for this so it is unlikely to happen in the UK. Although it is not unheard of.
- Stripe stemmed aloe: this variety is more commonly found in South Africa and is relatively hardy. It produces yellow flowers that look similar to the red hot poker and while it may thrive in a gravelly bed in the right climate, it is unlikely to survive the winter.
So, Can I Grow Aloe Vera Outside In The UK?
The answer to this question is a complex one While it is entirely possible to keep aloe vera outdoors when the weather is warmer, it is always advisable to move the plant indoors after the summer is over.
Furthermore, you should always consider that, while aloe does like a certain degree of warmth, it does not tolerate being in full sun. If you are going to keep your plant outdoors, you will need to find a location that gives it partial shade. When they grow in the wild, succulents such as aloe vera will always locate themselves in a shady spot but one that does receive a small amount of light. If the plants are regularly exposed to the heat of the midday sun, this will do them no favours.
Another consideration when keeping aloe vera outdoors in the United Kingdom is that these plants must always be placed in a container. You can plant them alone, or if you prefer, you might place them in a larger container among other succulents. These kinds of displays will give an alternative summer theme to your garden and will look just as pretty when moved indoors during the winter.
To grow aloe vera outside is a completely different matter to simply placing an established plant outdoors. In the UK, we do not have the correct climate or conditions for an aloe vera to grow successfully.
What Types of Aloe Can I Grow Outside In The UK?
If your hopes of growing an aloe vera plant from scratch in your garden have been dashed, there is still a glimmer of light. As we mentioned earlier on, there are more than 400 varieties of the aloe plant and some of them will do very well in cooler climates.
While aloe vera might not do too good in UK soil, the aloe ferox plant and the aloe arborescens may both be hardier alternatives for people who want to have a go at cultivating these beautiful succulents. These species do very well in moist areas, which is excellent news for UK gardeners as we certainly aren’t short on precipitation.
Temperate areas like the UK, where winters are cool to cold and summers are mild to warm make ideal locations for these hardy cousins of the aloe vera plant.
More Aloe Vera Care Tips
If you are potting an aloe vera plant to take outdoors in the UK then there is much more to this than simply putting it in the garden and hoping for the best. When taken care of, your aloe vera will do well but it is important to get the conditions spot on.
What Is The Best Compost For Aloe Vera
One of the first things to keep in mind when potting an aloe vera is that these plants will store moisture in their leaves. For this reason, they do not need to be watered all that often. In fact, you can get away with only watering these plants once every two to three weeks. That being said, if you come to water your plant and the soil is at all damp, leave it a little longer.
This brings us onto the correct type of soil; aloe vera needs well-drained soil and this means potting them in pots with plenty of drainage holes. Another great way to ensure the soil stays well-drained is to use a gritty compost like those that are specially designed for cacti and succulents.
Furthermore, a lot of people find success in adding a little perlite to the soil to keep it from remaining too moist.
How Do I Repot An Aloe Vera?
When you take your aloe vera plant outdoors and it is in the right conditions, it may begin to grow significantly. However, it is important that, at this time, you move it to another container. Your plant may have spines or thorns and these act as a deterrent to animals in the wild. However, this can make the plant quite prickly so be sure to use gardening gloves or wrap your plant in newspaper before handling it.
Once you have moved the plant into its new pot, it is essential that you leave it dry for at least ten days. The purpose of this is to allow the roots to seek out moisture and as a result of this, the plant will become better established.
Aloe vera cannot be grown in UK gardens as it needs conditions that cannot be found here. However, it is possible to move your aloe plants outdoors during the summer, provided that you pick a shady spot where your plant will thrive.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Aloe Vera plants are best grown in pots in the UK and taken outdoors for a bit in the summer!”
“When putting your aloe out for the summer, find a spot with partial shade as too much sun will scorch it after being inside most of its life!”
“If you have any particularly wet summer days, bring your aloe straight inside, they do not like soil to be too wet!”
“If you do decide to plant your aloe outside, ensure the soil is extremely well-draining and mix in around 50% gravel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can aloe vera survive outside UK?
Potted Aloe can go outdoors in the summer but Aloe will not grow outdoors in the UK if planted in the ground. Aloe is a warm climate plant and the UK just isn’t warm enough for Aloe to thrive.
Can you plant aloe vera in the garden UK?
No, planting Aloe in the UK is a death sentence for the plant. Aloe need temperatures above what we get in the UK. Potted Aloe can be taken outdoors in the summer but must not be left out in the colder months or it will not survive.
What do I do with my aloe plant in the winter?
In the UK, without a doubt, aloe vera should be inside. These plants do not survive the UK climate although when potted, they can go in the garden for periods of warm weather in the summer.