Make Your Own Mini Aloe Garden

More and more mini aloes are hitting the market, and they make a colourful and easy-to-care-for bowl of interesting succulents.

If you have already started a collection of succulents or want to combine some interesting looking plants together, why now try miniature aloes? They are mostly indigenous to our continent, are readily available on the commercial plant and don’t require intensive care or too much water. We made this mini aloe garden as a stand out pot feature to use in a sunny spot outside. Learn more about mini aloe types here.

What you need:

  • Low round bowl
  • Pieces of terracotta pot or stones
  • Succulent potting medium (make your own by mixing together 60% potting soil, 10% akadama*, 10% fine silica sand, 10% coarse gravel and 10% organic fertiliser like Atlantic Bio Ocean)
  • Large stones or pebbles
  • Decorative gravel
  • Mini Aloes (we used the following aloes: ‘Twice as Nice’, ‘Spotty’, ‘Pink Blush’, ‘Tuffy var SP128 GA’, Aloe descoingsii, Aloe juvenna)

What you do:

  1. Place stones or pieces of terracotta over the pot’s drainage hole and fill the pot halfway with the potting medium.
  2. Place the largest aloe off-centre and group smaller aloes in clusters around it.
  3. Fill in with the potting medium and firm it down.
  4. Place large stones or pebbles in gaps to mimic a natural landscape and finish off by covering soil with decorative gravel. If you have spilled gravel or soil on your aloes, gently brush it off using a dry paintbrush.
  5. Water well and place in a sunny spot.

*Akadama is a light, granular, clay-like mineral that is used as a soil additive, usually for bonsai trees but also for other container plants. It is the preferred choice for succulent and cactus pots. It is useful as it retains water and nutrients, and helps with drainage and growth. It is available from bonsai specialists or online at www.tanyavisser.com. You can use perlite as an alternative.

A good potting tip:

When planting aloes in pots, make the level of the growing medium a little lower around the plants, allowing a few centimetres of space from the rim of the pot. Fill that space with a layer of fine grit around the rosette or ‘crown’ of the plant. It will prevent rotting.

Learn more about mini aloes and potted aloe care here.

The Gardener