Why Does Aloe Vera Grow Best in Container of Sandy Clay Loam?

westes Zone 9b California SF Bay
5 months ago
last modified: 5 months ago

I have a bit of a mystery with Aloe Vera. I did a test growing six plants in various container soils, and one of those containers has sandy clay loam soil. It is probably 1/2 sand mixed into a clay loam soil, but the impression on handling it is that the sand content is high. To cut to the chase, the only soil in which the Aloe Vera was growing vigorously was the sandy clay loam soil.

The first problem is that sandy clay loam soil is fine for in-ground planting, but it is not container soil at all. The particles are all too small. And it has a substantial amount of clay. In spite of this, the Aloe seems to love it.

Other soils I was testing against included pure pumice, gritty mix, and various mixes with 2/3 inorganic and 1/3 organic. None of these did well at all. The Aloe all struggle in those soils.

Aside from the sand content, I am guessing what distinguished the sandy clay loam soil is that the clay would give it a high CEC and a lot of mineral content. But Aloe Vera is not a heavy feeder, so that does not seem to explain the result.

Can someone guess why I might be getting this result?

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