Is my aloe plant dying? HELP!

Louisette(6A)August 16, 2005


I'm VERY new to growing and I think I am killing my aloe vera plant!! :( Help!

Some parts of the plant are brown and look like they are dying! Should I cut these off? I recently re-potted the plant (and all of the little plants around it) and it's not helping. Does the plant required sunlight? Direct sunlight? All day, or just part of the day? How many times a month do I need to water the plant?

You help is needed!!!!! :(

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Louisette- Do you have your Aloe in a plastic, terracotta or glazed pot? Where is your Aloe now (ei outside/inside)? What kind of light is it getting? How often have you been watering it? Are the brown parts dry and crispy or mushy? Are the healthy leaves really plump or thin?

I keep my Aloe in bright indirect light outside during the summer. My neighbor puts his in full sun and allows it to get a tan so to speak. The only thing you definately should not do is keep your plant in to low of light.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 2:44PM
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thanks for your response.
Right now I have my plant in low light because I thought that it was maybe getting too much sun (see, what a dummy I am).Sigh. I will change that today. My plant is in a glazed pot, I have been watering them about once a week. The soil is moist today. The brown parts are brown and soggy. The healthy parts and nice, big and plump. I'm afraid the brown parts with disease the green parts and I'll completely lose the plant.
I also have a small plant of "baby" aloes. Some of those are brown and some are green.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 3:13PM
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Okay, I have an idea what is going on here:) Glazed pots tend to keep water from evaporating, you are watering weekly and you have the plant in low light (this tends to keep plants moist longer). Your plant is getting too much water. I'm also going to take a wild guess and say you planted it in standard potting I right? Here is what I suggest you do- get some cactus and succulent soil. Miracle grow and Schultz makes some, I'm sure you can find other brands if you like. You can also add sand or perlite to your soil to help with drainage. Remove all brown mushy parts. Remove plant from pot, clean off soil and inspect the roots. Remove any brown mushy roots, leave the white roots. White roots are healthy. You also want to clean your pot really well. Now check to see if the pot is the right size for your plant. You don't want too much extra room around the roots because this can also contribute to watering problems/ root rot. If your pot is too big find a smaller one. I would also suggest using terracotta pots for this plant. They are pouris and will help prevent watering problems. Always be sure to use pots with a drainage hole(s) in the bottom. Repot your plant in the proper size pot using the well draining soil and put in good light. Don't put it in direct light just yet. It has been in low light and needs to acclimate before being place it too bright of light.

Aloe is a succulent. They store water in their leaves so they can survive the enviroment they naturaly grow in. They don't need to be watered as often as tropical house plants. Allow this plants soil to dry out before giving it a good drink. Some people keep an eye on the leaves of this plant and wait for the leaves to start getting less plump before watering. There is no set number of days for a plant to dry out. This can change due to the weather (humidity and temp) or due to the plant growing and filling up its pot with roots. HTH


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 3:40PM
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Oops, I forgot to mention- don't water your Aloe right after repotting. I would suggest you wait about a week before watering again.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 3:42PM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

Here's some more info from the C&S FAQ.

Here is a link that might be useful: Say Hallo to the Alo FAQ

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 5:46PM
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My aloe plant looked awful for about a year. I did have bugs on it at first. I sprayed it several times with water mixed with a couple of drops of dish soap. Hopefully you don't have bugs.

My aloes are in a cactus potting soil and I let them really dry out before I water them-sometimes more then a week. I have them in a south window. I just put one of them outside in filtered light

good luck and be patient

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 12:01AM
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I've kept one of these plants for a couple of years now. I've had a similar problem and discovered that I was watering it too much. Since you're also watering it every week, which is a lot for a desert type plant, I would suspect that as the main cause. My second suspiscion is that it may have been re-potted while stressed, which tends to cause decline and possibly in bad cases kill plants. Also, as basic as it sounds, you may have used the wrong soil, being a desert plant they are likely to rot in regular house plant soil. I use cacti soil for most suculents now, it's far closer to the soil they would naturally grow in.

As for light levels, mine has been in an extremely hot unshaded greenhouse most of this summer and is growing well. I don't think you can overload them with too much light or heat, but do be careful if moving one that's used to being in a cool shady place, even the most light/heat tolerant species doesn't like such an abrupt shock.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 1:14PM
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A cheap alternative to the cacti/succulent soil is to use about 9 parts perlite to 1 part good ol' potting soil, mixed well. The potting soil will keep some of the moisture in the pot instead of running right through, but the perlite will keep it from getting water logged. After many a struggle, this is what finally worked for me.

You may also want to pull out all the aloe and let the roots sit naked for a while. I was told that this would help the older healthy roots from rotting and promote new root growth when you repot it. Mine sat out for a month while I awaited the opportunity to repot with a better mix, and it looked much happier in the air than in soil that never dried.

I empathize with your struggle! Keep up your spirits, and keep trying till it works; your aloe will reward you.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 10:44PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Louisette,

You would really benefit from reading the Aloe FAQ that was kindly linked here (if you haven't yet).

Much of the above advice is good too, esp. the part abt taking it out of the mix altogether to let it dry out & grow new roots. Sounds like it wouldn't be a good idea, but it works just fine. Aloes can survive MONTHS like this, just standing upright in an empty clay pot. (I have several doing this right now, waiting for new roots to appear).

The suggested mix of mostly perlite will also work, I have access to pumice so I do it w/ that instead or perlite, but either works just fine.

Most importantly, pls. cut off anything soft & mushy; that is rot & can spread quickly. Also, pls. stop watering the plant, it can survive a LONG time w/out water, but can die quickly from too much.

To be on the safest side, take off most or all of the baby plants, leave them out of mix for a week or so & then pot them up in cactus & succulent mix DRY, that is to say don't water them in, in a small clay pot. These babies should be fine once repotted & then you can slowly give them more & brighter light, maybe increasing it by an hr. or 2 ever few days. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 1:11PM
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Hello, I have an aloe that has very large leaves and no baby shoots. I had repotted it in a glazed pot and now the bottom leaves are dying out. I will be looking to take it out of that pot, but my question is-
the leaves that have died out and the main stem- will it regrow roots or will it just be a top heavy plant with a large dead area on the bottom of the stem. When I do replant- can I plant the part of the stem without leaves deeper in the soil.
My other question is- the leaves themselves are a foot or more in length and tend to bend straight down and not upright as I have seen them in the stores- what causes this? and is there a way to keep the leaves more upright?


    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 10:21AM
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Brien, do you have the common Aloe Vera? Just curious.
What happens when the leaves die out? Are they turning yellow or brown?
Aloe is a succulent, therefore it doesn't need much should be given a good drink, but soil needs to dry out before rewatering.
I find aloes do best in bright light.
Don't expect too much growth now that winter's nearing, including side shoots.
MOst likely, new leaves will not grow where old ones died. btw, you said, 'will it grow new roots." I don't know what you mean? Were you refering to new leaves?

I think w/proper care your aloe should do fine. Just as long as you remember Aloe's are succulents and shouldn't be overwatered. As long as your plant isn't mushy, it'll be fine.
Give good light is possible, and no feeding is nessessary after Oct.

When you repotted, did you first soak the pot? These pots can suck up wtaer unless they're first soaked.
Don't keep repotting..YOur Aloe has to grow accustomed to its new home. Toni

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 12:12AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Brian,

If I may add, clarify, correct, etc.

Many Aloes are winter growers, so I'm not so sure that you won't get any more growth (don't think you said what kind of Aloe it is).

Toni, he mentioned the pot is glazed, one can't soak glazed pots, glazed = non-porous. Does this glazed pot have a drainage hole? If not, that's likely to be a problem.

No, it won't grow new leaves from the bottom of the stem. No, it won't grow new roots either, unless you want it to & make it do so. That's another chapter for another time.

Why are you planning on repotting it? When you take it out of the pot, take a good look at the roots & see how they're doing. If soft & mushy, pls. cut those off, if not, leave them alone.

No, you can't replant the plant w/ its now bare lower stem down more deeply in the pot; that's bad for the plant & likely to introduce rot into the plant.

Some Aloes flop over when they get too heavy, some of mine do this, sometimes I stake them up, if I really don't care for how they look flopped over. Sometimes it DOES help to give them more, stronger & better light, but not always.

Hope I got most of your questions.

FYI: It's usually best to start a new thread when introducing a new question (rather than adding a new question onto an existing older thread). It tends to get more answers & get them more quickly.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 6:26PM
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Hello, I have (what I think) is an aloe plant. It has little spines all over it and a single shoot about a foot tall coming out of the center with buds on it. The plant itself is only about 3" wide. There are also little baby aloes growing along the outside of the original plant. Does it need a new pot? How long will that shoot grow before it topples over?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 3:12AM
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Other than a small cactus garden several years ago this is one of my 1st plants. In late April my mom gave me an aloe plant about 6" tall and leaves spreading out in straignt line (one directly above the other) about 5" each side. Is this normal instead of them going all around?

It was about 3 weeks before I got around to putting it in dirt. She had wrapped the 5" long white root (no smaller ones) in a soaked papertowel and then in aluminum foil as I had a three day drive ahead. The papertowel was still damp. I put it in Miracle Grow potting soil with 1-2" of small stone at the bottom of a plastic pot with holes and soaked it well. I soaked it well with spring water or bottled dringing water to avoid chlorine anywhere from 2x/week to once every other week. I was delighted when last week I got "babies"! I am up to 10 now. My mom never got any. As of last nite the babies varied from 1/4" to 2". I decided to put them in separate pots with stone at bottom and a thorough soaking as I was taught as a child with vegetable garden plants before finding this site. Oh! the numerous mistakes I made.

I promply removed mom and babies from soil to dry out. I have Miracle Grow Cactus Palm & Citrus soil to put them in. I brought them inside as it is in the mid 90's now.

Do I leave the dirt caked on the roots (especially mom) or wash it all off? How long do I wait before replanting? Some of the babies have less than 1/4" of root if any at all. As I pulled the mom out, I think at least 3" of the big root broke off. Is it worth digging it out and seeing if it will grow into another plant? The mother plant now has a bunch of little roots as well.

The plants are currently in Tulsa Oklahoma. I hope some one can help me as I would so much like success with the mom and babies. My sister and her kids are looking forward to some of them as they can not keep aloe or even spider plants alive.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 6:59PM
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I have had my aloe plant for almost six years, and i have grown very attached to it- now i am afraid i am going to loose it!

I started growing it when it was @ 6" tall, it is now almost 3 feet tall (which is quite a feat in Massachusetts). Over the past year the leaves have started dying off the bottom, revealing what looks to be a future trunk. Do many aloes mature into tree aloe? I don't want to bury the trunk and cause rot. Is this "trunk" normal? or are the leaves dying off too quickly?

Also, some of the leaves are turning brown and curling into themselves (instead of the plump leaves they once were). I just moved into a new and very sunny apartment, could this be causing it? i have up-ed my watering in hope of counter-acting it.

please someone help!! i love my aloe!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:02PM
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Abbe---I suspect this is no longer an active site for help. Other than the last 3 of us I have noticed the most recent question is about 2 yrs old. Above John H OR gave a link Say Hello to the Alo FAQ. It has a lot of helpful info also.

Based on what I have read so far, cut back on the watering. They say let the soil dry out between waterings. 1-2 wks between waterings in summer, less often in winter. Do not use regular potting soil if you are. Use cactus succulent soil. I wouund up immediately pulling my plants out of soaked regular soil, let them "dry out" for 2 weeks, and tonite just put them back in after reading this info. Even the baby plants had grown roots and had larger firm leaves. They still grew with no water. According to other info, remove brown mushy parts of root. That is rot. Wait a week after repotting before watering. They are a desert plant, they do not need too much water. One person mentioned do not quickly go to high direct sunlight. Put your plant in a medium light area in your apt and gradually move it to more light. According to other info, pull off soggy, limp, brown leaves. Use rain water or at least filter (my family prefers Brita or PUR filters)your plant water. The chemicals in tap water are not the best for plants or humans.

It probably would not hurt to check at your local nursery or landscape store.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 1:25AM
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    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Two girls in my 7th grade science class did a project on Aloe Vera. I had a kit that you could grow your own aloe from that had a terrarium and seeds to grow aloe. We are keeping it under a grow light on a timer from 7am to 6pm every day. They planted all 13 seeds and only one sprouted out of all of them. They transplanted it a few weeks ago and started watering it a little everyday but it wasn�t showing growth so they stopped because we thought it was dead. Now it isn�t as plump anymore and the very tip of the tiny sprout is turning brown. I have no idea what variety it is because there were six in the pack of seeds but they are going to be so upset if this plant does not succeed. Right now we have it in some soil with sphagnum moss. Should we switch to Perlite and potting soil? And Should we water it often? These girls will be so upset if this plant is not successful. PLEASE HELP US!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Try proper cactus soil - it's not too expensive, �2-�3 max for a small bag. I would also reccomend watering it less often to let the soil dry a bit, say once every 1-2 weeks. Leave it in direct light for as long as possible. And don't water it straight after potting on. Good luck with the project and I hope I helped :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 7:28AM
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Although I'm late to this, I wanted to share what happened with my large potted (outside) aloe plant.

It too became waterlogged from a leaking hose, and was soggy, floppy, and yellow. It was at death's door, so I figured it couldn't be much worse whatever I did to it.

I took it out of the pot, allowed it to sit in the garden with the soil more or less attached and left it for WEEKS. It didn't die, so I knocked the soil off to the bare roots, stood it up in an empty pot, and now, three months since that flooding catastrophe, it has lots of new leaves. I am so impressed because it's doing this with no soil whatsoever!

In the next little while, I'll repot it in cactii potting mix, trimming off the last of the dead leaves. I have total confidence that this plant is not only going to survive but totally renew itself.

I read this discussion with interest, but the solution was just so simple.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:25PM
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