Ask a Question forum: Indoor Aloe Plant Problems

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Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 22, 2016 2:00 PM CST
Good afternoon! I have some problems/questions regarding a potted indoor aloe plant that was given to me about a year ago. The pot seems to be the right size and it seems to get enough sunlight without burning. I keep it on top of a low bookshelf in front of a window.
The problem: I think the stem is either broken or even rotting. I must have over watered it this last time. Most of the plant looks healthy, but the stem isn't strong enough to support the plant's weight anymore. There is also a baby aloe plant growing. Given that it's the start of fall, do I replant it now or wait until spring? I Don't want to risk the plant getting worse but Don't know if it's harmful to replant this time of year. Any tips would be great as I've never replanted an aloe or any succulent before.
PS - I hope I didn't attach too many pictures!
Thank you!
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Sep 22, 2016 8:34 PM CST
Lots of pictures is good!

There's a lot of good looking top growth but something sure is bad at the bottom. Some leaves at the bottom that are going bad look much bigger, are they from the original growth before it got to you? I think it could use more light than you've got. Any direct sun in that window? If so, what time of day and how long? What direction does that face? And doesn't need as big a pot, especially for an indoor aloe.

Someone else should advise about repotting, I'm not a pro with Aloe. I'd repot anyway. But I imagine it can struggle along thru winter like this, and get repotted in spring when it will want to grow.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 23, 2016 8:07 AM CST
?😕? Looks like root rot. From the way it fell over so don't give up take the mother plant and cut her back till you get rid of all the rot and have clean fresh stem. Let her harden off for several days take the baby and re pot the baby if there is no Rot present in her. They're pretty tough and I only
water mine mind every six weeks and bottom only. If they need water you will be able to tell.

Welcome! I tip my hat to you.
😎😎😎
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 23, 2016 12:42 PM CST
Sally, yes the larger not as healthy looking leaves are original growth. They've always been a bit darker than the other leaves but the brown spots developed over the summer.
Unfortunately, it's already in the sunniest spot in my apartment. It gets some direct sunlight, mostly in the morning and early afternoon. It's just after 2:30pm now and it only has indirect sunlight. I believe that window faces southeast (ish.)
My cousin gave it to me in that pot; she has 2 other aloes in similar pots that are doing great. I think when I repot the baby aloe though I'll use a longer, more shallow one. 😊
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 23, 2016 12:47 PM CST
Thank you Philip! I will keep all that in mind when I repot it. Do you think it would help to trim off the damaged leaves and support the stem for now, or do I need to dig it all up and repot ASAP?
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 23, 2016 12:53 PM CST
Also, if I'm going to be repotting aloes, I suppose I'll need a special soil? I know it needs to drain very well. Would a sandy soil work, or do I need to buy something made for aloe?
Thank you again!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Sep 23, 2016 1:27 PM CST
The light situation sounds good. Probably just a problem in this one pot, then. Stuff happens.

When someone asks if sandy (etc ) soil will do, I think they plan to get garden dirt from outside. Don't do that. Use good quality potting mix, cactus/succulent mix might even be better.

If the stem is rotted now, then the top is just surviving on its own already. A smaller pot and good soil will help ensure the plant dries out quickly between waterings.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 23, 2016 6:23 PM CST
Yeah, I figure there must be some good stem somewhere inside all that rot. Lol, don't worry, I didn't plan on getting soil from outside my apartment. 😂 I'll probably get the stuff made for succulents.
Anyway, I cleared out all the dead stuff and took off two of the bad looking leaves. They broke right off--very dry and brittle where they met the stem. The stem looks rotted but feels dry and brittle. It's not slimy or mushy. I also gently leaned the "mother" plant to the other side, so it doesn't crush the baby aloe. Hopefully that will be good enough until I have what I need to repot.
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Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 25, 2016 11:22 AM CST
I'm definitely going to repot soon rather than holding off and hoping for the best. I understand I should get clay pots as they help absorb excess water, and they should be on the shallow side. What about soil? Obviously I know it needs to drain well, and I'd rather buy pre-mixed than put together my own. I've seen a lot of reviews that some organic soils have bugs when opened, and that some big brands like Miracle Gro Don't actually drain well. What do you guys use?
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Sep 26, 2016 12:56 PM CST
I use Miracle Gro Cactus & Palm potting soil with some pre-rinsed Miracle Gro perlite.

I don't know what the rootball on yours looks like, so you may find you'll need to downsize the pot size to accommodate. If grown in lower light (I see you mentioned yours gets indirect light), the mix will need to be more porous to ensure it dries out fast enough.

Mind you, my 'Aloe Vera' summers outdoors, so I don't mix a lot of perlite into my mix for my 'Aloe Vera' because it gets a lot of afternoon sun and it dries out rather fast as it is (not that the undersized pot it's currently in helps). That said, you may need to add more perlite to your mix to keep yours more fast draining.

For cultivation purposes, they do better with as much sun as you can give them (they tend to get floppy otherwise). I don't mean stick it out in the middle of your yard for 8 hours of sun (although I suppose you could if you lived far up North, Hilarious! ), but Mine gets about 2-3 hours of direct afternoon sun on the West side of a patio. It actually sits a bit further back than my cacti, which receive the most sun.
Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Region: United Kingdom Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds The WITWIT Badge Container Gardener Foliage Fan
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syzone8aUK
Sep 27, 2016 6:52 AM CST
I have had a similar experience with 2 aloe vera bought from the same shop same day! They got the black spots a few weeks later and I cut the infected leaves off, repotted both with the same mix and put one outside! The one inside got nice new healthy leaves but the black spots came back whereas the one outside didn't! I think overwatering occurs indoors with these aloes when there is not enough air circulation and not enough sun! The one outside is always drenched with rain and the soil is always wet so I don't think it was overwatering that caused it! But it definitely contributes.
Heat zone 1-2
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Sep 27, 2016 7:50 AM CST
syzone8aUK said:I have had a similar experience with 2 aloe vera bought from the same shop same day! They got the black spots a few weeks later and I cut the infected leaves off, repotted both with the same mix and put one outside! The one inside got nice new healthy leaves but the black spots came back whereas the one outside didn't! I think overwatering occurs indoors with these aloes when there is not enough air circulation and not enough sun! The one outside is always drenched with rain and the soil is always wet so I don't think it was overwatering that caused it! But it definitely contributes.


I think the "fresh air" from outdoors does everyone good! nodding
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Sep 27, 2016 7:17 PM CST
reminds me of Geoff Stein's article about 'magical' properties of rainwater
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3510#b
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 30, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Thought some of you might get a chuckle out of this. Behold, my temporary solution. Just until I have what I need to replant. Two filled water bottles and some loosely wrapped filament tape holding the aloe upright, preventing further damage to the stem.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 30, 2016 11:24 AM CST
I love it !!!
Water bottle crutches #
😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 30, 2016 11:28 AM CST
Lauren, to me your container seems too big for the plant, I do hope you can repot soon before the colder temperature sets in and with the sunlight getting shorter, to allow the plant some time to adjust. When it gets too cool, especially as sunlight is much less during the cold season , the plant is not actively growing, so you will find more issues at the root zone level as you are having now. Are you able to source out pumice in your area? That is one of the stuff I add in my succulent media here. Among other stuff I add too, perlite, kanuma, akadama, the last two not too common but to keep it simpler, use either more perlite or pumice.

Nice water bottle stake, hey we all do what we can innovatively think of Big Grin

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Sep 30, 2016 3:20 PM CST
I like it, too. It's all much bigger than I thought it was.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Sep 30, 2016 6:09 PM CST
Glad you guys like it haha. Yeah, the pot does seem big from what I've read. Too deep. I already have a pot that should be perfect for the baby aloe. I'm just not sure what size to get for the bigger one. Wider and more shallow, I guess. Ordered the soil I'm gonna use on Amazon already. I plan to repot next weekend. I'm actually not home this weekend--dog sitting for my mom while she's away.
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 3, 2016 8:38 PM CST
So, I'm having a little trouble figuring out what size pot to get for the larger aloe. I already have one in mine for the baby. You can see it's somewhat tall with the water bottles there. I know I need a smaller one but I Don't want to go too small. I was thinking an 8 inch pot, but I keep seeing reviews saying it was so small.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 3, 2016 9:07 PM CST
Do you know the current pot's size?

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