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Avatar for gian
May 15, 2020 6:26 AM CST
Thread OP
Dear all,
I always used the forum as a source of good information but this is my first post as I have a problem with a small plant of aloe that I received from a friend.

I got the plant about 2 weeks ago and it had no roots. After letting it dry for a day, I put it in a small pot with soil for succulents and I watered it. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this stage.

After 5-6 days the aloe fell as the soil dried up. I noted that it grew two small roots, which seemed healthy. At this stage the leaves were still green and pointing upwards. I took a picture (1st image below) and put it back in the soil and added some water as the soil seemed very dry.

Today the plant looks miserable. Most of the leaves are getting thinner, brown and floppy - except for the central ones which still have a bright green color and are quite thick. There is also a new leave extending from the very center, and it grows by the day. As you can see from the picture, I had to put some straws in the soil to avoid that the plant tips over. There is also a pup, which is growing a small root, but it looks worse than its sibling.

As of today the plant has not been watered for 5-6 days. It sits behind a window (to south-west) but it has been quite cloudy in the last few days so I also used a grow light (red-blue LED). I am not sure what to do now. I would be tempted to check the roots, but don't want to put it again through the stress of getting out of the soil and repotted.

Any suggestion would be very welcome! Many thanks in advance!

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May 15, 2020 9:19 AM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2
It's pretty much normal for an aloe to look miserable after it has spent some time without (much) roots. But I am optimistic that your plant will make a good recovery based on the new roots in the picture. Don't take the plant out of the pot to check on them, just leave it alone and water when the soil has gone dry at depth. I would think natural light is sufficient in that location (even if it's been cloudy outside) given the state of things. Artificial lights may actually stress it out and cause more harm than help at this point. As those roots grow out you should see a change on top: the leaves will be greener and more inflated, and there may be some new growth.

Avatar for gian
May 15, 2020 9:40 AM CST
Thread OP
Many thanks Baja_Costero! Now I have some hope Smiling
Avatar for gian
Aug 10, 2022 2:38 AM CST
Thread OP
Dear all,
I would like to give you an update on my aloe. Unfortunately in the last two years the situation got much worse and the aloe was almost dying completely. Then I understood that the problem might be dirt that stuck around the roots and prevented water absorption. So I carefully removed the dirt and since 3 months the aloe sits in water. It came back completely to life!!

Now it's growing fast, but I noted an issue. From the same stem, there are at least 3 different plants growing and interfering with each other. They are not pups growing on the side, but the are growing inside the original outer leaves along with the new leaves. It seems a bit busy there (see pictures). Is this an issue? What shall I do?
Many thanks in advance!!

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Aug 10, 2022 4:36 AM CST
Name: Andrea Reagan
Astatula, Florida (Zone 9a)
I collect seeds
Bee Lover
Do you mean you are growing this Aloe in water? That is a first one for me. And I think the pups are growing out of the leaves because there is no soil. Your plant looks good. Plants, sometimes, try anything to survive.
Avatar for gian
Aug 10, 2022 5:04 AM CST
Thread OP
Thanks for your reply Kevalsha. Exactly, in plain tap water Smiling Since I moved it into water 3 months ago, it changed from near-dead to almost-flourishing Smiling I had some issues with algae at a certain point, which I solved by adding hydrogen peroxide for few days.

As you can see from the picture below, all roots go back to the same stem. So not sure how to separate the pups - or do I need to separate them at all? I am a bit scared that it will get a bit too cramped in there. There are three main plants but also some tiny pups that have not developed well..
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Aug 10, 2022 8:31 AM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Get the aloe back into soil... I don't think water is a viable long term way to keep it going. It's great that it has so many roots now, and they should do their job just fine in soil from here on out.
Aug 10, 2022 10:54 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Frogs and Toads Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds
I don't think you have to separate the pups.
I think the water works because the surface area of the water allows good gas exchange. If it works, it works Thumbs up
Plant it and they will come.
Aug 10, 2022 1:18 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL @--`--,----- 🌹 (Zone 8b)
Region: United States of America Houseplants Overwinters Tender Plants Indoors Garden Sages Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Level 2
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I believe it would work if only the roots were touching the water.

But the plant in the last pic looks like the core of the plant was soaking. The brown part below looks dead. I would cut that off, leaving the 1 root that looks attached to the green part, and try to save if possible but the rot may be up inside the green part by now. Let it dry well either way, if you want to put it in a pot or back in the water. I do a lot of weird water experiments like this and once rot starts in the core, it's usually a lost cause. BUT if you can get roots doing well in water and past the risk of rot, some surprising things can be kept in just water for very long periods of time, years.
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