Cactus and Succulents forum: Leaves of aloe feel "hollow"

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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Nov 11, 2017 8:00 AM CST
I got an aloe (it looks like one to me, sorry if mistaken), cuttings from a neighbor. But the leaves feel "hollow" when squeezed, not the usual feel of a succulent leaf. Is this normal? They were many dried leaves under each rozette, which I removed. Is it worth it to hold on to these, or not? Thank you!

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In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Nov 11, 2017 12:20 PM CST

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Aloe leaves tend to curl up like that when they are dehydrated. It can be in response to heat or drought or some combination of the two. Usually it's pretty reversible but does provide some information about the state of the plant. Some aloes naturally do it a lot more than others.

In general the squeeze test you performed is pretty telling about how pumped up succulent leaves are. They can change in volume (fatter when well hydrated, thinner when water reserves are low) but they can't really change in area (the surface of the leaf is pretty solid), so the shape changes accordingly.

Cuttings tend to look worse and worse as time progresses and they have no way of rehydrating. That is part of the process and while it may be disheartening, it's not a big deal. Because as soon as they sprout roots and those roots have a chance to do their thing, it all reverses. Except the loss of lower leaves, of course.

Yes, remove the dead leaves under the rosette if they let go easily. How long is the naked stem down there?
Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
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Faridat
Nov 11, 2017 12:26 PM CST
Thank you for your answer @Baja_Costero! It might be dehydrated, indeed, my neighbor has left much of the garden unwatered in the summer due to his being away, and we had no serious rain even in fall still! The naked stem is about an inch I'd say. Should I cut it further? Also, I read that cuttings of succulents should be left out for one or two days before being potted, so I left it overnight. I hope I didn't do any further harm!
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Nov 11, 2017 12:41 PM CST

Moderator

That sounds like a good length. I like to wait a couple of days to a week with succulent cuttings before potting them up. The main thing is not to water the fresh cuttings until at least a week has passed. That gives the surface some time to heal before it is submerged in dirty water.

It's also usually helpful to start cuttings in a protected place where they will not be exposed to direct overhead sun. Give them as much indirect light as possible, maybe filtered light, but lots of direct sun will make them even weaker while they're rootless and vulnerable to water loss.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Nov 11, 2017 12:45 PM (+)]
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Greece (Zone 10b)
Houseplants Foliage Fan Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Aroids Bromeliad
Orchids Region: Europe Garden Art Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Faridat
Nov 11, 2017 12:57 PM CST
Thank you for your help @Baja_Costero! Much appreciated!
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to "those who take care of us."
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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