Ask a Question forum: What should I watch for in newly propagated aloe vera pups?

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Name: CatDrk
California (Zone 9b)
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CatDrk
Dec 11, 2017 2:39 PM CST

[Last edited by CatDrk - Dec 20, 2017 1:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 11, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Hi Cat - I think you have made this more complicated than it needed to be. Aloe vera offsets usually root pretty easily.

It is best to take a little root with the offset you are propagating. There is no need to unpot the mother plant when doing this and no need to repot it unless it is utterly potbound.

The offsets can stay in the open air or not, although I would not air dry them for more than 24 hours. Then, they can be inserted in a very small pot filled with a porous potting mix, which should be primarily peat moss and perlite. Perlite does not compact as much as sand so it is preferable. Insert the offsets just deep enough that they stay upright and don't be afraid to tamp the soil around the base to hold them in place.

Once they are potted, it is best to water right away and move them to a warm, sunny location. Using small pots and a porous potting mix will allow the potting mix to dry out sufficiently within a few days to a week. Water only when the potting mix is barely damp. It may take quite a long time for the roots to establish themselves and even longer before you see much significant growth. Be patient and understand that as long as the offsets remain firm and green, they are ok.

Aloes are not particular about mineral salts so there is no need to use distilled water unless your tap water is unusually hard. In addition, they are non-seasonal so they can be propagated at any time.

I have never heard of using honey and I am hard pressed to think of a legit reason to do so.

All of that said, I don't think there is a reason for you to undo anything you have done. Just provide good light and proper watering going forward and they should be fine.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: CatDrk
California (Zone 9b)
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CatDrk
Dec 11, 2017 4:53 PM CST
Hi Will. Thank you for your tips!
[Last edited by CatDrk - Dec 12, 2017 1:38 PM (+)]
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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
Dec 11, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Any chance of a photo? Smiling

Some notes here... I typically unpot these plants to separate the pups because it's way easier to get them with some roots that way. And given some restraint in breaking up the root ball of the mother plant, I just pop her back in her pot right away. The pups can be potted up right away or left sitting in a warm, dry place for a day or two. The main thing, whatever you choose for the recovery phase, is not to water them in their new pots for a week or more. What you did sounds fine but maybe more work than necessary. Smiling

If they start out with zero roots, they will not be able to use the water in the soil, so try to allow the soil to dry out at depth between watering. They may take a bit longer than your mother plant might take to dry out, but that depends on the size and shape of the containers too. Try to match the container size to the size of the root ball or the plant, maybe allowing a bit of extra space for growth. And use a container that is wider than tall, with holes at the bottom.

You dealt with the instability issue like I would have done, with strategically placed rocks on top. By the time you forget about this issue, it will have resolved itself.

The mix you used sounds fine. Avoid fine sand, like beach sand, and stick to the bigger, grittier kind like what's used in construction. When in doubt pass it through a window screen and reject the fines. You can also use perlite, pumice, or lava rock, all sorts of different material. If your cactus mix already comes with a good amount of rock in it, skip the extra. Avoid moisture-retentive soils specially designed to hold onto water, with gel or whatever in them. I would recommend avoiding peat if you can find some cocofiber or composted bark, just because it tends to be extra difficult to rewet after it dries out. But the bagged mixes should be fine.

Water everybody well when the soil is going dry at depth, which depends on the humidity and the exposure, but in the temperature-controlled setting you are describing that might take a week or two weeks. There is no need for special distilled water unless you have some extremely salty tap water. The watering interval will be longer in a regular plastic pot than an unglazed clay one, because the water can evaporate from the soil through the sides as well as the top in a clay pot.

The main issue this time of year (in the northern hemisphere) is the low light. Days are shorter and the sun rises to a lower angle in the sky each day. Indoor aloes need a lot of light so try to position the pots right in front of your sunniest window.

I have never heard of honey being used to heal roots and would advise avoiding it in the future because of the potential to bring on ants and other creatures that feed on sugar.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 11, 2017 5:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Dec 11, 2017 6:26 PM CST
I Agree with Baja! Mine is potted in Playground sand outdoors and has done well for 20 years in the same pot. Over watering and lack of sun are the only problems I can think of with them.
Name: CatDrk
California (Zone 9b)
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CatDrk
Dec 12, 2017 7:58 AM CST
Thank you everyone for your helpful tips.



[Last edited by CatDrk - Dec 14, 2017 10:10 AM (+)]
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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
Dec 12, 2017 11:20 AM CST
Looks good! The mother plant may need a bigger pot in the near future (spring or summer?). Maybe reduce the amount of rocks you have piled on top of the soil so that they don't interfere with evaporation, which is the only way those smaller pots will lose moisture until the baby roots are functioning. Just a couple holding up the unstable plants should be sufficient. I like to lay down some rocks on top of the soil when I pot up succulents, but I use lava rock or pumice in a relatively thin layer of fine gravel so the water can percolate through without interference.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 12, 2017 11:37 AM (+)]
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Name: CatDrk
California (Zone 9b)
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CatDrk
Dec 12, 2017 1:37 PM CST
UPDATE: I took your advice and removed some of the rocks to help allow the soil to dry out faster. It's been a little over two weeks and one of the pups is almost standing straight on its own. The other one seems to be doing good but still needs support rocks at the base. I would have waited to propagate (or is it cultivate?) until the spring but the mother Aloe Vera cracked her clay pot. I came home and there was a big split down the side and soil was leaking out. I agree that the mature aloe will need a bigger pot next year.

Thumb of 2017-12-14/CatDrk/754a03

Thumb of 2017-12-14/CatDrk/cb3fbb

[Last edited by CatDrk - Dec 14, 2017 10:43 AM (+)]
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Name: CatDrk
California (Zone 9b)
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CatDrk
Dec 12, 2017 1:39 PM CST
Thank you to everyone that responded!
[Last edited by CatDrk - Dec 14, 2017 10:50 AM (+)]
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