Ask a Question forum: urgent aloe rot!!

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Omaha, NE
Kimikokat
Jan 21, 2018 6:45 PM CST
THIS IS URGENT!!!
Is my aloe suffering from root rot??? One of the bottom leaves seem to have turned black and dried right off, and upon further inspection I found black spots under the leaves and on the stem. I dug a little to take a look at the roots and it's completely yellow!!! I'm kinda freaking out because I've had this aloe for about 2 years now and it's always been quite big and healthy. The stem going up and the leaves on the top have no problem at all, they are all plump and green. This plant is really special to me so I don't want to lose it. It's possible I've been a little too liberal with the watering, I'd just kind of give it a little drink once the soil dried but that could have been too much. It's winter and grey out right now and it's not getting sun, so maybe a combo of all that. I don't know what to do or if it's even rot.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 21, 2018 7:00 PM CST
Can you take a picture from farther back showing the whole plant and the pot it's in? What kind of light is your plant getting?

Winter is when succulents tend to succumb to rot. There is much less light this time of year and often much lower temperatures, both of which mean that water tends to stay in pots longer. You have to adjust how often you water accordingly. If the soil does not dry out at least most of the way on a regular basis, the chance of rot becomes much higher. Try to water less often during winter, especially if the light is low (the plant should "see" the sun for hours a day) and the temperatures are on the cool side (not warming up to near room temperature during the day).

If what you've got is rot, it seems to have affected the stem, which could mean the end of the plant. Maybe it's not such a serious thing. I don't know. As for urgent rescue, I don't think there's much to do at this point but allow the soil to dry out properly, provide strong light, and let the plant work through this.

The top of the soil dries out much faster than the soil at depth (which is what matters when you are trying to figure out how often to water). So you can't go by looking at the top layer, you have to get a sense through experience and maybe check every so often with a moisture meter, a chopstick, or your finger to see what's going on down there.

When in doubt during winter, especially in cold and dark conditions, wait to water. These plants are incredibly good at surviving drought. Come spring you will have more light and milder temps... that would probably be the best time to reassess the health of your plant.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Jan 21, 2018 7:03 PM CST
Are there a lot of black spots? Maybe you could post a few more pictures. (and maybe I should look at this on my computer rather than on my phone.)

You're correct that aloes don't need much water. Is the soil soaked? If so, you might want to repot it. Otherwise just let it dry out.

Hoping someone else will hop onto your post with more info.
Oh, good. I see that Baja posted before I did.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Jan 21, 2018 7:06 PM (+)]
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Omaha, NE
Kimikokat
Jan 21, 2018 7:26 PM CST
Here's some more pictures. The plant is by two windows which usually get lots of sun, but I've been keeping the blinds closed for privacy reasons lately. It gets pretty cold by the windows, I was dumb I should have moved everything. It's pretty tall like maybe 3 feet and there's a tall stem, it's kinda been growing upward, probably for sun it's not getting. Some of the other bottom leaves were a little spotty but it never caused a problem before so I ignored it, also probably dumb. It is in regular potting soil but I mixed in little rocks to give it drainage and there's lots of big rocks on the bottom so the water doesn't just pool in the soil, it also has drainage holes, hense the towel under it. I'm also adding a pic of the leaf that fell of if that's any help for diagnosing this, and the other leaf I noticed had a few spots
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
Jan 22, 2018 7:39 AM CST
To add what has already been suggested, I would remove the stones so the roots will have better air circulation and the soil wont stay as wet Smiling

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jan 22, 2018 4:48 PM CST
I understand your desire for privacy, but your Aloe does not. It needs lots of sun every day. Proper light makes all the difference. Make sure the soil gets good and dry between waterings.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Jan 23, 2018 9:57 AM CST
Info for you regarding root rot.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/r...
@Baha_Costero, is the soil toxic with rot now, or is it safe for @Kimikokat to just dry the plant without clean soil? Thank you for the expertise, as usual.

Laurie b
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 23, 2018 10:02 AM CST
Now is probably not a good time to replace the soil. Maybe in spring. If the plant recovers, it will not need that kind of intervention.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Jan 23, 2018 10:08 AM CST
Laurie - Root rot most commonly occurs when the roots are deprived of the oxygen they require. That happens when the soil stays too moist for too long or the soil lacks proper porosity. Essentially, the roots suffocate. In such instances, it is not a disease that infects the soil. There are certain fungal diseases that can also cause the roots to rot, but that is much less common outside the greenhouse.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Jan 23, 2018 12:03 PM CST
Thanks, Will. I was curious about that as well.
Name: Kristi
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pod
Jan 23, 2018 12:37 PM CST
In your first photo, there appears to be a bit of root showing in the photo at 7 o'clock. It appears to be healthy.

This looks fungal rather than the rot which I have dealt with in the past. I will also say it is not uncommon for Aloes to shed lower leaves. The base of the leaf that came off appears to be dried.

I also think the spots on the base of the plant will dry when exposed to air.

My instinct would be to remove this Aloe from the soil and let the plant dry and stay out of the container till I could assess whether this is spreading. I would treat the spots with a dusting of cinnamon.

Your aloe can survive along time with no moisture/soil. I kept one out for a full year and it is now doing well.

When I was comfortable with the rot not spreading and weather had warmed, I would repot in a soil suited for succulents and would not use the rocks in the bottom of the container.

Good luck with your pretty Aloe. Crossing Fingers!


Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
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HamiltonSquare
Jan 24, 2018 4:01 PM CST
Not relevant here but there is a plant in the third photo that I would like to know it's ID. The one with the rounded leaves? I tip my hat to you.
Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 24, 2018 4:20 PM CST
That's a Pilea Peperomioides, sometimes called Chinese Money Plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Omaha, NE
Kimikokat
Jan 24, 2018 4:20 PM CST
HamiltonSquare said:Not relevant here but there is a plant in the third photo that I would like to know it's ID. The one with the rounded leaves? I tip my hat to you.

I believe it's a Chinese money plant! I got it from a friend and I haven't been able to find them anywhere in our local nursery? So no idea where she got it, sorry!
Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
The WITWIT Badge Region: California Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Xeriscape Native Plants and Wildflowers Salvias
Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Bee Lover Hummingbirder Butterflies
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HamiltonSquare
Jan 24, 2018 5:19 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Very nice plant.
Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento California.

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