Rebecca's problem, "My aloe vera plant flopped over - and had babies!"
Hello, and thank you for all your fantastic information!
I have an aloe vera that is behaving strangely, and I'm wondering if you could help me out. I wish I could attach a picture, but let's see if I can explain: the original mother aloe vera plant flopped over a few months ago.
I've been taking very good care of it though, and it's currently very healthy, but it started to sprout short roots, (about half a centimetre and brown), out of the point where it bent over. now it has a few babies. But I'd like to keep the mother plant too. Should I just cut it off below the short roots and try to plant it?
Thank you so much!
Rebecca, congratulations that your aloe vera plant flopped over - and had babies! You do have both a mother plant and her babies, or offsets.
Actually, from your description, I would say the plant is behaving quite normally. Aloe Vera plants exude health, so that even when they have a break or wound, out shoots a new plant. I would simply (but gently) tug the babies out once you see rootlets, keeping as much of a rootlet on each one as you can, and plant them in a new pot.
Then, feel free to cut off and use up the bent over stem. In time (and by now that has probably happened!) it will shoot up fresh leaves.
Just look at how this pail full of 26 aloe vera plants has some of them leaning over and appearing to grow outside of the pail!
I've found it quite hard to kill an aloe vera plant. No matter how much I neglect or abuse them, they WANT to live and will find a way. At my parents' house I had 75 containers full of aloe vera plants in the sunroom, which I thought of as a cold storage room in the winter, but they thrived and multiplied there. I saw many an aloe vera plant flopped over - often with babies too.
The only ones I've lost, however, were the ones that were in my front porch when severe frost hit the first fall in my wee little house. Then they hung all the leaves down and the gel disappeared and they were limp and empty, dark green sluggish stuff. I had to throw them in the garden as compost. After a few days they began to stink.
I've cut down other plants too, that seemed to be "goners" and even set them aside to wait until I had time to dispose of them, and then they came to life again. Not always with straight, attractive arrangements of their stems, but good juicy stems nevertheless.
If you want the leaves to point to a certain direction, just turn the pot to face the sun in that direction. The leaves always reach for the sun! If you like the plant to have a nice rosette arrangement of the leaves, keep turning the plant every time you water it. I often forget until I see that the leaves are all bending towards the light, tilting the plant.
I suspect that part of this aloe vera plant flopped over syndrome is because our house plants have too shallow a pot or container for the size of root that it takes to hold up a big healthy plant. What can the poor thing do if it has no strong leg to stand on? As soon as I transplant them into a bigger container, they grow bigger and taller. Makes sense?