Reviving Your Aloe Vera

Here's a question about reviving your aloe vera plant when it seems to be destined for death, or leaves rotting off at base.

What to do if stems or leaves
are rotting off at base of plant?

Donna wrote: "After reading your site I feel really terrible with how my small Aloe plant has been treated. I want to save it from a terrible death and I hope it is not too late. It has been growing very nicely in a small pot which I knew I needed to change but hadn't yet. It had been growing upward really well until a couple of weeks ago it started shrinking. Then I noticed the stems at the base were rottening off. They are soft and muschy. I believe between my mom and myself we over watered it.

Can I save the long pieces that have now fallen off and what can I do for the muschy soft root?

Also, I had it in a fairly shaded spot between two windows that get little sunlight between trees around my house. Does an aloe need more sunlight? It seemed to love that spot for a long time until this happened.

My Answer: How to Revive Your Aloe Vera

It is so kind of you to write and share your situation with your aloe vera plant. Yes, I believe reviving your aloe vera plant is possible.

It sounds to me as if it is mainly a matter of over-watering. Aloe veras are all about life. They WANT to live and heal people. So they can stand a lot of mistreatment. Yes, I believe you can revive your aloe vera plant.

What I would do is put the pot and plant somewhere where it can dry out quickly over a few days. Perhaps out in the sun or in a breeze by a fan, or even in the kitchen near the stove. Then, when it is perking up again, put it back in its old favourite spot.

Although my aloe vera plants can tolerate quite a bit of direct sunlight in the winter time, they don't do so well in it in the summer when the sun get scorching hot. Then I sometimes move them out of the window to a more indirect lighted spot. - Of course, that strikes me a bit odd, since they grow like trees in Africa where it is much hotter. Maybe it's a matter of what they are conditioned to experience and cope with.

Generally I just water my plants once a week. Sometimes if I'm busy or away on a Saturday they have to go without for another week or two. They manage okay. The trick is to watch if the soil is still moist from last time. If it is, don't water yet. Wait until it looks dried out on the surface. This will help the most in reviving your aloe vera.

You may loose those leaves that got too wet and mushy at the bottom, though you could always quickly use up the gel in the upper parts of those leaves. No need to waste those parts. Scrap out the clean gel parts and toss it in the blender or mixer when you are making a smoothy or baking something.

If you ignore the plant for a few weeks, you'll be astonished at what leaves break forth out of the apparently dead stem, or even out of the soil around the root. It seems when aloe vera think they are dying they quickly sprout babies!

I hope this helps you and your mother out, and that your aloe vera is soon revived. :)