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Aloe Vera problems

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by Savahnna Rose on October 11, 2005 09:44 AM
As I stumbled onto this forum I learned there are many types of Aloes out there. I've only heard mine called an Aloe Vera though and shall be doing farther research into it. I've come across a problem with my plant though which is what has brought me here. My Aloe is quite large, some of the leaves reaching nearly two feet long. I haven't had this plant for that long really, about three months perhaps. I've had Aloes before though. I had the plant through the summer and it did very well outside. But I recently returned to college and as I only go home occassionally, had to take it with me. It had been doing ok, I've made sure to let the dirt dry between waterings, but recently the leaves near the bottom have been seemingly rotting off. The rest of it seems to be doing fine, but those few leaves. I was thinking this could possibly be root rot, but since it hasn't been watered that much, wasn't sure. Those same leaves also seem to be... becoming wet I guess is a way to put it. They are wet to the touch. Any ideas or answers with how to fix this? As I said, the plant is very large and being at college makes it a bit difficult. I'm not sure if it's getting enough light as my window faces a direction where it doesn't get direct sunlight. Ideas? Anything might help.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by margaret e. pell on October 11, 2005 09:47 PM
Yes, it sounds like some kind of rot you've got going. I can offer some suggestions for help, but as the plant will not survive with zero direct sunlight, and direct sunlight will help with the problem, you've got to work that out quickly. (I know, you're in college with a hell of a lot more to work on than this one plant!) Maybe a common area of the dorm? Stick a sign on it saying it's not a medicinal aloe and will give skin rashes [Wink] . Then don't water it for 4-6 weeks. If it's got almost 2 foot leaves, it must be in a fairly large pot (plastic? Put it in an unglazed ceramic after the drying off period if you can, lots of nurseries have pot sales in the winter months). Your 'not that much' and its 'not that much' may be different. I don't know what else to say. I think sun is your bigger problem. Good luck, with it and your studies!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by tkhooper on October 11, 2005 09:55 PM
I suppose you could try getting one of those full spectrum lights for it. It's an option if you can't get sunlight in there. You also might want to get cactus soil and pot it in that rather than the soil you have it in now. That soil is very fast draining. Also make sure that the pot you chose has plenty of drainage.

Also you aloe may be entering one of it's dormant periods where it will require almost no water at all for long periods. Before watering check that the soil is dry down to at least 2 inches into the soil.

Good luck with your plant and your studies.

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by Savahnna Rose on October 11, 2005 11:18 PM
The soil is dry, I checked just now to make sure. It is in a plastic pot though, and it seemed to be a pot that would allow for drainage. Still better to have an unglazed ceramic? It's also in cactus soil. I learned from the last aloe I had that the normal soil stayed too wet. (My last aloe did wonderful... but my cat thought it should dig in it.) Where could I find one of the full spectrum lights? It'd be impossible to place the plant in a common area without it being completely destroyed by 'students', considering they destroy everything here. So the light would probably be my only other option. The plant is by a window and is given as much light as it can get from there, but from what you say, I'd guess that's not enough. And is there any perticular amount of time this light should be on or off? And tkhooper, I was thinking it was possibly going dormant. During that time period, how much water should it get? As I said, the soil is dry for as deep as I could feel. Also, if you think a picture might help, I could possibly manage that. Not sure what good it would do. And not sure if it makes a difference, but aside from those leaves that have rotted, the others are still fleshy and firm.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Savahnna Rose on October 12, 2005 10:59 AM
Hmm... is it possible that this could be from underwatering instead of over?

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by tkhooper on October 13, 2005 01:27 AM
I got mine at target with a lamp I bought. But they have them at the Lowe's and Home Depot and places like that. Also I think some of the garden centers are starting to carry them.

I think if you underwater you get the sucked dry look rather than the wet look. But I'm new enough to gardening that I would verify that by putting aloe in the google for the garden helper and see what the fact sheets have to say. The creator of this site Mr. Bill is incredible knowledgeable and has many many factsheets on the site to help with questions of one type and another.

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by Savahnna Rose on October 13, 2005 03:01 AM
I'll take a look. And thank you all for your help. Hopefully soon I can let you know how it goes.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Savahnna Rose on October 17, 2005 05:07 PM
Ok... update. It's now getting that 'sucked dry' look in some leaves... leaves that had been perfectly healthy. As far as I can tell there's no new rotting, and I dropped in an got a light that I turn on daily. I've felt the dirt and it seems dry as far down as I can feel(as far as my fingers will go as I don't have stretch armstrong fingers =P). Should I try giving it a bit of water?

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by tkhooper on October 17, 2005 07:53 PM
give it a good drink and then expect to wait awhile before you have to water it again.

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by Savahnna Rose on November 02, 2005 12:54 PM
Hmm... Ok, well, the leaves still have that sucked dry look and some of the older, bottom leaves seem to be... drying up right near the base almost as thought it were shedding it's leaves. It's not like it's rotting for the dark place is very dry though. Suggestions now?

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by margaret e. pell on November 03, 2005 10:51 AM
IMHO If it's a true Aloe vera (A.barbadensis) it's going dormant for the winter. Don't try to make it look good now, just get it through. Good comes in March. Take off all dead leaves, water sparingly (ok, what does that mean? Mine, which is healthy, underpotted in an 8" pot, full of offsets, in very quickly draining soil, I will water once in Nov, Dec, Jan, maybe twice in Feb, definately twice in March, and see what happens then), and give it as much sun as you can. Always, as much sun as you can. Mostly, pay attention to your other plants and leave it alone. Aloe thrive on sun and neglect. Look where they come from! Good luck and happy Thanksgiving! MEP

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Savahnna Rose on November 03, 2005 04:37 PM
Margaret, is there any chance you can tell me if those 'sucked dry' leaves will regain their... filled look? Or are they likely to need removing come march? Oh, and as I said earlier, the sun doesn't hit my window well, but I've got a full spectrum light for it, set on a timer. Also, it seems to be getting some new leaves, so I wasn't sure if that would mean it was going dormant or the opposite.
Just so I can be sure it's what you're talking of.  -

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by margaret e. pell on November 04, 2005 08:17 PM
That's a beautiful plant! My guess is it needs more light. Could be the picture, but it looks like the new growth and the bottoms of the 'middle-aged' leaves are a lot paler than the old leaves. Full spectrum lights have to be very close to the plant to do any good. Mine, fluorescent tubes in one of those shop light fixtures, are 6-8 inches from the tops of the plants. My A. vera is in a big south window all winter, and yes, it puts out a new leaf every now and then. I just say, thank you, go back to sleep. It's impossible to give these plants too much sun. They just love sun.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!

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