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Aloe Vera help please

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by Tonya on May 01, 2006 03:41 AM
My aloe plant is about 2 years old and has been in the same pot for about a year now, but has never stood up or sent out babies. I think I may be overwatering. Should I repot and try again. I do remember only having one really thick root when hubby repotted about a year ago. HELP!

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by margaret e. pell on May 01, 2006 08:38 AM
My guess is it wants more sun, a LOT more sun. They will just barely survive in a north facing window, so many people don't realize how much direct sun they want in order to flourish. Plant it in an unglazed clay pot in cactus soil and give it as much direct sun as you can. If it hasn't been getting much or any, remember to increase the hours gradually over a week to prevent sunburn. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. I just moved mine outside where it will spend the summer into fall (they can take a light frost) in direct southfacing sun.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 02, 2006 01:49 AM
Thanks! I never realized they needed so much sun...all I have ever had much luck at was Pothos. Should it have more smaller roots, or is it normal to only have one really large one?

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by margaret e. pell on May 03, 2006 06:27 PM
I just repotted mine yesterday and it had some big water-storing roots and some finer 'nutrient colecting' roots. Yours will grow what it wants when it's happy. These are very tollerant plants, if its not dead you don't have to worry over its roots. Sun, a quick draining soil with some water, a cooler, drier winter, and you can't get rid of the things! Relax and enjoy it!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 04, 2006 02:32 AM
Thanks! I put it outside for a while and slowly am increasing the sun to get it used to being there and am going to let it dry out a little before rewatering. Thanks, again!

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by Tonya on May 05, 2006 01:06 AM
I just noticed that a couple of the leaves are flat and one sounds hollow when i tap it...what is the deal with that???

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by Tonya on May 05, 2006 01:33 AM
I think I may have killed the poor thing. I just decided to repot and give it fasted draining soil and go from there. When I took it out of the pot, the big root has rotted from over watering. There is only about an inch left and it doesn't look too healthy. Can I still save it? I feel horrible!! [tears]

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by margaret e. pell on May 05, 2006 03:20 AM
Trim back to healthy tissue, both roots and leaves. Let it sit, unplanted, for 3-4 days, depending on your humidity. This allows it to heal off cut edges and minimize the chances of rotting when you replant it. It'll regrow roots, that's not a problem. Then plant it in a clay pot in fast draining soil. Don't plant it deeply, stake it up. I like to use chopsticks from Chinese restaurants for this. Water it lightly for the next month or so. It'll probebly work on rerooting first, so you may not notice any growth for many weeks, but you shouldn't notice more death. As long as the growth point is still healthy, you can save it.

P.S. The flat, hollow leaves are from lack of water! When a plant gets overwatered, the roots die first. When the roots are gone, it has no way of getting the water up to the leaves. That can be quite confusing when trying to treat it.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 05, 2006 04:11 AM
Thanks! I will keep you posted- I just hope it isn't too far gone.

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by margaret e. pell on May 07, 2006 02:21 AM
P.S. Most aloe 'suntan.' Don't be concerned, this is a healthy reaction to a good amount of sun. My A. Vera, which has been outside for about a week now is straw colored instead of green. This is not as pretty as the A. Cameronii which turns a dark maroon or the A. Tauri, which should get bright red all over. Here in the often cloudy north east mine only gets red edges on its leaves. Anyway, if your vera should start getting tanish, you're not doing anything wrong, it's just getting enough sun.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 07, 2006 11:33 AM
I did as you said and it almost looked like there were tiny little roots growing on the bottom of the big root. I have repotted this morning and will see. It does have more of a brownish tint to it right now...I am assuming it is from the sun and not a slow death creeping in. Thanks so much for the help! [muggs]

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by Tonya on May 12, 2006 03:56 AM
Here are a couple pics of my poor aloe... I SOOO hope it comes back!

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and a close up of more leaves starting to dry out...
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Will it take a while to start getting better?? [scaredy]

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by margaret e. pell on May 26, 2006 01:53 PM
It doesn't look as bad as you are afraid it does. Yes, plants often take weeks to show recovery, months to really look better, years to look like nothing happened. Sun and not too much water are the keys. They are native to the Canary Islands, just west of Morocco.
How's it doing now?

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Who wants to clean the house or shovel snow, anyway? I'd rather be playing with my kids!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 28, 2006 12:05 AM
It is doing great! I had to put in a different pot(again) because my dog knocked it over and I noticed a new sprout (root, I'm assuming [dunno] ) that was about a quarter inch long growing out of the side of the original root! [clappy] [clappy] Thank you so much for your help!! I also found some succulent/cactus soil that I didn't know I had and when I repotted, put it in that. I haven't lost any more growth and no more hollowing of the leaves. Thank you, Thank you, thank you! [kissies]

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by Tonya on May 28, 2006 12:11 AM
I didn't see the second part at first! I agree about the playing! I have a 6 year old and a 5 month old! We have lots of fun gardening together! [grin]

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by margaret e. pell on May 28, 2006 05:22 PM
Excellent, on both counts! Joy to you all!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Tonya on May 29, 2006 01:37 AM
check it out margaret!! new growth!!!!!!
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[clappy] [clappy] [kissies] THANKS! you helped me save the poor thing!

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by thomast77 on June 08, 2006 05:52 PM
If I wanted to make my own soil for Aloe Vera. Would I use a 50/50 mix of sand and Sphagnum?
by margaret e. pell on June 09, 2006 01:53 AM
Sphagnum holds too much water. I use 50/50 of a good quality organic potting soil and drainage material. For drainage material I use mixed coarse sand (yes, I sit outside and sift sand with the kitchen strainer - you don't want the fine stuff, it holds water like sand castles at the beach), grit, pebbles, aquarium gravel, lava rock, whatever I have. I don't like perlite because it always floats to the surface eventually and discolors.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by thomast77 on June 09, 2006 09:26 AM
Thanks for the reply Margaret [Smile]

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