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Reviving aloe vera

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by Blaise on July 01, 2005 08:14 PM
Hi there, my friend recently gave me some of her aloe vera plants and none of them were too healthy to begin with (one was on the verge of death completely brown and yellow), so anyway I almost drowned it by watering it too much, but I soon learnt and it's now green again. Seeing my success with these, she gave me another aloe vera plant. She claims that it has not been watered for about a year. The entire bottom section of the plant has gone yellow and the leaves have all fallen off. The top of the plant is still green and I think will make it, however all the remaining leaves are completely flat (not suprising really considering the lack of water) and all curl inwards on themselves. I changed the soil it was in to fresh compost and watered it. That was two days ago and I don't plan to water it until next sunday (I have learnt about root rot it seems). So my question really, is, what can I possibly do to help it become healthy again and fill out the leaves so they are "fatter" and more succulent looking?

Thanks very much
Blaise xx

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by PAR_Gardener on July 02, 2005 10:40 PM

Welcome to the forum. It sounds like your past experience has you on the right track. Aloe is a succulent. It can survive on very little moisture. Too much water and you get root rot. That's why you don't water it too much.

I have one question.
I changed the soil it was in to fresh compost and watered it.
Did you mix any other potting soil in with the compost, or did you use the compost straight? My experience with compost is that it retains water really well, perhaps too well for succulents. I mix some compost (for fertilizer) with potting soil for cactus and succulents (fast draining) for my aloe. I usually water my aloe once a week or every other week, but you should really wait until the soil is dry before watering.

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Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by Blaise on July 03, 2005 05:03 AM
I just used straight compost, I know I'm meant to mix it, but there wasn't anything in the house unfortunately. But they are all on south facing windows and as it is very sunny atm they are completely dry after a week, so I don't think that is a problem.

One of the first Aloes I saved has recently had a "baby". I know this is relatively simple as aloes thrive on neglect, but I found it quite exciting anyhows!!

Blaise xxxx

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by GiraffeMSW on July 03, 2005 05:58 AM
I recently got some aloe from a friend and it too had been fairly neglected (or rather, allowed to grow wild with bull/carpenter ants nesting in the roots.)

It sends up 4 foot tall stalks of coral colored flowers! They are really pretty and I never knew that aloe even had flowers.

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The higher the point of view, the broader the horizon...said the giraffe.
by Will Creed on July 04, 2005 07:27 AM
Hi Blaise,

PAR is right about not using just compost. Compost does not have enough of the tiny air pockets in its structure to provide a source of oxygen to the roots. It may work OK for a while, but eventually the roots will suffocate from lack of oxygen. YOu can add 1 part perlite to 2 or 3 parts of compost for a better mix.

Some of the shriveled lower leaves may never recover because the tissue has been irreparably damaged from the long drought. If they have not recovered within a few weeks, then trim them off.
by newlife on July 04, 2005 07:43 AM
What would your suggestion be for an Aloe missing all of it's roots. It seemed ok and growing normal green color and I went to get into another pot and it had one little root sticking out of the bottom. I dipped it in some miracle grow rooting hormone and repotted it, I am planning to just leave it and ignore it for a while until it re establishes itself. Do you think there is any hope for it?
by Will Creed on July 04, 2005 07:56 AM

You are doing the right thing. Water it only after the soil is nearly dry. If the root is still viable then there is a good chance it will revive, but slowly. Good light will help the recovery process.
by Blaise on July 05, 2005 03:33 AM
Thanks Will, I'll do that soon as I let some of the roots establish themselves!

I knew some aloe's flowered, Giraffe, but not many of mine seem to have done so, well done.

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by hinda on July 06, 2005 01:20 AM
i am also inteerested in planting aloe. i have a friend who is wiiling to give me a cutting but we arent sure what kind of cutting i need in order to grow a new plant. a leaf or more than that? and if i get a leaf should i root it in water?!! or just starigh into dirt. i have found with other cuttings hat if i keep them in thehouse for a while til they are establshed they fare better than thte ones i plant outside ....thanks for your help.
i think that succulents are great - you can neglect them and they grow anywayand if you give them a little TLC they thrive!
by tkhooper on July 06, 2005 05:37 AM
hinda I think you have to wait for a baby aloe to grow on the parent. I don't think you can take a cutting but I could be wrong. So hopefully Will will come back and answer that for us.

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by Will Creed on July 06, 2005 07:20 AM
TK is right. It is best to use baby plants or offsets that have some root attached. Cuttings must heal over night before they are inserted in damp perlite (no soil) to root.
by Blaise on July 07, 2005 05:14 AM
Hey, here are some of the newly recovered aloes from my friends...

This was all brown and limp when i brought it home

This is the most recent one she's given me...I'm not sure what to do with it...just seems a bit poorly really.

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