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What's wrong with my aloe? It isn't in direct sunlight and I water it once a week, checking if the soil is dry and crumbly.

enter image description here

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  • And gotta add you can easily cut off the wimpy yellowed leaves and as for the bruised tip just use scissors and cut at a steep angle. It'll bleed a bit but no big deal...
    – stormy
    Aug 6, 2017 at 4:09

2 Answers 2

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I don't see the yellow you are seeing I guess, have you given it any fertilizer at all? How long ago?

You are watering way too often. In addition this pot seems to be too big for this plant. Too much wet soil for a succulent with shallow roots will definitely make an unhappy succulent. The second pot below bothers me...is the bottom of the aloe's pot sitting in water ever?

Cut your watering at least by half. Watering every 3 weeks is not uncommon. A bit more for plants in pots out of doors, less for plants in doors with no wind. Don't water unless that pot feels light when you pick it up. I'd go get a clay pot that is about the same size in diameter but only 4 to 6" deep. Use plain old sterilized potting soil. No sand, no compost no nothing. No rocks at the bottom below the soil and above the drain hole. Lift the bottom of the new pot up off the surface using pieces of tile or flat stones. You could also check out 'pot feet' to go with your clay pot. Eagle claws, lion's claws that are made to lift the bottom of the pot off any surface and look wonderful. Round pots take 3. square pots take 4. Do not soak your plant so much that water needs to drain out of the pot. Remember, those roots are very shallow, they will never grow deeper.

Most plants the rule is to water deeply and allow to dry before watering again. Some plants need a bit more moisture left in the soil but not cactus and succulents. They store their water in their leaves and in the 'wild' they get quick showers every once in a great great while that only wet the desert soil a few inches deep at most. Don't use a schedule with plants. The micro environment can change and your plant (I am not a nut job, okay) will tell you when it needs something. They, the plant scientists think they do this via chemistry and your plant will train YOU how to communicate between the two of you.

There are incredible recent documentaries on how plants communicate and sort of 'think'. Check out one or two. I must be well trained because I can walk into a home, or a doctor's office or the plant section of Fred Meyers and I will be drawn right to the plant that needs something.

Feel the weight of your plant and pot once you've transplanted it. Feel it when it is dry. The difference is obvious and this is the best way to know that a potted plant needs water.

Moisten the surface after transplanting and don't bury your plant any deeper than just the roots. Take a good look at those roots and if they aren't bright white and you see brown or mushy roots pull them off the root ball. Don't wash the roots just pull off the rotting roots and transplant. Firm the soil as you transplant. Take a picture of the roots to send to us. Try to keep the soil that is already in the root ball together with the roots and be gentle.

Leave a good inch of room from the rim of the pot to the surface of the soil. Again, no bark chips, no added sand, no compost...just potting soil out of the bag. Also, don't purchase any potting soil with water retentive 'gels' or 'sponges'. Make sure the soil does not have any fertilizer added as well. You want a basic extended release balanced fertilizer and I recommend Osmocote 14-14-14 extended release fertilizer beads. Use half the amount they recommend and once per year is enough. If you've already added fertilizer do not add any more until you've shared with us what the formula is, brand and the last time you fertilized. Just a bit too much will kill a plant. Too little is far better.

Also, get bottled distilled water that has no fluoride or chlorine added. Tap water shouldn't be drunk by us humans, seriously. Fluoride is a horribly toxic chemical that does nothing for teeth. Why they continue to do this is amazing! If you've got a friend with well water that isn't put through salted filters that would be best. As infrequently as this plant needs water I'd give it the best water possible.

I hope this helps!

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  • Are these pebbles used beneath the soil at the bottom of the pot or beneath the pot itself versus chunks of tile? Yeah, I should get a commission but it is the only one I recommend where it is hard to screw up. I hate the company (Ortho? Scott's) and this is the only product I'll even use...to recommend these fancy yet lovely organic fertilizers with all the different formulations is just too much. I use them but I also know about the pH, the plants and because the amounts are so small it requires more applications more fine tuning and they always put 'Plant Food' in big letters...funny!!
    – stormy
    Aug 6, 2017 at 3:47
  • I looked up cachepot which lucky for you is what I was thinking you meant for her double pot gig. I saw bits of yellowing which is normal, especially on an over watered aloe along with heavy 'leaves'. Why is it you don't do answers? You add so much good information always and you seem to be first to comment and it is usually right on the moola, too...that I've noticed. I hate answering when you already put the correct answer in a comment...grins! Have you been trying to ID the two seed questions?
    – stormy
    Aug 6, 2017 at 3:56
  • I got it, pnuts. I had to go look it up...you foreigners! I am being silly! Talk in the chat sometime to find out where it is you live!
    – stormy
    Aug 6, 2017 at 4:01
  • tse4.mm.bing.net/…
    – stormy
    Aug 6, 2017 at 4:05
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That is Aloe vera 'chinensis', I think. There are a few things going wrong there. Here is what a healthy plant looks like (mine, 2 gallon pot):

enter image description here

You're plant needs a restart. If it's still alive. I see the one leaf has darkened at the base (circled in the picture below). This can indicate crown rot and root rot.

enter image description here

Here's what to do:

  1. Determine if your aloe is alive. Remove it from the pot, remove the mix from the roots, and check it over. The plant base should be firm and white/green, with white and yellow roots. If the base is translucent and soft, and the roots brown, it's dead.

  2. If it's alive, separate the crowns, and clean the roots well. Remove the lowest leaves if they are dead/dying.

  3. Prepare new pots. Preferably one for each crown you want to keep. The pots should be small. Preferably smaller in diameter than the leaf span of the plant going in. Make sure there are ample drainage holes in the bases.

  4. Use a gritty mix. Aloes like minerals. Crushed pumice is great for mixing into aloe soil. You want to be able to pour water into it and have it run right through quickly.

  5. Plant the plants more shallowly than they are currently. You don't want soil between the leaves and the stem. Make sure the pot is nearly full.

  6. Water it if the mix is dry. From now on, water thoroughly, and allow to almost completely dry in between.

  7. Place in a warm, bright place. Find the brightest spot you can, and if available, ease the plant slowly over time into full sun. Moving from a dark place into full sun can cause sunburn, but low light causes weak growth from etiolation.

Once it's rooted in, it should quickly grow. The more outdoors it can get the better. It makes a huge difference in the overall vitality. Don't let it frost on the plants, and try not to let them in full sun of the temperatures are over 100 F. Only fertilize lightly if the plant is growing strongly but is showing signs of nutrient depravation. My plant, pictured above, has not ever been fertilized in the 10+ years I've had it.

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