I bought a Aloe Vera in a shop a year ago and I just use the pot that came with it, so obviously I don't know what is in the soil and their components.

Yesterday I felt that I should transplant the aloe because the plastic pot is broken and the soil should be aerated. So I took out the aloe and quickly found that the soil are mostly clay, stone and soil. The clay are so dry that they look like stone. This kind of soil is bad and I want to completely change the soil, however, the aloe has its roots holding on the soil.

Can we remove all of the soil from the root? If I remove the soil, the root cannot hold on the new soil immediately because the contact of the root with the new soil is no better than the case that the root hold on the soil by itself like a web.

Do you have experience of such transplant and come with no harm to the plant? If the root cannot hold on the soil, the plant will topple.

2 Answers 2


In my experiences with all varieties of aloe the one thing that they all have in common is there resilience. In the past couple of months I had been moving all of my plants to another location. One of the pots with aloe had broke and the plant was laying on the ground bare rooted. I have so many plants that I just left it where it was on the ground. Two months later I came across it still in the same spot and it is just as alive as when it was in the pot. My advice to you is to just repot in any soil medium and do not even worry, because it will survive.enter image description here

  • It may survive with bad treatment, but it won't thrive. So, if you want a half-dead, sickly plant that doesn't grow much....
    – Tim Nevins
    Jul 18, 2019 at 15:43

In my experience, roots of any plant rarely hang on to the entire soil bundle during transplanting. If it does, the plant is usually root-bound, so I try to break up the edges a bit, to encourage the roots to grow out.

Then when you put the plant in the new hole, then yes the roots are going to get bent in on themselves and damaged. If the roots had a poor hold on the soil, then the soil will drop away, and the root damage and bending will be even more extreme. So what I am getting at, is that transplanting will almost always result in some root damage - sometimes quite a bit.

Lightly compacting the soil (.eg. with hands) after transplanting followed by a good water helps to get the new soil to be in-contact with the roots.

When we've transplanted aloe, they seem to be pretty tolerant of this kind of thing. Our biggest problem is as the leaves grow out and cover any soil space between the plant and the pot. This makes it virtually impossible to top-up the pot as the soil/compost settles.

  • 1
    There is a thing called a "dibbler" that can be used to ensure the potting media is consistently compacted in the root zone. I just use a 3/8" dowel cut to about 8". It doesn't pack the soil, but it makes sure there aren't any (many) voids in the soil.
    – Tim Nevins
    Jul 18, 2019 at 15:48

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