Aloe Vera Help
I have a couple of Aloe Vera plant questions for you.
I'm REALLY new to gardening (I don't really know much other than what they tell me at the nursery on how to care for plants) but my roommate who tours often has left me in charge of her aloe vera plant.
At first, I noticed that it was growing 'out' and not 'up'. The babies (I *think* that's what they're called?) in the centre of the plant were numerous, but they didn't seem to be growing, they would just shoot up and then out. It sort of looked like a tarantula plant...all the leaves were sticking out sideways and drooping down, with the exception of the little babies in the centre.
I also noticed that the leaves were getting little brown spots on them, and after doing a bit of research I learned that this was most likely due to sun over-exposure, so I moved the plant to a different room.
NEXT, I noticed that the poor plant was drooping even MORE, and that the leaves were really cold. Stupid me - I had put it on a bookshelf next to our back door (I live in Winnipeg, where it was the coldest winter in Canada this past year), so after MORE research, I found that wrapping it in a warm towel and keeping the room heated would help. Which I did...and it seemed to.
THEN, disaster. My little neice was over one day and when I had my back turned, she 'played' with the plant (essentially, yanked out the centre babies). This left a huge gaping hole, and I panicked. I came online to this forum and asked for help, where I was essentially told not to pour water directly into the hole and hopefully it would sprout new leaves elsewhere in the pot. This didn't happen.
The guy seems to be trucking along...the hole is still there, but I *think* I see some growth in the centre.
Here are my questions (finally):
1) The 'inner most' leaf is drooping severely. I assume this is because there is no 'core' of the plant to hold it up anymore, as the inside was yanked out (poor thing). The base of the leaf is soft and brown, so I assume it's not getting the water/nutrients it needs. I'm scared to cut it...but I'm wondering if that would be the best thing for it? Less weight on the leaf, so maybe it could get the nutrients it needs a little easier and put less stress on the centre of the plant...?
2) I have not seen any new growth in the pot, but a friend mentioned to me it may be in the wrong soil. It is not in cacti sand or soil, but regular potting soil. That is what my roommate had it in, and it seemed to be doing fine before it came into my care (sigh). Should I put it in a different kind of soil? Or will that be too much trauma at this point?
3) The friend I mentioned above gave me clippings of her aloe vera plant (3 leaves) and told me to try re-planting it. She said to wait until the bottom of the leaves dried over, which they now have. Do I just re-plant one leaf in a new pot, or should I plant 2, or all 3?
I'm sorry for my ignorance and lack of plant knowledge! I can just picture some of you cacti-lovers out there cringing and groaning at what this poor plant is going through. I really want it to do well, and I would love for my 'new' leaves to grow well too, so ANY information you could give me would be very helpful!!!
Thank you so much!