Aloe Vera Replant Problem with Pictures (sorry about first post)

gankakuMay 8, 2010

I have a huge aloe vera, which I'd been keeping in a square pot with a rounded rim. It had 3 babies this year. Spring came and I thought it'd be a good time to separate the babies and repot the large aloe vera, since the weight of it was tilting it and I'm always afraid the plant is going to fall over.

I'd been planting other flowers and such and this might be my mistake - I planted the babies in the peat moss+tiny bit of lime mixture soil I had. Also when I repotted the adult plant, I used some of this mixture, as well as putting the plant into a regular round pot.

My problems are:

* The adult plants lower spikes leaning against the pot are not looking good - does it not like laying against the sharper rim?

* Both adult and babies look terrible! What were healthy plants two weeks ago look awful. The babies are all wilty and discolored. The adult plant is losing a lot of the hardness in its spikes - even the big ones. I'm afraid I'm going to lose it if I don't fix it soon.

The adult plant is still inside but the babies are outside in the morning sun.

Here are some pictures so you can see my problems:

Here's the adult. The inside looks ok right now...

But when I let go of the spike, there's no lift. It wilts and droops. Before replanting, it was nice and firm and all spikes stood out and up strongly (btw the tilt is just because it's so heavy; I've not been able to get it to sit centered...it seems to like to tilt to one side):

The babies:

On closer look you can see that each one has had die-back of the entire spike.

This one has what looks like a strong spike but when you gently squeeze it, it's not firm - you can tell it's starting to go soft.

I have the babies in the shade outside (they're getting a bit of morning sun). I just put the adult outside today. The soil is somewhat moist. Maybe I watered it too much after I repotted; I usually don't give too much water because they do better on the drier side.

If you suspect it's my soil and I'd better do something now, is it safe to repot with just some of our outside ground soil? We have a bunch of topsoil here (we're digging a project) and our soil is on the acidic side. Or should I just wait on it, does the adult look ok enough to wait longer?

I'm afraid to touch the babies (repot) because there's not much left to them.

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bunnygurl(Z3)

The babies look pretty much totally rotted to me. The soil looks and sounds wrong, and the pots look WAY too huge.

As far as the adult goes, same thing about the soil, and I don't think your topsoil will be much better. They need something with immaculate drainage.

There are other people on here who are much more knowledgable than I am about these plants, so hopefully they'll chime in and help you out.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:49PM
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gankaku

OK thank you I'll wait until others respond.

The only other original soil I'd have used (earlier repotting) would have been Miracle Grow potting soil. This time it was different (all I had, like I said, was a peat moss mix).

I'm guessing too this is my soil but I'd really like to save the adult and will get whatever type of soil I need to do so. It's been such a lovely plant until now.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:19PM
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paracelsus

Bunnygirl is right on the mark. When transplanting any succulent, let the roots/cut stem dry in the air for a few days so that any small injuries harden to prevent fungal infection. Plant in dry soil and do not "water in". Soil should be at least 50% inorganic materials like pumice, perlite, gravel, etc. Do not use sand. Peat retains too much water and should be avoided like the plague! Commercial potting mixes (including those labeled Cactus and Succulent) have too much peat. My basic mix is about 75% pumice.

It looks like they are all are infected by fungus, and will certainly die without intervention. The translucent color is a very bad sign. Pull them up immediately and inspect the roots and lower stem. If they are falling apart, and the stem is dark and soft, the only cure is to cut the stem above the rot. This may not be possible for the pups, as I suspect the leaves will fall off the stem leaving nothing to grow, but the parent plant may still be salvageable. After transecting the stem above the rot, let it dry out in the air for three days or more to callous. Then place in DRY soil.

You may need to prop up the plant. Do not water until the plant has started to grow new roots, this will take some time (weeks). During this time, water in the lower leaves will be resorbed by the plant. This is natural. Succulents usually have sufficient water reserves to last for months without any water at all. When you see signs of new growth, start watering. Let the soil dry out completely between watering. There is no proper schedule, everything depends too much on your local conditions (heat/humidity/season/latitude/soil composition/etc). The basic rule is: If in Doubt, Don't! This axiom is true for any action, watering, transplanting, fertilizing, etc. Succulents thrive on neglect. The ideal cultural practice is called Benign Neglect.

In your case, there is no doubt that intervention is necessary to save your plants. For more aloe care advice, read the Aloe FAQ page here on the site. Good luck!

Brad

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 2:14PM
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paracelsus

You have posted photos that are too big for many monitors, stretching the page enough to require scrolling back and forth. 800 X 600 pixels is about as large as needed for web display. If you have several images, use thumbnail links to larger versions to allow faster page loading.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 2:19PM
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gankaku

Thank you for that information. I'll get started on your solution right away. Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:10PM
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norma_2006

After you repot a plant it takes time for it to recover. I would worry about the stock plant it will make new ones when it is healthy. They needs time to settle in just like we do when we move, or the kids change schools, give it a break to recover, if temps are below 55F then I would keep it protected. Some Aloe can take colder temps. then others it depends on the species, or if it is in a draft, it will need plenty of sun. Make sure it is watered thorougly when you do water. Put a chop stick down in the pot to measure moisture to see if is getting to where it should. Often I would water a plant, and it went down the sides and out the bottom, especially we are being careful not to rot it. Norma

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:40PM
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bestwicklesscandles

Great info, helpful for my plants

Here is a link that might be useful: BestWicklessCandles

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 11:20PM
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cactusmcharris

BWC,

You're a spammer, and you just registered - bad move.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 1:32AM
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