Aloe Vera Problem

scarlett6(8Dallas)May 16, 2013

I have an Aloe Vera in a huge pot and it recently fell over. It is close to shoulder high. I think this was planted wrong to start with, because the bulk of the top and pretty part does not sit down close to the soil and grow in a pretty shape. There is about a 6 inch stalk.

Please don't faint here, but we did not know what we were doing when we planted it. It was already a fairly good size and so tried to stabilize it with bricks in the soil for support. It looks like there are only a few roots, mainly one big one and it has never given us any babies.

This plant is so heavy that 3 of us could not even pick it up. How can I fix this, so it is pretty, planted correctly and manageable? The one long root means it will not really fit back down into the pot. The stalk is about 6 inches with the remainder upper growth aloe vera, but growing haphazardly. I am in the Dallas area, so it cannot be planted outside due to frost.

I love the plant and hope it is salvageable. It was given to me, while on vacation, by a very nice man from his curbside garden in South Texas.

Thank you,
Cathie

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cactusmcharris

Hi Cathie,

You can do it, we can help.

First, read the FAQ linked below - you'll find helpful information which you'll use. Second, get us a picture of what we're working with - it will tell me to a 'T' what advice I'd give, in collusion with your description above.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aloe FAQ

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:53PM
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scarlett6(8Dallas)

Sorry for the delay in pictures-had trouble with upload.

Thanks for the help,

Cathie

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:18PM
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scarlett6(8Dallas)

Picture number 2.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:20PM
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cactusmcharris

Overall it's healthy, but I'd get it out of that soil and pot it in cactus potting mix and perlite / 50% each. Pot it a little deeper than what you have it in and it should be fine (and may flower for you this year).

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:48AM
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scarlett6(8Dallas)

This is a gigantic pot. I don't think we can even pick it up now that it has new soil. If you can make out the stalk that is slightly visible in the second picture, that goes nearly all of the way to the bottom of the pot. So should I cut part of the stalk off before repotting with the right soil?

Thanks,
Cathie

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:14AM
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cactusmcharris

Cathie,

Yes, it is a gigantic pot. There are things you can do to lighten the whole arrangement while still making your aesthetic point.

Let's start from the beginning - scoop out a lot of the soil, then gently turn it on its side so that the plant has the least amount of contact with the deck, and gently pull out. Take a picture of what you have and we'll proceed from there. I have a picture in my mind of what you have, but like Kim Il Sung, his son and grandson, I want to give perfect on-the-spot guidance and counseling for your particular Aloe. It's likely not a big deal, but (1) I think you have it overpotted (but there are ways around that while still using your current pot) and it's in not-good soil. That's in addition to the stem issue. While I am trying to make more work for you, the end result will be a cup of lovely when we're done. As to the goal, I can show you what I'm hoping for a second year - this. I'm pretty sure your plant (if it's the real Aloe vera, but even if it is the poser) is ready to do this this summer.

This post was edited by cactusmcharris on Mon, May 20, 13 at 11:26

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:22AM
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scarlett6(8Dallas)

This is going to take some doing. I may have to wait until Saturday or Sunday, when hubby is here to help. The only way we were able to pot this in the new soil was to have a 3rd set of hands that held the aloe vera continually while 2 of us filled the pot with soil...

What should I get to lighten its weight? And will it be OK to cut off some of the stalk underneath close to the bottom?

Thanks,
Cathie

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:31AM
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cactusmcharris

The primary thing is to cut the weight of the soil - you should get rid of half the soil and replace it with perlite / gravel / poultry grit / Turface / pumice / any other drainage-inducing material. That's going to save some weight there. Another weight-saving gesture would be to not fill it so full. With that plant and that pot, you can make some adjustments in your potting that will be pretty and not so heavy, all the while serving the needs of the plant. I can't tell you for sure about the stem until I see it. I know what you mean about a second set of hands. Stop watering it and keep it as warm as you can until you can get it out of that soil and get a pic of the root / stem situation. Chances are, yes, you can cut the stem, if you want / need to, but maybe you don't.

This post was edited by cactusmcharris on Mon, May 20, 13 at 11:55

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:50AM
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scarlett6(8Dallas)

Well, it is now repotted in much better soil, as you suggested. It must have liked what little cutting I had done to it a week or so ago, because when my husband took it out of the pot, I noticed it had a couple of babies coming off of it, which was a first. He also trimmed the stem, because it was the only way it would go back into the pot. I hope it will be OK and flower as yours has.

Thank you

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:16AM
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