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Aloe Plant Information

Frequently Asked Questions

If you need information about the aloe vera, you may find answers here.

* I need instructions on caring for aloe plants, propagation, how to transplant aloes, or other general aloe care info.

* How often should I water my aloe?

You should only water the aloe plant when the soil is completely dry. Young plants are particularly sensitive to overwatering. Thay will surve draught by storing water in the leaves. Best advice: if in doubt as to whether it needs water, it's best to wait.

* How do you know when to split the plant or replant it into a larger pot, when should an aloe be repotted to a larger pot?

Plants may be transplanted at intervals between 6 mos. and 2 yrs.
It is beneficial to the mother to have the new ones taken off to lessen the crowding and competition. When you see the new plants, let them get about 4-5" tall, with at least three good leaves. Take the entire plant out of the pot, lay on newspaper and gently separate the little ones from the mother, getting some roots with each plant, more for the original.
I find it helpful to separate when the plant is on the dry side, as they break apart so easily and do not tear the roots in the process.

* My plant has become limp, the leaves are mushy, or turned black.

These are signs of overwatering. Chances of recovery are slim. You may remove all the blackened areas, including roots, at put the plant back into dry soil. It might reroot itself after it adjusts.

* My aloe plant has changed color, turning tan, pink or brown.

Color changes as described here usually indicates too much direct sunlight. Aloes prefer bright, indirect lighting. Aloe vera is also happy in a pot on a windowsill.

* Can I start new plants by using leaf cuttings?

I only get new plants from ofsets or 'pups'. However I have been told the following method works:
Peel off the leaves at the base of an adult plant
Plant them in a small plastic bag with rich soil and water everyday After the rainy season when the soil is still moist transplant the leaves into sandy soil
Water them a little to make sure they do not dry out
Once the Aloe has taken root do not water or fertilize the plant.

Rooting aloes-A tutorial

Often, I come across aloes which need to be rooted. That is, they have no roots and need to regrow them. Wether they rotted from poor drainage, developed root rot or were obtained as cuttings, an aloe needs roots to survive.

Some species of aloe are much easier to reroot than others. I have aloe cuttings I am rooting now to no avail. They just will not grow roots, period. Others, such as aloe vera, can be rooted quite easily if a few steps are followed.

1) Remove all soft, mushy roots from the stem. Dry, hollow roots should also be removed.

2) If the stem (if any) is soft, it must be cut back toward the base of the aloe until there is good healthy tissue. Diseased, damaged tissue is black. Healthy tissue is white. If there is any indication of black tissue in the stem, you must cut the stem further until only healthy, whitish tissue remains.

3) Cuts should be made with clean, sharp garden shears or pruners. A clean, straight cut is a good cut. A jagged, angled, sloppy cut may hamper the rerooting process.

4) Once the cutting is completed, allow approximately a week for the cut to callous over. This is also called ‘hardening off’. It is important to understand the concept the aloe needs to seal whatever cuts it endures. Placing the aloe into soil too soon will leave it vulnerable for root rot to return. The aloe will be fine while hardening off. Note: while waiting for hardening off, aloe should be placed in shade, not in direct sun. You do not want to put it through too much stress at once.

5) Once aloe has hardened off, it may be placed in a pot with well draining soil. Resist the temptation to immediately water it. The plant has enough water reserved to sustain it. After a week, the aloe may be watered, but only enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Once again, aloe should be in shade, out of direct sunlight. Small rocks or other items may be needed to hold the plant upright in the pot as it attempts to root.

6) Patience. Understand depending on the season, it may be two weeks (summer) or not at all (winter) before baby roots appear. Resist the temptation to overwater the aloe at this point.

7) Timing. Whichever season it is will dictate how often you water. If it is summer, you will need to water roughly once a week. If it is winter, not nearly as often, if at all, especially if it is cold. Use your discretion when watering, but take into account the weather.

8 - How to know if there are new roots? New growth and offsets are a guarantee your aloe has new roots. Absent those indicators, I use the touch method.

As stated in #5, rocks maybe needed to stabilize the aloe while rooting. A gentle wiggle of the plant will let you know wether or not there is anything holding it in the soil. If a plant feels loose, ready to fall over, probably no roots. If it is stable and you feel resistance, roots have begun to anchor it in the soil. I have even had a few instances where roots have grown through the drain hole before I knew there were roots.

9) Once an aloe has roots, the battle is over. Victory can be declared. The plant can absorb water and nutrients from the soil and have a normal life once again. However, too much watering and/or poor draining soil and the plant could be in danger again…….

* Pruning Aloes

Root pruning:
You can cut that long root off and discard it. Healthy aloes easily take to transplanting in this manner and the plant won't be harmed. Takes several weeks but the new root system will make it more stable. Careful not to water much during the adjustment period.
 
Leaf pruning:
you can remove 1 or several leaves and the aloe will hardly notice it.

* My aloe plant has fallen, been knocked over, or otherwise gotten dammage.

Aloes are hardy and can survive rough treatment. Simple replant it as if it was normal a repotting or transplanting. It may droop or loose leaves. It may take several weeks to recover, but as long as it stays green it is still living. Aloes will go into a dormant phase in times of stress, so watering should be kept to a minimum.

* How do I use aloe vera medicinally?

Use leaves that are at least 2 to 3 years old, just remove a lower leaf from the plant, slice it open, and apply the gel on the affected area.
Use on minor cuts and burns, sunburns, rashes, and to help heal scars.

* Do all the Aloe plants have the same healing properties?

Aloe Vera is the species with the most recognized healing qualities.

* How long will it take to recieve my aloe plant?

It takes 3 to 4 days, usually.

* Can I get a free aloe plant if I live outside the United States?

Import/export restrictions on shipping live plants limits availability to US residents only. I just called up the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), and asked them about what one can do. I was informed that one may take up to 50 houseplants (and aloe classifies as one) across the border when travelling, but one must accompany them. As far as shipping goes, one must get a USDA (US dept. of Agriculture) Phytosanitary certificate (certifies that the plant is safe, and bug free.. etc. all the legal jargon). Through continued searching, I found that the minimum one can spend on a Phytosanitary certificate is $19.92 (US), So..., I am going to continue my search to find an aloe plant within Toronto, and hopefully one within Canada. Thanks for your time nonetheless, and I just thought I'd tell you this in case any future customers from Canada come around.

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navid=SEARCH&mode=simple&q=phytosanitary+certificate 

http://www.ams.usda.gov/tmd2/IPWheat/graininspection.htm 

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