The medicinal properties of aloe vera are well known. But to take advantage of those benefits, you have to break off a leaf and potentially damage the plant. Sometimes, the leaves can also break on their own. I wanted to learn how to save a broken aloe plant. So, I researched the topic. You can find what I learned below.
You can save a broken aloe plant by letting the broken leaf dry for a few days and burying the broken part a few centimeters in potting soil. Keep providing it water every day. This helps the plant develop roots and propagate into a new aloe plant.
One of the ways to prevent your aloe plant from breaking is to prune it so the plant is not top-heavy. You can use scissors or a pruner to do this. Check out the best pruners on Amazon.com.
How to Save a Broken Aloe Plant
Aloe vera plants are quite hardy and easy to grow. But, they’re not immune to damage. The leaves of this succulent
are prone to falling over and breaking off.
Unfortunately, the thick, gel-filled leaves will not grow back. The good news is that a broken leaf isn’t the end of the world.
Saving a Plant with a Broken Leaf
If one of the leaves on your plant snaps off, you don’t have to do much. These plants are good at self-healing.
The piece that’s still attached to the plant will quickly “dry out” and form a thin layer of skin. The same goes for the piece that’s broken off. The film-like layer will cover the moist sap and protect it from moisture loss.
If you’re worried about fungal or bacterial problems taking over at the fracture point, don’t fret. Aloe vera has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties to keep it protected.
Saving a Plant with a Broken Root
Aloe vera plants can sometimes experience root damage. This is a bit more serious than a broken leaf.
The roots of the aloe plant are relatively shallow. They spread horizontally to anchor the plant. But, they don’t go as deep as you might think.
The best way to save the plant from root damage is to provide the best care possible. You can transplant the aloe to a bigger pot if needed. This can help the plant develop stronger roots to avoid issues in the future.
Place the plant in indirect sunlight and water it deeply. Give the plant some time to recover. With good care, it should bounce back in no time.
How to Regrow a Broken Aloe Plant
The cool thing about aloe plants is that you can easily grow new ones from cuttings!
Remember how I said that leaves develop a layer of skin to protect the sap? Once that skin is fully formed, you can use it to propagate the plant.
Give the cut leaf a few days to develop a thick skin. In most cases, the fine layer will start forming in a few hours. However, it’s best to let the leaf dry for about three days before planting. This layer of callus will prevent the leaf from rotting in the soil as it grows.
Fill a pot with well-draining loam soil. You can also use specialty potting mixes or soils with perlite. Whatever you use, make sure the growing medium is loose. Your plant can’t grow new roots in compacted soil.
Place the cut leaf into the soil about three centimeters deep. Make sure you put the cut side down. This is where the new roots will start to form!
Water the plant thoroughly. Over the next month or two, keep the soil moist. It needs to be moist but not soaking. Place the pot near a south-facing window and keep an eye on your plant.
You might see the leaf shrivel up and shrink. This is a good sign! It means that roots are starting to develop from the leaf.
How to Prevent Aloe Plant From Falling Over
A healthy aloe vera plant is one that’s perky and strong. The leaves should be thick and filled with plenty of that beneficial gel.
Unfortunately, not all plants are going to have a perky disposition. Aloe plants are notorious for getting somewhat leggy, which causes them to topple over. They can also get weak and brittle. This often leads to unwanted drooping and breakage.
There are a few ways to prevent these plants from toppling over.
Oftentimes, aloe plants will continue growing to the point of becoming top-heavy. When this happens, you’ll need to prune the plant back.
Pruning usually involves removing the outer leaves. These plants grow from the center out. So, the outer leaves are the oldest. Removing them can benefit your plant without causing too much harm. It’s also a good idea to remove any discolored and dying leaves.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to gently cut off the leaves near the base. Make sure to sanitize the cutting tool first. This will help prevent the spread of pathogens.
As your aloe plant grows, it may develop pups! These are small growths that appear near the base of the plant.
Usually, pups aren’t a major problem. But if you have a large plant in a small container, they could cause crowding issues. This will ultimately weaken the parent plant, causing it to fall over.
Just grab the pups by the base and gently pull them from the larger plant. You can pop those offsets into another pot to develop a new plant!
Another reason why aloe plants fall over is a weak root system. While the roots are shallow, the plant still needs ample depth for stabilization.
In small and overly shallow pots, the roots just don’t have the strength to keep the plant upright.
Luckily, a simple transplant should solve that issue.
Carefully slide the entire plant out of the pot. Use your fingers to gently loosen the dirt around the root system. After preparing your new larger pot, add several inches of soil.
Then, place the aloe plant on top and fill around the base. Try to get the base of the plant as close to the lip of the pot as possible. This should provide ample space for the roots to grow down.
What Causes a Droopy Aloe Plant?
The previous tips can do a lot to stop your plant from falling over. However, your best bet would be to address droopiness at its source!
Aloe plants can become droopy and lopsided for several reasons. In most cases, it all comes down to the level of care the plant is receiving. Here are some common causes that you should address to improve the health of your plant.
Aloe vera plants need a lot of sun. They do best when they receive about six hours of sunlight every day. If your plant is not getting that, they will definitely start to droop.
Like many other plant species, aloe plants will get leggy in low-light conditions. It’s the plant’s attempt at getting more sun exposure.
That said, you should also avoid sustained sunlight. When the sun’s rays are hitting the plant directly for more than a few hours, you could experience some problems. Sustained sun exposure will dry out the plant, leading to a weaker structure.
Too much water could spell trouble, too.
There’s a fine line between providing too much water and not providing enough.
Not enough water will cause the plant to shrivel up. Meanwhile, overwatering leads to a mushy plant with very little strength.
Water the plant deeply and make sure that the soil drains well. Then, let the soil dry out an inch or two deep. This ensures that you’re not overwatering your plant.
Ideal growing temperatures for aloe vera are between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants do best when ambient temperatures are 60 to 75 degrees.
That’s a pretty generous range, which is why this plant is so hardy.
However, extreme cold or heat can cause a lot of damage. The leaves will change colors, dry out, and become weak.
Pests and Disease
Like any other plant, aloe is susceptible to pests and diseases.
Aphids and mites love these plants. Aloe plants have thick leaves filled with moisture. Insects will bite into the leaf and suck out all of the gel inside. This leaves the plant weak and prone to drooping.
Fungal problems can also take over. This is common with overwatered plants. Issues like aloe rust and root rot will impact the structural integrity of the plant.
Why Do Aloe Leaves Keep Breaking?
If your aloe leaves keep breaking off, there’s likely a care issue involved.
Aloe plants look tough, but they can be quite delicate without the right growth conditions. Most of the plant consists of the leaves. These plants are often stemless or have a very short base to support the blades.
When the leaves do not develop properly, you will encounter some of the problems we went over in the previous section. The plant will droop or become brittle. The leaf will then give in under the pressure of its own weight and snap right off.
A healthy aloe vera plant can fully support the leaves. The gel inside is about 98.5 percent moisture. However, the leaf consists of three separate layers that provide more than enough support.
The middle layer is a thick latex substance. Meanwhile, the outer layer is a rigid rind. The rind is about 15 to 20 cells thick, making it stronger than the leaves on most plants.
When the leaves start breaking off, it means that they are losing some of their structural integrity. This could be due to a lack of hydration or too much sun. When the dehydrates and can’t get water from the soil, it will use what’s inside the leaves.
Take a good look at your plant’s growing conditions. Resolve any problems that could be causing droopiness or overall weakness in your plants. Once the aloe returns to good health, the leaves should stop breaking off.
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.