It’s a huge bummer when you see an aloe looking a little sad. If your aloe vera is turning brown and soft, then it may have some issues.
Did you know? Aloe vera is native to Africa! It’s considered a tropical plant, that is drought tolerant. Aloe is a succulent, and like many succulents, it has the ability to flower.
Aloe vera is typically easy to grow. This succulent won’t ask much from you, just make sure it has a good light source and excellent drainage, and you can enjoy the many benefits of aloe vera.
Aloe leaves turning brown can be caused by several conditions. Turning brown can be a sign of too much water or too little. It can also signify an issue with the soil, or temperature.
Why Is My Aloe Vera Turning Brown and Shriveling?
Watering too little can cause an aloe’s leaves to turn brown and pucker or shrivel. it’s very is a very hardy plant and is drought tolerant.
When there is very little moisture for an aloe vera plant, it begins to take the moisture it needs to survive by reallocating it from the leaves.
The movement of water is aided by the contracting of the radial walls. These walls can contract and expand back out after the water is replenished.
It’s a pretty handy survival technique if you ask me. The plant has a better chance at survival, but it may lose a few leaves in the process if it goes too long without water.
To fix this issue, make sure your aloe is in well-draining potting soil. If you think the soil is fine, give the plant some water. Make sure to water deeply. Allow the water to completely dry before watering again.
Water about once every 3 weeks. Allow the soil to dry 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings.
Every once in a while you may have a leaf that has dead brown tips on it’s leaves.
This can happen when the plant gets damaged, like if something bumps into it.
You can cut off that ugly brown piece. I use a strong pair of kitchen shears, and just cut it off as close to the healthy green as I can.
Why Is My Aloe Vera Turning Brown and Soft?
If your aloe vera is turning brown and soft (watery leaves), then it’s a sign that you’re watering it too much.
Funny story, my grandmother gave me my first aloe when I was in my early 20’s and I successfully killed it, by overwatering it, or as I like to call it LOVING IT TO DEATH!
In this case, either you’re giving the aloe way too much water, or perhaps the soil or container you’re using just isn’t helping to keep the moisture down.
Terra-cotta is a great material to use for potting aloe since it is a porous material that can help dry out the soil in between waterings. It’s also great because they usually have a drainage hole, which can help expel any extra moisture.
To fix this issue…Try repotting the aloe in a terra-cotta planter with a well-draining potting mix.
Water about once every 3 weeks. Allow the soil to dry 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. Try not to love it to death by giving it too much water!
Aloe Vera Turning White
Have you ever seen your aloe vera leaves turn white? Typically, the white starts at the base of the leaf and works it’s way out. When aloe vera leaves start turning white it means that it’s not getting enough light.
When aloe vera doesn’t get enough sunlight it tends to get leggy. That means that the stem is sticking way up out of the soil. Which can cause the aloe to become unstable. Then it can become top-heavy and may be prone to toppling over.
If your aloe is toppling over, it needs to be repotted.
- Remove the aloe from the pot, and break up the dirt around the roots, very gently.
- Add 1/3 of the soil back into the planter or pot. Then, place the aloe in the planter, while adding more soil around it.
- You want the bottom leaves to touch the surface of the soil.
- Leave a 3/4 inch headspace at the top of the planter, to give water the room to absorb, instead of pouring out of the rim and making a mess.
- Find a sunnier spot for the aloe, or place it outside under a covered porch for a week, where it can receive plenty of indirect sunlight. After that week, you can place it in direct sunlight if the temperatures are below 90ºF. If the temperatures are super high, keep it out of direct sunlight.
Soil issues can arise if you fertilize aloe. Sometimes salt can buildup in the soil which can burn roots and cause aloe vera leaves to brown.
When fertilizing aloe uses a fertilizer made specifically for succulents. Typically, fertilizer can be added about once per month. You don’t have to add fertilizer to aloe though. As long as you give it sunlight, and water as needed, it’s usually fine.
You can fix the salt buildup by changing the soil out, with a well-draining potting soil that succulents love.
Make sure you look at the roots, and check for root rot. Cut off any rotting roots, and replant.
After repotting aloe vera, don’t water it for about a week. Which will allow the roots to reestablish.
Optimal Temperature for Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe prefers temperatures between 55 to 85ºF. These plants are susceptible to sudden changes in temperature.
If you leave your aloe outside during a cold night, chances are it may suffer some foliage damage. Just as leaving it in direct sunlight in temps higher than 85ºF could cause browning or yellowing.
During the warmer months, aloe vera can be brought outside.
However, you must condition it to get used to the heat, and the brighter rays of the sun. Set it on a covered porch for about a week before placing it in direct sunlight.
During the winter, typically indoor plants should be watered less and kept away from the cold drafts like in the windowsills.
I keep some aloes in the window in the kitchen, but on cold nights I take them out so they don’t get too cold.
During the day make sure they are kept in a sunny window, where they can get the warmth and light they need to survive the winter.
Aloe Vera is resilient and very forgiving. You can rehabilitate a sick little aloe with only a little bit of effort.
When you get your aloe healthy and happy, it should start producing pups for you! Learn how to propagate aloe vera with some simple and easy to follow steps!
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