Aloe is a very popular succulent, with medicinal qualities too. It has several uses, including taking the sap to treat burns. It’s also an easy plant to look after and divide. Learning how to propagate aloe is relatively simple, but there are some things we want to avoid. So, how do you propagate an aloe plant?
- Identify viable pups and carefully separate them from the plant.
- Plant them independently.
- Let them rest. After a few weeks, a ‘soak and dry’ approach is best to water them.
Alternatively, you can propagate an Aloe plant using cuttings by following these steps:
- Simply cut at the base with a knife.
- Leave the cutting to dry for a couple of weeks.
- Prepare the soil mix and dampen it with water.
- Plant the cutting in the soil.
- Let the plant rest in a sunny place.
- Water normally after a couple of weeks.
We’ll learn the details about how to propagate aloe in the article that follows.
Aloe Propagation Considerations
When and why should you propagate an Aloe plant?
When learning how to propagate aloe, there are some things to take into account. First of all, is it even possible to propagate aloe? The answer is yes, absolutely. In fact, it can be a pretty simple process.
Now then, when understanding how to propagate aloe, we need to make clear that it’s all about the pups. The idea is quite simply to separate the offsets, also known as pups or offshoots and take it from there.
Tobe a bit more specific, an aloe pup as some characteristics that make it ideal for propagation. They are basically baby plants, so to speak. They have some of the roots of the original plant as well. This means that propagation is actually fairly simple: we just want to plant the pup and wait.
Materials and supplies that you will need
There are some materials we can use when learning how to propagate aloe. Here are some of the most important.
When it comes time to planting the pup, the soil is going to be very important. It’s recommended that a good cactus potting mix be used. Alternatively, it’s possible to create our own soil mix. One part potting soil and one part sand will do nicely. Whatever we do though, the soil must drain well.
Perlite is a volcanic rock which can expand when confronting heat. This is an addition to an aloe soil mix which allows it to retain moisture. This means that the ‘soak and dry’ cycles of watering may last longer.
If we’re going to pot our aloe pups, then we need to decide on the containers. It’s important to remember that the pot must have a good drainage hole beneath. A trowel may sometimes come in handy, when moving soil inside the pot.
Water is obviously an important part in propagating aloe. It should be used prudently though. Usually, we want to keep soil moist until roots form and only then will we start ‘soak and dry’ cycles.
It’s essential that we have a sharp and very clean knife. Alternatively, clippers will sometimes do the trick.
Some aloe owners like to use rooting hormone when attempting to propagate aloe. This is optional. Rooting hormone increases the chances of successful rooting. What it basically does is that it helps the root system to develop faster and stronger.
To apply rooting hormone, place some rooting hormone in a container. Insert the stem about an inch (2.5cm) into the hormone. New roots will form here. Then take this stem and plant it where it needs to go.
Now then, we need to make something clear. When we talk about how to propagate aloe, we really are talking about propagating the pups (the preferred method). In this case, the rooting hormone will help if the offset has very sparse or damaged roots. That’s really the best method. Rooting hormone would seem to be ideal for propagation of cuttings, a more complicated method.
Steps to Propagate an Aloe Plant Properly.
Steps to Propagate an Aloe Plant Properly.
Let’s get down to business. Here are the steps needed when attempting to propagate aloe pups.
Observing the pup:
This is a crucial moment in the propagation process. We need to figure out the right moment to remove the pup and thus begin propagation.
Removal of the offset depends on the type of aloe. Usually, we want to wait until the offshoot is about 1/5 the size of the parent plant. Another good indication is that the pup already has leaves.
Removal of the pup:
Once we decide on the right moment for removal of the pup, we can proceed. What we want to do is simply remove the dirt from the base. Now it’s time to decide on the exact place where we want to remove, or even make the cut if we have to separate the pup. It’s crucial that we understand that we want to take the complete pup with a full root system.
To achieve this, we may need to use a sharp knife and cut the pup away. It’s vital that the tools we use for cutting are extremely clean. Hopefully though, cutting will not even be necessary and we may simply take and remove pups. This is always ideal.
Planting the pup:
Now it’s time to plant the pup. To do this we want to place it in cactus potting mix. Such soil must be dry, by the way. The key is to let the removed pups sit for about a week and only then water the soil in typical ‘soak and dry’ fashion.
Can you grow aloe from a cutting?
Refer to the full propagation method we describe above. The problem with aloe vera cuttings is that this is a high moisture succulent. As a result, aloe vera cuttings have too much moisture and seldom become viable. They are not the most ideal to achieve good propagation results. Offsets are a much better alternative.
Can you regrow aloe from a leaf?
Yes, it’s possible, though not ideal. We really want offsets, with existing roots. Leaves and cuttings are usually less successful than propagation via pups. You’ll notice that we concentrated on such a method earlier. Now then, if you choose to propagate via cuttings, this is a basic method:
Make the cut:
This first step is all about identifying the portion to cut. Use a very clean knife to remove this portion. It’s not necessary to remove the leaf at the joint. It’ll be fine to simply remove the top inches or most of the leaf. The cutting though, should be as clean as possible (not jagged).
Let it dry:
Now just let the cutting dry off for a few days. The risk here is that it may rot altogether. This will damage the whole process, obviously.
Fill a pot with soil mix and stick the cutting in it. Root hormone may help. Check out the root hormone process described earlier in this article and consider applying it.
Let it rest:
Now just let the planted cutting rest. Let it root and then establish a typical ‘soak and dry’ watering method. Some owners like to keep the soil slightly moist for about 4 weeks, before setting upon the ‘soak and dry’ method.
Can aloe be rooted in water?
As mentioned above, the two basic methods when talking about how to propagate aloe, are pups and cuttings. Propagating via pups is best, and cuttings is somewhat unpredictable, at best.
Now then, there are some people who will experiment with growing aloe in water. They’ll usually use pups, regardless, though this time they’ll plant them in water. They’ll wait for roots to grow more and then plant the aloe in another pot.
The safer alternative, as ever is really to propagate aloe via pups in soil. Keeping the soil moist will do just fine. The risk with aloe rooting in water is providing excess water and thus ruining the plant.
Does cutting aloe hurt the plant?
Not really. Cuttings can be made when dealing with how to propagate aloe, although as we pointed out above, it’s not the most effective of methods.
Also, note that some owners like to trim the plant itself. They’ll usually take care of the damaged tips of leaves, for example. So, no, cutting will not damage aloe. Bear in mind, however, that cuttings should be made with clean instruments, attempting a clean and not jagged cut.
Can aloe grow without sunlight?
Definitely not. There are some succulents which can live in low-light environments, but aloe isn’t one of them.
Can aloe grow without soil?
This is a succulent which can grow in a variety of places, so yes, the answer is that it can grow without soil. Some aloe plants can grow in small sand-like pebbles. Having said that, however, we really want to plant aloe in soil mix. It will work best, especially because we want to be applying a ‘soak and dry’ method of watering.
How long do aloe plants live?
In general, plants may live from about 5 to 25 years. The smaller aloe plants may also have shorter lifespans. Larger ones, however, may very well live for decades.
Can aloe tolerate low light?
Not really. Aloe is a succulent which needs bright light. Lack of light will weaken the plant and cause wilting, amongst other things.
If the aloe is indoors, the best place to place it is next to a sunny window. Sometimes aloe plants struggle to receive enough light in the darker months of fall and winter. It’s important to move the plant around, and find the spot where it can enjoy the most light.
Some owners also like to rotate the plant indoors. The idea is to make sure it receives a good provision of light all around. They’ll usually move the plant every two or three months. This avoids a leaning of the plant towards the source of light.
Can aloe survive without water?
Aloe is a succulent. This means that it can withstand drought conditions for a long time, in between watering. Ideally, of course, we want to let the soil dry and then proceed to watering. This is what we refer to as the ‘soak and dry’ method.
What if drought conditions exist for longer? Aloe should be able to survive. At any rate, succulents can survive underwatering much more than they can withstand overwatering. This of course, is not ideal. What we really want is to give our aloe a good ‘soak and dry’ frequency and let it thrive.
Do aloe plants like to be touched?
It won’t hurt them, necessarily, but it’s best to leave them be. Also, don’t ingest the sap or leaves. Aloe is great for burns, but don’t ingest it. Wash your hands after handling the plant.