Jardeniya
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Aloe Vera Traumatized. Attempts Failing. Need Advice.

Hello and Good Day / Good Evening.

I have had my Aloe Veras for close to ten years. They have thrived Beautifully.

We recently experienced a soggy cold spell. Just so happens during this cold spell my Husband turned his attention to my plants, giving them all manner of spare water, every day, several times a day... As I passed them by one day, just about every leaf, on each of them, collapsed and fell off. When I asked had he watered them, he looked very proud of himself...

Removed ammonia smelling rot, repotted. Seems it was too late for one of them, which looked perfectly healthy on the outside until it just fell apart, leaf-by-drippy-leaf.

The one I have left coninues to rot, little by little, up from the stem. It had quite a stem to begin with. I cut it back to the healthy white tissue and repotted. Mixed Miracle Gro Cactus soil + Miracle Gro Perlite, 50/50. Looked like it was doing well, except for a new symptom- some random brown bits on the leaves. I became suspicious at this point. Lifted the bit of stem up to discover further stem rot. Lost a few more leaves. That was Today.

I want to help my plant survive. Took it out. Cut off rotten stem piece. Cleaned stem with alcohol on the outside and inside. Blow dried it a little (LoL). No longer has roots, just small strands of fiber from stem's interior. It is now out of its soil laying on its side near the baseboard heater in the bathroom (warmest brightest room).

I have read about rerooting the stem, but have no experience with it. I fear drying it out and losing it all together. My home is generally pretty cold and somewhat humid inside (dark & poor air circulation). Tried to root some leaves outside of the bathroom. The cut ends have developed an orange mold...

They are rehabbing in the bathroom right now.


Advice, Please? I feel like I am running out of time. Worried it may be too late, but after reading so many success stories here, I hold on to Hope...


Thank You for reading this.

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Kisal
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Once the cut ends of the stem have dried, you should be able to plant the stem just barely into the container of soil. Don't plant it deep, just enough to keep it upright. (Be sure you put the end that had the roots in the soil.) plant it in dry soil, and do not water it for at least 2 or 3 weeks, maybe even longer.

Rot is very difficult to overcome, so your chances of success are not going to be 100%. Maybe not even 50/50. But it's worth the try, IMO. Only a very few speciea of aloes can be started from a leaf, so don't let that experience discourage you. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Jardeniya
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Hello and Thank you for your reply Kisal.

How long should the stem should dry? It has been 24 hours now.

I didn't exactly make a clean cut, per say. I pulled off the mushy bits. Should I have cut it straight across?

What colors can I expect the stem area to become?

Perhaps a picture will be helpful? I will put one up when I get the opportunity to do so.

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Kisal
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When trying to cure rot, it's best to use a sharp, sterile knife to cut back to firm, healthy tissue. Resterilize the knife after each cut. If any rot is left behind, it can spread and contaminate the healthy tissue. Think of it as similar to removing cancerous or gangrenous tissue from a patient.

The stems should dry until the ends feel firm and dry. The process is called "callusing".

I'm not sure what you mean about the color of the stem. It should be the same color as it was on the original plant.

HTH! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Jardeniya
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Kisal wrote: I'm not sure what you mean about the color of the stem. It should be the same color as it was on the original plant.
In reference to colour I meant to ask, what colour may I expect to see as it callouses? Should it remain white and dry white? Or may I expect to see it go from white to brownish as it dries? What colour is normal to see as it callouses?


Update: Cut straight across with sterilized knife. Kept out of soil to callous over for 2+ days. Hard and dry stem, somewhat brown, but dry. Today I just lightly placed it within a pot of dry soil at a very very shallow depth.

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Kisal
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Sounds good to me! Keep us posted on its progress. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Jardeniya
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Good Day Kisal. I Hope you are very well.

Update:
Lost several more leaves due to creeping rot. Excised rotten leaves and stem. Down to the last 3 leaves and just a bit of stem.

Allowed to callus (hopefully), although I am not exactly sure what is supposed to happen as it does. Should it shrink as it closes at the wound site? It basically tapered itself off around the base of the stem.

In any case, no browning this time. Allowed to heal and dry for a week. Looks healthy. Placed in dry rocky soil for the past 24 hours. Picked up some beach sand @ the nursery. Planned to place in the beach sand until it roots.

Is this a good idea?

Should I combine with vermiculite or is potting in plain sand fine?

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Kisal
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Beach sand is good, as long as it's been thoroughly washed. It's very salty from the ocean water. Salt kills plants, as you probably know. If you bought the sand at a plant nursery, it's more than likely okay. I doubt they would sell sand that would kill the plants they sell. :D

The calloused end of a cactus/succulent will be hard to the touch and the edges will look wrinkley. Does that make sense? Can you kind of visualize it? Shrinking is a good way to describe it, too.

My personal preference has been perlite, rather than vermiculite. Although both will retain some water, it always seemed to me that vermiculite got soft to the touch, while the perlite stayed firm and helped provide rapid drainage.

Mix the purchased sand with some very fine gravel. You could even collect it from a place you find on the ground that has a coarse, sandy makeup. I'd mix it about half and half, I think. If you do collect some from the ground, it's fine if there's some dirt mixed in. Desert soil is predominately sand and fine gravel, but there is some soil, as well. Also, Aloes are one of the more tolerant of succulents. They will grow in just about any mixture, as long as it's light and loose enough to provide rapid drainage. :)

It sounds to me like you're doing everything right. Rot is not easy to overcome, so there will always be some losses. That has been my own experience, anyway. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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