napodrive1
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HELP! My aloe plant is falling apart!

I have had the same aloe plant for over 15 years now. I have not repotted it in maybe 10 years. The bottom of the pot is a mess of dead dried out aloe leaves. (back from when I was younger and forgot it was even in my room, and hardly cared for it) It seems to go through phases of looking more hearty, and weak, but generally would be in good shape since I have become a more responsible owner.

But more recently I have been watering it more then I normally do. (meaning I can remember the last time I watered it)

My aloe has three main stems, and when I was looking at one stem it suddenly broke off. At the point where it broke off there was a very small black area (rot??). When I felt the rest of the stem below it, I was surprised to find it hollow. Yet besides that the broken off section looked quite healthy.

Another one of the stems is like this, yet it is still attached. (the third is healthy)

I have had this plant almost half my life. I am scared to do something that will make it worse. Please someone, help me out!!



(is there a way I can post pictures of my plant on this board?)[/img]

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Kisal
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[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]How to post pictures on the forum[/url].

Is it possible that it's being overwatered? Succulents don't need frequent watering.
"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

napodrive1
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Kisal wrote:[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]How to post pictures on the forum[/url].

Is it possible that it's being overwatered? Succulents don't need frequent watering.
Well I think thats the problem. I was wondering what I can do now to make it healthy? Should I repot the whole thing? How?

What should I do with the parts that came off? Repot? how?

Should I cut off the hollow stems and black parts? I have been getting conflicting advice by just looking it up online (that and I am confused. Any more detailed information/links would mean ALOT, as I said, I don't want to mess anything else!)

Here is a picture of my aloe plant as a whole:
[img]https://i640.photobucket.com/albums/uu122/napodrive1/IMG_3475.jpg[/img]

Here is the part that came off:
[img]https://i640.photobucket.com/albums/uu122/napodrive1/IMG_3474.jpg[/img]

thank you for any advice given, even if just links. I want to get this guy in top shape as soon as possible!

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Kisal
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Clean out all that dead brown tissue from the pot. You should be able just to pull it out gently by hand.

Stop watering the plant, and allow the soil to dry. When the soil is dry to a depth of about an inch -- dig into it with your finger to make sure -- then give it a thorough watering, until water runs out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. The plant will look kind of scruffy for awhile, but aloes grow fairly rapidly. After awhile, it should send up pups, filling any empty spaces in the pot.

For the part that has come off, use a clean, sharp knife to cut off the bottom of the stem, above any black, rotted-looking tissue. You should have only healthy, white tissue, with a few leaves attached. Lay it in a cool, dry area for a few days, until a dried-looking callus forms on the end.

Fill a pot -- I think I'd use a 4" pot -- with a good potting mix made specifically for cacti and succulents. Place the callused end of the stem about an inch deep into the potting mix. Keep it in bright light, but not in direct sunlight. Wait 3 to 5 days, and then water the plant thoroughly. Give it enough water so that the water runs out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Do not let the pot stand in water, i.e. if it's in a saucer or tray, pour off any water that accumulates. Don't water it again until the soil is dry about an inch down. Test it for dryness by digging into it with your fingertip. You probably won't need to water again for about a month, but test the soil every couple of weeks, just to be sure.

Ordinarily, aloes aren't so picky about the size of their pots, but in this case, since there are no roots, I recommend a smallish pot. You don't want the stem surrounded by a large amount of soil that will take a long time to dry out between waterings. It can lead to rotting of the stem. That's why you want to start the rootless stem in dry soil. Once the plant develops a healthy root ball, you could probably plant it in ordinary potting mix. If you tend to overwater even a little bit, though, it's better to use the lighter mix designed for cacti and succulents. It can prevent a lot of problems.

I don't know where you're located, so I will recommend that you keep the plant indoors. If it's windy or very hot where you live, the plant could die from dehydration outdoors, since it has no roots at the moment. Later, after it is rooted, you should be able to acclimate it to living outdoors, at least during the summer.

HTH! Let me know how the little guy fares, okay? :)
"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

napodrive1
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I will let you know, thanks for all your help!!

But also what about the stem with black, yet is still attached? Should I pull that off and repot that separately as well?

Also, I have not repotted the main plant for 10 years or so, is that ok? Should I? Do I need to?

Its a 10'' pot, thats 6'' full of dirt.


thank you again. you've been an amazing help!

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Kisal
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Yes, do remove all stems like that. The black is rot, and it will spread on up the stem if you don't remove it and reroot the healthy parts.

You can repot the entire plant if you so wish, but personally, I think it would be better to allow the plant to remain where it is, at least until it develops a good root system again. The plant is under stress now, and repotting would only add more stress. Unless the plant deteriorates further over the coming 2 to 4 weeks, I think it would be best to allow it to remain undisturbed.

A broad, shallow pot with drainage holes is perfect for any cactus or succulent, so the aloe should be happy in that container. It's plenty large for the plant at this time. Remember, some of the roots have been destroyed through overwatering, so even if it had been root bound before that happened, it probably isn't anymore.

It needs to be babied with a little "loving neglect" at this time, I think. :)
"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

napodrive1
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I just cleaned out the aloe plant, results:

[img]https://i640.photobucket.com/albums/uu122/napodrive1/IMG_3482.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i640.photobucket.com/albums/uu122/napodrive1/IMG_3483.jpg[/img]


So my question (sorry about all the questions) is that much of these stems don't look like fresh tissue, yet they are mostly solid feeling cores. Is this normal? Are these parts of the roots, and should they be under the soil?

thanks!

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Kisal
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No, those are stems. They ordinarily would be covered by leaves, except that the leaves dried up during the period of underwatering. If you wish, you can cut all of those stems off about 2 or 3 inches below the leaves and follow the instructions for rerooting them. However, that is not what I would do. I would allow the plant to remain as it is. Presuming there are enough viable roots left to support the plant ... and I think there are ... when you stop overwatering, the plant will strengthen and grow more roots. Then, when it feels comfortable again, it will produce pups/babies. Once they become a good size, you can cut off all the old stuff if you like, to tidy up the plant. At that time, you could reroot all the stems you cut off, and have some additional plants to add to your collection. Perhaps, in the future, you'll want to repot the plant. You could pot them all together in one very large container, if you chose. :)

As I said, the plant is going to look a bit scruffy for a few months, but I'm fairly certain that it will live and rejuvenate itself.

I see the black spots, which are probably a concern to you. You can remove those stems and root them, or you can leave them on and see what happens. If the black area feels soft and/or mushy to the touch, I would remove the stem, cut off the black, and reroot the healthy part. If the black area is still firm, though, you could leave it on the plant, and just keep a close eye on it, removing it at such time as it becomes soft. It might never get soft. If it were my plant, I would follow the "wait and see" approach. :)
"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

napodrive1
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Thanks so much, I have cleaned out the piece that fell off, and a few others were loose in the tangles of the dead leaves.


About the piece that is still connected, I was checking it out more closely. Most of the stem is hollow besides a dark strand connecting that connects to the top.

Even though the other stems look healthy, it seems two of them also are hollow in some parts, but only some parts.

If the core of any stem is dark and stringy, does that mean its totally rotten, and time to repot?

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Kisal
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I haven't experienced that, but I think it is probably that repotting is needed in such a situation.
"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

napodrive1
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thanks. Current update:

Three stems were removed, cleaned, and are being prepped for repotting. Same with a 4 smaller "buds" that were found healthy looking but disconnected.

There are still two stems attached to the original plant, and for the time being I am not going to mess with that, and just let it rest.


Final question for the time being:

After I cut the stems and remove the rot, and the part that will be replanted, what if some of the stem under that (the part that goes into the dirt) is not rotted, should I leave that in the dirt? Will it grow shoots from it? Or should it just be removed?

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Kisal
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I would. You can always remove it at a later date, if need be. Who knows? It might sprout new leaves for you! (I have learned that plants will often surprise us. :D )
"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

TrishaD
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Re: HELP! My aloe plant is falling apart!

... Wondering if this worked for you and how the attached stems turned out. I have one that's done the same thing.

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windandvane
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Re: HELP! My aloe plant is falling apart!

I am also curious how this ended up, I've got two aloes that have been problematic in a similar way for the past several months. I do hope they all pulled through for you!
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