Orangjuice
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Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Hello all!

I recently had gotten an aloe plant from a friend who was moving across the country. It had gotten a bit big, and he said it was time to get a bigger pot for it. I had just re-planted about a week ago with cactus mix. It had been sitting outside for maybe the past week(its been getting up into the 80s here in NY) and I had just lightly watered it about 2 or 3 days ago(so it sat with out water for about 3 or 4 days). Recently it has been starting to get kind of brown and soft/mushy on most of the lower leaves, but still seems healthy in the center. I have just moved it indoors to a room with a window facing east due to it being a bit chilly for the next few days, with some storms.

Any recommendations on what I can do to help this plant survive, and also give me some tips for the future?

Thank you!! :D

Don't mind the stick. That's temporary as I am planning on putting a stake in there to help keep the plant from falling over.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Sounds like a combination of many things - stress from repotting, overwatering, low temps, & too little light.

You're dealing with what is essentially a desert plant here. Like cacti/succulent. The repotting aside, going just 3-4 days without water isn't a dealbreaker with these plants. They need to be allowed to dry out a bit before re-watering. This could be weeks or over a month. You need to finger-test the dryness of the soil before watering again, rather than do a generic once-a-week watering.

Cold temps also aren't friendly to this plant, nor is an east-facing window. Again - desert plant here. Needs a south-facing window to thrive.

Another clue that your plant isn't happy? The fact that you feel you need a stake. Healthy, happy Aloes do NOT need to be staked to keep them from "flopping over". If you have an Aloe that needs staking, you have an Aloe that frankly is most likely dying.

Do yourself & the poor plant a favor - & mean this kindly - & do some research on raising Aloes. Far too many people think of them as disposable plants because of the all hoopla re: their medicinal values.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

Orangjuice
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Thanks for the reply. I had just put it in this east facing window today to bring it in from the storms and the cooler weather. It was on my porch, which is open to the south and west to get indirect light for most of the day, and direct sun for about an hour or two (maybe around 3 or 4 in the afternoon).
I had put about a liter and a half of water in it a couple days after repotting.
I'm trying my best to find all that I can about helping this aloe and raising it right.

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GardeningCook
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Wow. Again - too. much. water. And not. enough. light.

In fact, I might even remotely suggest that you re-pot it again into dryer soil before putting it into a better light situation. You're killing this plant with unnecessary watering kindness.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

imafan26
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

your have the aloe in a fairly big pot in what looks like potting soil, which would be o.k. if you do not over water.

Ideally, you would select the pot size based on the size of the root and not on the size of the top. The pot should just fit and breathable pots are better than plastic or glazed ceramic. Think concrete and unglazed terra cotta.

Cactus mix is better than potting mix, but if you tend to over water and you have a top heavy plant, go with cinder or pea gravel. Even no. 3 blue rock will work. The pot will be heavy to move, but the plant won't topple over and it drains well. Pea gravel and blue rock can usually be gotten at a building supply either by the bag or the truckload. Because it will not retain nutrients, use osmocote every three to four months about a tablespoon is enough.

When you water, do not water with the saucer under the plant, either take the pot outside, or put it in a tub to drain. If you get a plant dolly it will make it easier to push around.

I think you should repot the plant again in a smaller pot.

Take the plant out and wash off the soil.

Check the root for signs of rot, mushy, smelly, soft tissue. If it is only the roots and the crown is intact, you can cut off the dead roots. If the main stem is rotting, more drastic measure need to be taken.

You would have to take off the lower leaves and find a part of the stem that is still firm and healthy and with a clean sharp knife, cut it through.

Now, this is important cacti and succulents need to callus off before replanting. Discard the diseased roots. If the leaves you cut off are still good, you can keep them, just make sure they have been cut cleanly.

Let the good leaves and the part of the stem you cut off air dry on a few sheets of newspaper until the cut ends have callused off. No water is required. How long it takes depends on conditions but a few days to a a week is usually good.

In the meantime, look for a pot that is deep enough but only a couple of inches wider than the root mass or stem.
Clean out the old pot with 10% bleach. You can dry out the soil and use it for something else.

Get the rocks, cinder or cactus mix.

When the ends of the cactus and the leaves have callused, then pot up the plant stem in the new pot make sure it is deep enough so that it is held firmly. Stake the top if you have to, but in most cases it does not need it. Take the leaves and put 2-3 inches of cactus mix in the old pot and stick the leaves in the cactus mix. Water everything until the water comes out the drain holes and then let them driain in the tub or sink for at least 30 minutes before placing them about 18 inches from the light source. Water them again only when the soil or rocks are dry a couple of inches into the pot.

The leaves will take a while and they may look shriveled, but a new plant will grow from them. The aloe will also do the same thing and the leaves will look a bit shriveled. The plant will be sustaining itself on the remaining leaves until it can make new roots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Orangjuice
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Thanks for the tips. It is currently in a cactus mix. I will be looking for a smaller pot over the next couple days to repalnt the aloe. I also have some cactus mix left over. Would you recommend replanting in more fresh (unused) cactus mix, or add some perlite to the mix to help it drain more, or go right to gravel?
Also, with trimming the leaves off, would you cut them flush with the stem and root or cut into the root a bit, then let the plant and the cuttings callus over?
When I take the plant out to repot it, I will post up a picture of the roots.

Orangjuice
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

So I finally cut some leaves off. Some of the roots easily came of while washing off the roots a bit. those seems fairly squishy to me. Here are some pictures of the cuttings and the whole plant right after i got done with it. Hopefully this is enough. When I replant it, I will try and plant it a bit deeper to keep from tipping over, or put a bit of gravel in some cactus mix.


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GardeningCook
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Hate to rain on your parade, but you have some SERIOUS root rot going on there. As in serious enough wherein regardless of how you repot, the plant most likely will not recover. And planting it "deeper" is only going to make things worse (if that's possible). Never EVER plant a succulent deeply. Absolutely no deeper than what it was growing at previously, & definitely never with the crown buried. Yours is going to tip over regardless because it frankly doesn't have any healthy root system left to support it physically or systemically.

But this is a moot point. While you may want to give this poor thing a try, I suggest you go back to Square 1 with a new Aloe.
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Orangjuice
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

If there is a tiny bit of hope, what would some suggestions be?

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GardeningCook
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

It's difficult to tell for sure from the pics, but are ANY of the roots firm, white, & healthy-looking, or are they all black/soft?

Normal treatment would be to cut off all rotted material, dust the remaining roots with powdered sulphur (found at most garden centers & big box stores), & leave the plant to dry - unpotted - for a week or so. Then repot with a better-draining potting medium, wait at least two weeks before watering, & vow to amend your overwatering ways in the future. But that's assuming there are enough healthy roots to support the plant during the time it will take for new root growth to take place.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

Orangjuice
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

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Here is a better picture. It seems firm starting from about an inch from the bottom. I understand that the very bottom is rotted and is starting to flake off.

And of course I'm changing my watering ways. I've only had this plant for maybe two months, and watered it maybe 3 times. I'm just trying to take care of this the best I can. That's why I'm here.

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GardeningCook
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Okay - that's a better pic. I'd cut off any obviously black, soft, rotten parts, dust with sulphur powder if possible, allow to dry unspotted for a week, & repot AT THE SAME LEVEL - NOT DEEPER - in better draining potting mix (look for a cactus mix if you don't want to mix your own), wait a couple of weeks before watering again - IF NECESSSARY - & see what happens.
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imafan26
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Re: Aloe plant turning brown? Please help!

Definitely root rot. Do not use the old soil, you will be asking for trouble.

Cut off the dead roots . The roots nearest the leaves still look good so try to save those, but be careful not to break them. You will need to take off some of the lower leaves to get enough stem to replant. Do the procedure mentiioned before. Cut off all the black parts until you get to healthy tissue. The leaves you take off and the remainder of the crown need to callus off. Repot in a smaller pot with good drain holes and pot the leaves up separately . Do cut them as close to the stem as you can but cut the leaves again if you need it to get a clean edge.

I would water once to settle the media, but not water again for at least a week.

You need to determine when your pot is dry.

When you finish potting up your plant but before you water it in weigh it. Weigh it again when the pot is soaked and drained. Don't water again until your plant is at its dry weight or a few grams above that.
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