It seems an impossibility, yet one day you look at your aloe vera and ask yourself, “is my aloe plant dying?” As shocking as it may sound, killing an aloe vera plant is possible under extreme conditions.
The good news is that these plants are so resilient that you can generally bring one back from the brink and – if it’s too far gone – salvage a few healthy leaves to create brand new aloe plants.
Let’s take a look at the rare occasions when an aloe might be dying and how to fix them.
How To Revive A Dying Aloe Plant?
The good news is that it really is almost impossible to kill an aloe vera plant.
Except for the extreme cold, most problems can be traced to watering or sunlight.
Chances are, you will never have to worry about an aloe vera plant getting too cold, but it can still happen if you leave your plant outdoors when the temperature drops.
Ideally, you shouldn’t plant an aloe very outside if you live in USDA hardiness zone 8b or colder.
However, it’s not unheard of to forget you have a potted aloe vera sitting on a balcony or patio.
- If the temperature dips below 50° degrees Fahrenheit, your aloe will begin to suffer damage from the cold.
- Damaged leaves may feel mushy and take on a brownish color when this happens.
- Bring your aloe inside and give it a few days for the damaged areas to dry and form a callus.
- Once this has happened, cut away the damaged portions of the leaves down to the healthy tissue.
- Avoid watering the plant until the cut section has healed to avoid potential issues.
- Note that it can take a while for the plant to replace any cold-damaged leaves, but it will usually recover if the damage isn’t too severe.
A healthy aloe vera can take a lot of abuse, especially underwatering, but it does have its limits.
Severely dehydrated aloe plants will begin to wilt and lose their fleshy appearance.
Meanwhile, overwatered plants can become soggy or bloated, leading to aloe plant root rot and other diseases.
This problem is relatively easy to solve by using the soak-and-dry method.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Just stick your finger into the soil and water if it feels dry 2” inches down.
- Constantly water slowly and work your way around the plant to ensure even coverage.
- Try not to get the leaves wet, which can contribute to sunburn and other problems.
- Stop watering when the soil is no longer absorbing at the same rate you’re pouring, or you see moisture beginning to seep from the drainage holes.
An aloe will generally bounce back from watering issues in a few days, but you may need to repot the plant if it’s severely overwatered.
If there’s one thing that will kill an ale plant, it’s root rot.
This deadly disease can be bacterial but is most often caused by the fungal infections that occur after a plant is overwatered too often.
To treat root rot, you’ll need to do the following:
- Remove your aloe from its container and discard the soil.
- You can sterilize the container in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for 20 to 30 minutes, air drying thoroughly. Otherwise, it’s best to discard the container and use a new one.
- Next, examine the roots to determine which ones are healthy. Healthy roots will be a light brown to an off-white color, whereas rotting roots will be dark brown to black, mushy, and may give off a foul odor.
- Using a sharp, sterile knife, cut away all of the diseased roots and resterilize the knife between each cut.
- If the damage is extensive, you will want to remove up to half of the leaves, starting with the largest. These leaves can be used for propagation if you wish.
- You may also choose to dip the remaining roots in antifungal powder or a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 30 minutes (if you do the latter, give the roots a day or two to air dry).
- Finally, repot your aloe vera in a sterile pot with a fresh potting medium.
Aim for a container approximately ⅓ larger than the root system and avoid using any fertilizers for 1 to 2 months while the plant’s roots heal.
It might sound ironic, but while aloe vera is treasured for its ability to treat burns, especially sunburn, the plant can easily suffer sunburn.
You can tell when aloe plants are getting sunburned because they will first fade to a yellowish tint, then begin turning brown at the tips and margins.
They will also lose their fleshy texture and may feel crisp or brittle at the edges.
The good news is that aloe vera will usually bounce back from a case of sunburn.
Here are the following steps:
- Remove any dead leaves with a sharp, sterile knife to help conserve nutrients.
- Next, move the plant to a slightly more sheltered area where it’s protected by a sheer curtain or has some shade in the afternoon.
The plant will bounce back, and any faded leaves will generally regain their rich green hue after a few days.