Saturday, September 24, 2011

Container Gardening: Aloe Vera, Pups, Repotting and Healing

Our Aloe Vera plant has been growing insanely. I've got a single plant and have managed to repot sixteen baby Aloe pups from the Mother Aloe plant. Bunnings and Eden Garden are our local garden centres and they sell Aloe plants at about $7 to $60 each depending on the size.

If you have a friend with a plant, just look on the side of their plants for baby pups that you could transplant and that's free. I was googling tips on repotting earlier and came across so many people who wrote in about their Aloe plant dying and they don't know why. Plants usually die because we love them too much: too much water or too much fertiliser or we drastically give them sunburn by moving them into the sun without hardening them off slowly.

Evolution of our Aloe Plant:

14th November 2010 - Mother Aloe Vera

19th March 2011 - Mother Aloe with her gazillion pups. See how the pups are draining the nutrients from the mother plant and the soil? All the tips are starting to turn brown:

19th September 2011 -Six months later... Aloe plant tipped onto her side for repotting the pups. Repotted her after work at night, hence the camera flash. See all those pups that were repotted from the Mother Aloe?!~ Crazy @_@

23rd September 2011 - She's breathing a sigh of relief after her pups have been removed and has stopped leaching all the nutrients out of the soil. With some fresh potting mix, suddenly her flower stalk has shot upwards:

Tips On Repotting Aloe Vera Pups

* Wait until the pups are large enough with about 5-8 leaves each. This makes it easier to repot because you don't have to cut the pups away from its mother. When they have 5-8 leaves, they have independant rootballs so you can just tug and they separate easily from the mother plant

* You can repot the pups into dry soil. Because the rootballs aren't large, giving the Aloe pups a lot of water will lead to rot and death. They are succulents, thus very tolerant of dry soil. You can water the Mother Aloe plant after repotting because she's got a huge rootball and will absorb the water in time without rotting.

* Their tips may turn brown. The plants may all turn brown but don't worry. It's just transplant shock and they are unkillable. Just ignore them and water them lightly a week after repotting.

* I like to leave my Aloes in a position that has only morning sun. It doesn't matter how much or little sun you have. IF you are moving them from a shady position to a sunnier position, ensure you do it VERY slowly like all other plants. Plants can get sunburnt and die. I know - how weird! When moving from shade to a sunnier position, ensure you expose them to sun for around 30mins the first few days, then 1 hr the next few days, 2 hours the next few days and after about two to three weeks of doing this (depending on your laziness), they're ready for the new sunnier position. It works the other way around too if you want to move them from full sun to a shadier spot.

* Repotting the Mother Aloe. After doing that, give her some fresh soil that are loaded with nutrients. Use the old soil for compost or whatever you want. If you repot her to a LARGER pot then be prepared for a gigantic plant. If you just replant her into the same pot, then you'll control her size somewhat. Some advice on the net recommeds trimming the rootball but we've found that restricting her to the same pot will contain her size. If you want a larger Mother Aloe, ensure you repot her into a larger size and she will grow accordingly.

Tips On Caring For Your Aloe Vera Plants

* Weekly watering in summer and in winter, every second week only
* Underwatering is better than overwatering
* When the leaves look shrivelled and dried up and not fleshy and squishy to the touch, then you need to increase the amount of water when you're watering
* Need well drained soil so excess water can seep out
* Sandy soil potting mix is best - I use potting mix that has a bit of compost mixed in with some sand - some on the net recommends 1/3rd sand to potting mix but whatever. Soil has heaps of nutrients so it's not going to hurt if you even have no sand to mix into your soil

Using Aloe Vera Gel for Healing

That's my face. Fell off my bike and grazed half my face. The after shot is about 10 days after slathering Aloe gel on my face every single day. Keeping the area moist and wet with Aloe gel. It was a bit awkward to work with Aloe goo on my face but after the shock and awe at the graze, it was back to work as usual. Almost one year later, you can't even tell that my face had looked like that.

Fresh Aloe gel is best, straight from the plant. Clean your area of injury. If it's bleeding, bandage it and wait until the blood stops oozing before using Aloe gel.

1. Cut the bottom leaf off
2. Cut the spikes off the oozing end by about 2cm
3. Now the spikes are gone, you can strip the skin off the top and bottom of the leaf by 2cm
4. Hold onto the pointy end with the skin and slather the gel from the fat end that you've just stripped the skin from. If there is a yellow gel, wash or scrape it off until you have clear Aloe gel
5. After using that bit, cut the skinned section off and store the rest of the leaf in an airtight glass container

Aloe leaves keeps very well for a few days in the fridge as long as the skin is still on, that's why I only strip off enough skin for each use. Keep your burn, sunburn, graze or whatever always wet and slathered with Aloe gel. What it does is encourage new cell growth on the surface of your skin. It also helps your skin to heal without forming a huge, thick, fat and dry scab that puckers and then leaves a scar once it comes off.

With Aloe gel, the injury will scab over, but very thinly and very lightly and the scab will peel off as you apply more Aloe Gel and form a new thin scab continuously until it heals almost unblemished.

Aloe Vera is a miracle healing plant for skin grazes, burns and sunburns. I've read websites with users even saying that they applied it to 3rd degree burns that were almost healed and it healed perfectly without any scarring. I had a tiny graze on my wrist and didn't bother applying Aloe gel to it but it healed with a larger, thicker scar than my face which was much worse in terms of grazed skin. Aloe gel is uber amazing.

Unless you're after an Aloe smothered garden, one plant will be plenty and with good care, you will have plenty of Aloe pups to repot, keep or give away.


  1. This is terrific how you have contrived to fully expose the subject that you have picked for this peculiar blog entry. BTW did you use some alike posts as an inspiration to fulfill the whole picture that you posted in this blog article?

    1. Hi Lillian, sorry for the late reply and publishing your comment. I get too much spam which takes time to sort through. If I heavily reference off any particular site, I will provide a link to them. HTH, cheers.

  2. Hi- I just found this blog, it's a great source of info. I wanted to ask you a question about my aloe plant, since you seem to know a lot about them. I was just wondering if you'd get a notification or something when I make this post, as it's from last year.


  3. Hi- I just found this blog, it's a great source of info. I wanted to ask you a question about my aloe plant, since you seem to know a lot about them. I was just wondering if you'd get a notification or something when I make this post, as it's from last year.


    1. Hi Evan,
      Yep I do get notifications on all comments. Feel free to ask me your questions and I will endeavour to assist. I have lots of Aloe plants and have grown them for years.


  4. My aloe plant has no root system at all. The leaves are not standing either. What can I do to revive it? I love my plant and would love to help it out!!!! Please help!!!

    1. Did you recently repot your plant? Or move it to a new location? Or change the watering frequency and amount? Any of those changes are enough to shock the plant.

      If you've repotted it and it's a small plant, water very sparsely. If you've moved it to a new location, it's in shock from the changes in light so just let it get used to the location (don't move it back and forth). A picture would be useful- email it to
      Best wishes x

  5. If I'm trying to grow a very large mother plant how often should I repot it? Great advice and info thanks so much! I want mine to grow a flower and huge just like yours for now im starting with 12 pint pot. The leaves are about 7 inches max 3 lowest I've only had one instance of pups sprouting and have replanted them in a new pot.. Haven't had it too long

    1. HI there, mine has now had about 30+ pups and is now a HUGE plant. If you're trying to grow a massive mother plant like mine, you need to repot the Aloe only when the Aloe looks like she has outgrown her current pot. If you move her into a pot that's too big for her, she could be sitting in damp soil for extended period of time which can turn into root rot.

      As a general rule, I look at the leaves for guidance. If the leaves are hanging over the pot then the pot is too small, move the plant into the next size up. Do it gradually and give the plant at least a few months to a year in between each repotting or she can suffer transplant shock. Although Aloes are very hardy so don't worry too much about it =)