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Leggy Aloe Vera – Stem Too Long(How to Fix), Repotting Plant

A leggy aloe vera is something that should not be ignored by us as gardeners because it can create more problems for our aloe plant in future like leaves may turn droopy, heaviness on leaves and it may grow downward or break from middle. It tells about the plants overall health conditions whether it can be suffering from legginess that can kill an aloe plant. Once we know something is wrong about our aloe plant we will check what we can do to solve this problem.

Why is my aloe so leggy?

Aloe plant is leggy due to low light, Overwatering, Bulk up leafy growth can lead to legginess in our aloe vera. Succulent like aloe vera is similar to many plants when they don’t receive enough light it stretches itself and move to a lighter area which has direct light but while developing and stretching it lacks the growth of stem/ leaves which makes the plant could not handle the leaf weight and turns out to be aloe plant gets droopy or drops to ground.

To fix the aloe plant legginess you need to provide the plant with an adequate amount of direct light as sunlight can make its leaves more robust and then it is able to stand properly.

Aloe stem too long happens due to this legginess and then it makes the leaf move downward, it can’t tolerate the heavy leaf so it drops off which makes the leaf touch the soil and gets moist. After that pests can easily infest the aloe plant leaves and eat all the sap and make it soft and dry then the leaf will become brown and die back.

Leggy Aloe Vera

About Aloe Vera :

Family  Asphodelaceae
Scientific Name  Aloe barbadensis miller
Native Arabian Peninsula
Other Names   Cape aloe,Aloe plant, Chinese aloe, Barbados Aloe
Plant Type  Perennial, Succulent
Hardiness zone  4a to 8b
Grown Pots, Containers, Gardens,
Height  24-40 inches(50-101cm)
Growth rate Slower
Soil   Well draining, Fertile
Light Requirement  Partial Sunlight, Full Sun(Can Tolerate)
Fertilizer  Liquid based
USDA hardiness Zone 8 – 11
Blooming Season Summer
Flower Color Orange, Red, Yellow
Leaf Color Green, Spiky Shape
Growth Rate  Slow growing
Benefits For Skin and Body
Uses Cosmetics, skin creams
Toxicity Mild toxic

How do I get my aloe plant to grow straight?

Red Lotus Flower Meaning
Red Lotus Flower Meaning

We can grow aloe plants straight upwards by providing them with enough sunlight. If we rotate our aloe plant on each side every day then all the spiky leaves can get proper light and it won’t get leggy or grow sideways. You can also fix aloe plant legginess by changing the pot size to 2 inch bigger. It helps the pot to grow newer leaves with that you need to prune some leaves as leggy aloe plants can be fixed with pruning and by providing minimum 2 hours sunlight daily.

Another method is to cut off all the leaves that have legginess, even the leaves that are dried, soft, watery and choose a leaf that is healthy and repot aloe plant again. Yes I am suggesting to make another pot with aloe plants as this plant may get more problems. What I have told you is to provide them with a light source and prune it to save aloe plants but sometimes even if the plant gets sunlight it becomes leggy in that case you can propagate the plant to make a new aloe plant.

Trimming leaves is the best possible way to save leggy aloe plants because we are directly removing the problematic leaves and letting the remaining leaves grow. Again I point out that you make sure to change the location of the aloe plant and place it somewhere it gets sunlight.

aloe plant stem too long
Anubhab shil, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How do I fix my leggy aloe plant?

There are various methods to fix the leggy aloe plant :

Providing Light Source

The most common reason for aloe plants to get legginess is because of low light conditions. This is due to leaves trying to get a light source so they stretch out the leaves or stem more until they get enough light. Yes Aloe plants do adjust to direct sun but get burns if they are placed in for hours a day otherwise in sunlight the aloe leaves are grown very strong and the overall health of the plant can be improved in sunlight, it also grows faster in daylight.

To fix the low light condition in aloe plants that makes this legginess we first need to place the plant in more light source and if you have a window that gets sunlight for 2-4 hours a day it’s great to place it there. Once your plant starts getting sunlight it will grow normally and those leaves that have already become leggy can be trimmed down as there is no way you can get rid of them normally. 

Trimming

Trimming is the only solution for leggy aloe plants because it removes the infected leaf and doesn’t touch the other healthy leaves. It removes the overall problem from root so its effective method which works on all indoor succulent or normal house plant leggy conditions.

Pruning the leggy growth is the best possible solution and your plant can be saved without changing the location or pot. As you cut off the legginess it is able to grow normally. But I highly suggest if your aloe plant doesn’t get sufficient sunlight it will again grow leggy stems\leaves , some people say there aloe plants have too long stems, it is becayse of leginess and not priving the enough light result in droopy, growing aloe sideways.

Fix this aloe vera legginess using pruning and make your plant happy again.

Natural Phenomenon

Even if you provide Aloe plants enough sunlight, water, pot they still get leggy then it could be because some plants can become leggy naturally so wherever you place them it might become leggy. So the best solution for this problem is to prune the aloe plant leaves that are damaged, watery , soft and let the plant rejuvenate itself again. 

Overwatered Plant

Aloe vera needs moist soil and if you are giving it too much water it can lead to leggy aloe plants as leaves may seem droopy, some could become wet, watery and one or 2 leaves might turn to brown. This aloe vera leginess can make the leaves grow sideways and make it bad by the appearance of aloe vera plants. Even this too much moisture can invite pests that may eat the sap juice and make them have brown spots on leaves or it may be dried. 

Overwatered aloe plant legginess can be fixed by lowering the watering or should limit the schedule to water the aloe vera. You should always take care of one thing that does not water aloe vera if it’s damp or fully wet, you can check by inserting your index finger in soil and see if it’s dry. for dry soil put some water and if soil is wet then wait 2 more days. 

Locations where an aloe plant gets a good amount of sunlight have zero problem of overwatering while the place where it gets shade most of the time have damp soil or legginess due to overwatering problems.

Changing Pot

Sometimes legginess in aloe plants occurs due to pot bound and it creates pressure on the plant to grow leggy as there is no space to thrive it lowers the growing stem and overall growth pattern until they get enough space to spread. Aloe plant roots can spread in one position to another and if some of the leaves are getting leggy and grow sideways or look droopy then it needs a bigger pot to fix this issue.

You can also prune it to reduce the aloe plant size, by taking out the whole plant cutting off some of the bigger leaves and prune the thin roots of aloe will grow the plant normally plant again in the same pot.

What I do if I have the option is I will cut the cut from the base to propagate it in a new pot while the roots are left behind. It can be repotted by cutting bottom roots and letting it grow again on its own.

In starting aloe roots may need moist soil and more water once the roots are established, it will bring out some leaves and start growing again. This way you have 2 plants of aloe vera.

How do you repot leggy aloe vera?

Method to repot leggy aloe vera is done using a wide pot, well draining & fertile soil with good care for the initial days. Leggy Aloe vera can be saved with pruning after that you need to repot the whole plant in a bigger sized pot so aloe can have space to spread properly. Below I would be discussing removing the problem and making 2 aloe vera from a single plant.

Here are steps to repot leggy aloe vera:

  1. Find the leggy or too long stem that is bending sideways then you need to cut that stem or leaf and all those that seem limp or fall off downward, this can solve the legginess in aloe plants.
  2. Now Cut down the aloe plant from the base you may see white portion that is growing roots, you may need to cut from the middle so that it leaves some white portion for the plant and some white portion for the roots. These 2 parts one is the above shoot part and the other one is the roots. Root will eventually grow the plant again while the aloe plant’s above shoot part will be grown on the glass/jar of water for rooting. Once we see roots it can be transplanted to soil.
  3. If you don’t want 2 separate plants then I suggest pruning the leggy stems can solve the problem. Every year you should think about that and provide proper sunlight to your aloe plant.
  4. Also change the potting mix and replace your pot to a bigger size which will help your plant with a long stem problem as now the aloe plant can spread and grow in a larger pot so no legginess.
  5. Use a potting mix that works for succulents like aloe. I recommend using cactus and succulents by hoffman. It is well draining and has potential nutrients.
  6. Put this soil on the new pot and gently take out your aloe plant from the old pot using a trowel, hand rake, and a transplanter. If you don’t have these tools I have brought these you might also need this so here they are the gardening tools.
  7. Now put the plant in the new pot and give water to the plant so it can recover from the repotting shock. Give it time and place it in shade and move to parietal shade next day.
  8. It will grow again and enjoy now you have successfully repotted the long stem or leggy aloe vera plant.

 

What to do with aloe leaves that break off?

Aloe vera leaves that are already broken off, then just cut that leaf from the base and let the plant grow more fresh leaves. You can use a breaking off leaves on your face as it can heal the burns and rectify some face problems, otherwise this aloe vera leaf might become dark and turn black or dried fully. No use for a cut off leaf as it will only absorb nutrients but won’t grow or might increase the pest problem in aloe vera. After removing broken leaves from aloe vera new growth can be seen popping out from the base of aloe.

Will a broken aloe leaf grow back?

The simple Answer is No, you can’t grow aloe leaf that is already broken. Its plant duty is to regrow more such leaves and let the old ones dry up. And cutting off the broken leaves is a great solution because it won’t get any fruit or any growth. It will rot or dry and might turn brown black and won’t grow back.

How do you revive a dying aloe plant?

Aloe plants once they start dying it is very hard to revive them because long stems, leggy and bending downwards leaves can result in aloe vera no longer being saved. But If the legginess is only one part of the stem then you have other stems growing that can be repotted to other potting plants. Aloe plants are revived with pruning or repotting into new pots and making sure they get enough sunlight in the future. 

Propagation is a simple technique once you know where you need to make a cut and how to propagate it properly. I would give below a video so you know how propagation can be done in aloe plants.

 

We simply can’t take leaves of aloe vera and propagate them, but you need to cut from the base where you see the shoot(middle white part of leaf and root section). This can develop roots if taken out with leaves. Even without leaves this part certainly has rooting below on the soil so if you cut the whole plant from above and just leave with the half white shoot it will grow a new plant.

Once you are familiar with the cuttings you can have any problem in aloe vera plants.

How do you prune leggy aloe?

Trimming a leggy aloe plant can be done using pruners or cutting tools, with that use rubbing alcohol to clean the sharp blade so your plant don’t touch the disease. Now prune the infected aloe stem/leaf close from the base that’s it and give water to the aloe plant it will recover itself soon. Place the plant in shade initially then move it to partial shade of course now it should get sunlight so it won’t have a legginess this time to remember to place it in direct sunlight where it gets at least 4 hours of light.

Pruning is an effective technique to get rid of leggy aloe plants so if possible do prune your plant whenever you find dried, watery, damaged, diseased stems. Make sure they get enough sunlight and plenty of water.

Aloe vera is nowadays a most popular plant with benefits on skin and health. When it comes to trimming aloe plant you should collect the sap juice from aloe leaves so and apply it for sun burns, dry skin or acne. According to Baylor College of Medicine, These plants contain Vitamin C, A and has anti- anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for the human body. 

Aloe vera benefits can also be used to prevent the lines and wrinkles but you cannot expect that it would magically turn your skin to younger 20’s. Using it will definitely help but I would personally suggest to do exercise and it helps to slow down the ageing process, but yes we cannot stop it from happening that’s a harsh truth of life.

How to use the gel of aloe plant:

  1. Cut off one of the aloe vera leaves.
  2. slice the leaf until you see the transparent gel inside of it.
  3. You need to peel off all the gel.
  4. Applying it to the damaged part of skin, it will help the skin to moisturise and recover fast.

There are many products available in the market that use aloe vera gel, if you don’t want to do any slicing or peeling work then just take a look of my recommended products of aloe vera.

Organic Aloe Vera Gel for Face, Skin – Buy from Amazon

Why won’t my aloe plant stand up?

If your aloe plant can’t stand up because it has developed leggy growth or having too much water causes root rot that could lead to droopy, bending down the stem. To fix the aloe plant not standing up problem you can reduce the water intake by aloe vera or provide proper sunlight so it never has a legginess(thin stem growth).

Stem becoming too long and doesn’t able to stand properly is simply because of legginess and it is solved using pruning and changing location. You need to do both trimming and relocation of the plant as this problem can be crucial and might damage the plant in the long run. 

Some people might suggest propagating it but that is the last option you can do as well. 

Aloe vera varieties

Aloe vera has more than 400+ species so I am naming the popular ones.

  • Aloe Maculata
  • Aloe Broomii
  • Aloe Ferox
  • Aloe Aculeata
  • Aloe Perryi
  • Aloe Nyeriensis
  • Aloe Succotrina
  • Aloe Capitata, etc

Aloe plant too tall

If your aloe plant is getting too tall then just shorten it because they might be stretching for light source. It’s safe to remove the top half leaf and let it stay like that for a week for the plant to repair the prune damage. This issue is common in aloe plants and this stretching of leaves can be solved by changing the current location of the plant. Try the South Facing Window Area (if not occupied by other things) or find a place which gets lots of indirect sunlight that would be great for our aloe plant.

I would not recommend the cutting in winter months as the plant has slow growth and most get in dormant stage. You should also note not to overwater your aloe vera in November-December months. That time it was too cold, that’s why it is hard for any plant to recover completely.

Aloe plant growing sideways

Aloe plants grow sideways due to low light and where they get some source of light they roll over to that position. Normally they have a circular growth in sunlight and if it’s growing sideways that’s normal until it actually drops to 90 degrees. If the plant came with leaves standing up then it might be searching for light. 

And Don’t worry much because aloe vera doesn’t get all straight up, they do grow in narrow form growing sideways with 40 to 70 degree angle with more mature leafy growth. Also the solution is just change the location of your aloe vera and all things would get normal.

Final Words

This problem in aloe plants which are leggy or not standing is not new ,it happens to most plants and with that we deal according to the severity of the issue. You can follow my above guide. I have explained each and every factor with a solution so you may not go to any other place to find aloe plant long stem solution.

Amelia Clark

I am Amelia Clark, An experienced gardener with 6 years expertise and this is my blog talk about plants and flowers. See more about me.

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