Monday, September 10, 2012

LIVE: Separate Your Aloe Plant (without killing them all)


I bought this adorable little aloe plant 5 years ago when it was only 4 inches tall.  Now, it's over 2 feet tall and reproduces like Gremlins in a hurricane.  The pot I have it in is rather large, but it was ready to bust because of all the spawn popping up.  So it was time for the little babies to leave the nest and find their own pots to inhabit.  I break down the process of separating baby aloe plants from the mama plant for you with the final outcome of them all surviving the transition.  It's been about 2 months since I actually did this, and I'm happy to say mama and babies are all alive and thriving!


Depending on how crowded your pot is, this can be tricky.  Gently move the plants out of the way to determine where the stems are.  Begin digging gently with your fingertips, feeling for the roots and carefully moving dirt away from them. 


Each baby connects to the main root of the mama.  Break the main baby root from the main mama root gently.  This should be the only root you break.  Try to keep the little ones intact as much as possible.


As long as you have about this much root left after digging up, your babies should thrive in their new home.  Make sure to bury the roots deeply so that the soil can help support the top heavy mass of the aloe plant.


Our mama was so huge that my husband had to use two hands to hold her up.  Look at that root system! 


All in all, we ended up with 6 babies out of this litter.  These will be going to good homes in the near future.  They just need a little more TLC before they're sent off.

Anytime you transplant something it's a pretty traumatizing experience for the plant.  The first few weeks are critical to watch the babies as they adapt to their new pots.  Normally, I only water my aloe plant once a week, but for the first week after transplanting, I water everyday.  This is to ensure that the roots don't go into shock and that the soil settles around the root system.  After the first week, just keep them near a window with lots of sun and water once a week.

I'm in the process of experimenting with rooting broken pieces of other cacti as well, so if I find success, I'll share a tutorial on that as well!  (That came about from my cats continually knocking my pots off the window sills and finding broken branches on the counter...)

We will also be sharing recipes and ideas for how to use the aloe plant's gel! 





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3 comments:

  1. Wow I didn't even know aloe plants had babies, I have some I bet if I actually look they have some I need to separate. Thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from Whimsically Homemade!

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    Replies
    1. Another helpful hint is that if you keep repotting into a bigger space, the plant will keep growing bigger and having more babies! Since I repotted this one, my plant has sprouted 3 new babies already!

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  2. I don't know if you already know this, but aloe gel works great for mosquito bites, cat scratches, blackberry scratches as well as sunburn (or any burns), etc. I love, love, love my aloe plant.

    I was surprised to hear that you water once a week though and especially that you watered every day after separating. Aloes are a succulent so they store water and don't need to be watered very often. It can cause them to rot.

    Also, if you cut a little piece off your aloe to use for something it can be stored in the fridge for at least two weeks in a baggie or sealed container. It will turn color, but still works just fine.

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