Aloe Vera is commonly found in most houses. It is easy to grow and needs less maintenance.
The only challenge is preventing the leggy aloe vera growth. There are many reasons responsible for leggy aloe plants.
Stretchy aloe vera means your plant is uncomfortable and it needs more care. It is a sign that tells something is wrong with it.
In most cases, low light, excessive use of water, and Overfertilization are the main causes of stretchy aloe vera leaves and stems.
To fix this issue in your plants, first, you need to understand the root cause of it.
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Why does Your Aloe Vera Suddenly Become Leggy?
In scientific language, the stretchy behavior of aloe vera is called Etiolation. Plants only stretch their stems when the light, moisture, or warmth are out of their reach.
They stretch their growth to get close to these needs.
Without wasting time let’s study the most common causes of stretchy growth in aloe vera plants.
This is the main cause in most cases. When you put your aloe plant in low light.
It starts stretching its stems towards the light source. To get a sufficient amount of light for its survival.
This is the natural mechanism of plants to full fill their light needs when grown indoors.
Stretchy growth is not harmful for the plant health. It just reduces the beauty of your plant.
Moreover, in low light locations, Aloe Vera plants lose their natural green color and the leaves start turning white.
The green color of their leaves is due to the successful photosynthesis and sufficient production of chlorophyll.
Weak aloe plants are easy targets for diseases and pests.
Overuse of Fertilizers
The best thing about this plant is it needs fewer fertilizers than other houseplants in its category. Generally, it needs general-purpose houseplant fertilizer once a year only in the spring season.
Overuse of fertilizers will not speed up its growth. In fact, all extra nutrients will burn the plant leaves and give leggy look to your aloe plant.
Aloe vera is a slow-growing plant therefore it only needs nutrients that are already in the soil. They are enough for it to become a healthy plant.
Rather than using the costly fertilizer, it is best to use highly fertile soil. To increase soil fertility, you can mix compost in it.
Compost is a cheap and best fertilizer. By using it you will have organic aloe vera and also save some money.
There are many brands that sell special aloe vera fertilizers. But you don’t need to buy them because aloe needs very less fertilizer.
General-purpose houseplant fertilizer is best for this plant. I am using it for years and all my plants are healthy, disease-free, and thriving.
Excessive Use of Water
Aloe vera is a succulent plant and we all know succulents need less water. Aloe vera plants store a good amount of moisture in their thick leaves.
Then later it uses the stored moisture to full fill its watering needs.
But when you overwatered Aloe Vera like tropical plants. Then aloe vera gets shocked by the sudden increase in moisture.
To save its life aloe rapidly start growing new stems to store this extra amount of given water.
To avoid this problem, you need to learn the watering technique. The general rule is to allow the top 2 inches of the potting soil to dry.
Then grab the watering can and give a few ounces of water to your plant.
Small Pot Size
If the pot you are using to grow your plant is small. Then you will definitely see leggy growth.
Because in small size pots aloe roots do not find enough room to grow. Then they spend their full energy on growing stems.
The stems will grow long and look stretchy. This destroys the naturally beautiful appearance of your succulent.
Aloe vera is adaptable like other succulent plants. It needs repotting once the pot becomes small for its size. But when you do not change the pot.
Then your plant starts stretching its roots and stems to find extra space and water for them. This results in the leggy appearance of aloe vera.
55 to 80 degrees F is the temperature range for healthy aloe vera. But when you place it in direct sunlight and the temperature goes above 80 F.
The aloe plant starts spreading its stems in all directions to overcome the effect of extra heat and hot air.
No doubt it needs warm weather to grow but this does not mean you can grow it above 80 degrees F.
How can you fix leggy aloe vera?
As I said leggy aloe vera is not harmful because it is the natural defense system of the plant. If you like its looks then no need to do anything.
But most people do not like the leggy looks of their aloe vera plants.
And in most cases, it is hard to stop aloe from stretching its growth. Therefore, my advice is to take every step carefully.
Trim Leggy Parts
The perfect solution to leggy aloe is trimming the overgrowth. By pruning it you are encouraging the plant to grow bushier and strong.
Right after pruning, it may look weak and sad. But within a few days, you will see the difference in its overall health.
Also cut and remove the parts that are dead, mushy, and infected.
Tools you need for pruning:
- A pair of sterilized scissors, shears, or a sharp knife.
- Use 10% bleach to disinfect all the tools.
- Wear garden gloves
How to Prune Leggy Growth of Aloe Vera?
Inspect your plant before making a decision about pruning. Check if it is leggy from one side or top. In some cases, we saw the entire plant is leggy.
Mark the brown and dead parts of the plant.
Mark those stem that you want to keep. Also, keep in mind which stems you want to cut and from which part.
(b) Trim and Clean
Now it’s the time for real action. Cut all the leggy and floppy stems that are spoiling the plant’s looks.
Also, snip off dry damaged unhealthy leaves. Brown Aloe Vera leaves are already seriously infected. You should also cut them with a knife.
Having pruning shears is necessary at the time of trimming. Because you should cut the large stems without damaging the base of the plant.
It is only possible when you have pruning shears.
After cutting the stems it is time to clean the plant. Do not allow the exposed cuts to dirt, soil, or water. This will result in fungus growth.
To speed up the recovery phase you must snip the aloe offshoots. They suck the energy of plants and this delays their recovery.
(c) Remove Dead Parts
It is good to remove dry and dead leaves and stems. You should make a clean cut while removing them.
A clean-cut will encourage the plant to grow a healthy stem from the cut.
This will also save nutrients that are going into the damaged stems. Your plant will have full storage of nutrients and this action will speed up the new growth.
After pruning, your plant lost stored nutrients in the stems. To full fill this loss you should give filtered water to your plant.
Keep the plant at a temperature between 55 to 80 degrees F.
Allow the potting soil to completely dry between watering.
Repotting Leggy Aloe Plant
After removing the leggy parts of the plant. It is best to repot it in fresh soil. This step is mandatory to keep the aloes healthy and vibrant.
Follow the below tips
- Unpot your leggy plant and remove the soil from its roots
- Check the roots closely for signs of fungus
- Cut the infected parts of the roots
- You should also cut the overly grown roots
- Fill the cactus potting soil in the new pot
- Place your plant in it and fill the remaining pot with the mix.
- You should use a large container than the existing pot
- Place the newly repotted plant in indirect bright light for its good health. Keep the soil moist all time.
Use Correct Size of Pot
Most of the time people get confused about how to pick the right size pot for their aloe vera plant. Choosing the correct size pot is simple.
There must be a 1-inch space between aloe vera roots and pot walls. It will be the best pot for growing aloe vera.
Wider and less deep containers are always good for leggy aloe vera.
To prevent stretch growth of aloe vera you should give it 5 to 6 hours of bright light per day. Remember that this plant needs warm weather to grow.
By absorbing light energy for long hours aloe vera keep its tissues warm.
But do not expose it to direct sunlight. Too much exposure to high-intensity light can damage the plant leaves
Sunburn is a common problem with outdoor growing aloe vera plants.
By growing them in pots you are free to move them at any place according to the plant requirements.
To speed up the growth of aloe vera we increase the room temperature. But when it is already overgrown and leggy then you need to do the opposite.
Keep the temperature low and your plant will slow down its growing speed.
Set temperature between 55 to 80 degrees F. If it goes above 85 F your aloe vera will start growing rapidly as a result you will have leggy plants.
To keep a record of grow room temperature. You can install a room temperature monitoring device.
It will trigger an alarm when the temperature drops below or above the set value.
How to grow thick aloe vera leaves?
Aloe vera plants that do not get proper sunlight, do not grow thicker leaves. You should provide 6 to 7 hours of bright light to your plant.
- Also, use the correct size of pot so that the root does not get bound in the pot. They need space and fresh air to make the plant thicker.
- Supply a good amount of succulent nutrients to give a nutritional boost to your repotted plant.
- Pinch the leaf tips and this will encourage thick leaves.
- Regularly trim your plant to cut and remove dry and dead parts. This way you help your plant to save its energy from being wasted.
How to grow aloe vera from leaf?
For fast results, it is best to grow aloe vera from pups. But you can also grow it from a leaf. Following is the process.
- The first thing you need is a terracotta pot and succulent potting mix.
- Then lay flat the leaf over the potting soil
- Gently push the leaf into the soil just a bit.
- Water the soil to keep it moist. Do not allow the soil to dry out.
- Within 10 days you will see the new growth. This indicates your success story.