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7 Mistakes That Cause Aloe to Die (And How To Revive It)

Aloe plants are admired for their striking beauty and unique appearance, making them a popular choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts. As more people fall in love with aloe, it’s important to note that, like any plant, it can be a bit fussy at times.

The primary cause of aloe plants dying is root rot, which usually results from overwatering. To help an aloe plant recover, water it only after the soil in the pot has fully dried out. Ensuring the plant has proper drainage is also crucial for its health.

1. Too Much Water

Aloe dying due to root rot.

Aloe dying due to root rot.

Aloe is a type of succulent that stores significant water in its leaves, a trait that enables it to withstand long periods without rain in its natural habitat. However, if you water your aloe too regularly, you might give it more moisture than it can handle, leading to root rot. Signs that your aloe is in distress include yellowing leaves and brown spots.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Gently remove the aloe from its pot and shake off all the soil from the roots.
  2. Rinse the roots and cut away any decayed parts.
  3. Apply hydrogen peroxide to the cut areas to prevent infection.
  4. Repot the aloe in a well-draining succulent mix, choosing a pot with adequate drainage holes.
  5. Place the plant in an area away from direct sunlight and hold off on watering.
  6. Once new growth appears at the center of the plant, start watering it and slowly introduce it to more sunlight.
  7. To prevent future issues, water your aloe only after the soil has completely dried out.

2. Poorly Drained Soil

Aloe dying because of poorly drained soil.

Aloe dying because of poorly drained soil.

Often, the type of soil used can hinder an aloe plant’s growth or even lead to its demise. Standard potting soil has a tendency to become overly compact and retain moisture for too long, which might suit some plants but definitely not aloe.

Another issue could be the lack of space in the pot, leading to the roots growing in a tight circle and becoming rootbound. This not only restricts growth but also causes the roots to push out soil, resulting in a nutrient deficiency for the plant.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Repot the aloe into a bigger pot to give its roots more room to grow.
  2. Opt for a special succulent soil mix that ensures better drainage and aeration.
  3. Choose a pot with at least six large drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating.
  4. Make sure to let the soil dry out completely before you water the plant again.

3. Lack of Direct Sunlight

Aloe dying because of lack of light.

Aloe dying because of lack of light.

Sunlight is vital for the well-being of succulents, and aloe vera is no different. It requires sufficient direct sunlight to flourish; without it, the plant’s growth will be stunted, eventually leading to its demise.

In the absence of direct sunlight, an aloe plant will begin to consume its stored energy. Over time, this will exhaust the plant, leading to browning and dying of the outer leaves. The leaves will also turn a pale green color. Without intervention, the aloe may not survive.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Start by removing any dead or dying leaves.
  2. Relocate the plant to a spot where it can receive 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily, ideally in front of an east-facing window.
  3. Gradually acclimate the aloe to the increased sunlight to prevent shock.

4. Temperature Stress

Cold snap

Aloe dying because of a cold snap.

Aloe thrives in warm conditions and is not just vulnerable to frost but also dislikes cold, even if it’s above freezing. While it might not show immediate distress, repeated exposure to cool temperatures will eventually hinder its growth.

Keeping aloe in environments below 50°F (10°C) can cause damage, leading to mushy leaves over time. Without a change in conditions, the plant is likely to perish, and the likelihood of stem rot also increases in cooler climates.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Relocate the plant to an area with temperatures between 60°F-80°F (15°C-27°C).
  2. Temporarily reduce watering and sunlight exposure to help the plant recover more comfortably.
  3. Any damaged leaves will eventually dry out and should be removed.
  4. Once the aloe begins to show signs of revival, you can move it back to its usual spot and resume regular watering.
  5. Avoid placing the aloe near cold drafts, such as those from a window, refrigerator, or air conditioner.

5. Sun Damage

Too much sun

Aloe dying because of too much sun.

Aloe prefers a bit of shade since its leaf cells can be damaged by intense sunlight. Under such strong exposure, aloe may enter a dormant state to minimize harm to its new leaves.

Signs of too much sun include brown burn marks on the leaves and a significant slowdown in growth, with the leaves shriveling.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Trim away the damaged leaves.
  2. Shift the aloe gradually to a spot where it can enjoy about 5 hours of morning sunlight, which is gentler.
  3. Ease the plant into any new light conditions slowly to avoid shock.
  4. Avoid placing the aloe in direct sunlight for the entire day to prevent further damage.

6. Pest Infestation

Aloe dying because of aphids.

Aloe dying because of aphids.

Dealing with pests is a common challenge for aloe enthusiasts. A significant increase in pest numbers can have a drastic impact on the health of the plant, with some pests having the potential to kill it.

Sucking insects pose the greatest threat to aloe plants. This group includes pests like thrips, mealybugs, and scale insects, but aphids are the most frequently encountered. These small bugs target the aerial parts of the aloe, draining the plant’s vital fluids and significantly hindering its growth.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. Try to remove the pests manually or by rinsing them off with water when feasible.
  2. Apply horticultural oil to the aloe plant to effectively deal with the infestation.
  3. If the problem persists, a second application of the oil may be necessary.

7. Diseases

Disease

Aloe dying because of disease.

Succulents, including aloe, are particularly prone to fungal diseases due to the high water content in their leaves. When aloe is affected by such diseases, it can begin to deteriorate rapidly.

The telltale signs of fungal infection include yellowing leaves with brown spots or mold, halted growth, and a pale coloration.

Here’s how you can help your aloe recover:

  1. First, remove any dead or severely affected leaves.
  2. Treat the aloe with a broad-spectrum fungicide to target the disease.
  3. Follow up with a spray containing copper, which is effective against a wide range of fungal pathogens.
  4. Ensure the plant receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight daily and is placed in an area with good air circulation.
  5. Be cautious not to overwater the aloe, as excessive moisture can exacerbate fungal problems.