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How to Propagate Aloe? 10 Simple Steps

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What’s more attractive than a fleshy and lush aloe vera plant? Few plants can reach such a level of beauty and still withstand practically any environment. 

But although it is a modestly easy-to-grow and sturdy plant, aloe vera is one of those succulents that require a bit of work to propagate. 

Luckily for you, it’s not too hard either. Follow our steps, and you can learn how to propagate aloe without getting frustrated. Below, we explain a bit more about them – so keep scrolling!

Methods to Propagate Aloe Vera

Propagating aloe vera doesn’t have to be a chore. If you pick the right method, the process is often straightforward and requires no less than a day or two. But it depends on what method you choose. Here are a few to consider: 

Propagating from Leaf Cuttings 

Propagating from Leaf Cuttings

Some people try propagating using leaf cuttings. The process is simple: you cut a fleshy leaf, spread root hormone liquid on the damaged area, and then plant it.

Other people get the cut leaf and place it on water. Supposedly the roots start to grow within a week or so. In that case, it’s time to get it into potting soil.

But regardless of how you proceed, leaf cuttings rarely work. Waiting for the roots to grow, even with root hormone, can take weeks. And in most cases, the roots never grow.

That’s why you’re better off ignoring this alternative. 

Propagating from Seeds

Propagating from Seeds

A slightly more effective way to propagate aloe vera is using seeds. Like the name of the method says, you need to find the seeds first. Most plant nurseries sell these seeds, especially the ones that focus on desertic plants or succulents. Don’t use seeds from backyards as cross-pollination makes them useless. 

To plant the seeds, do it pretty much like with any other species. They require a lot of sunlight to sprout. Sometimes, up to 10 hours are essential for the seeds to grow.

In case you can’t provide that much sunlight, you’ll have to use grow lights. And that can be somewhat expensive.

Despite doing all of that, your seeds still don’t have too much chance of growth. Worst of all, it may take anywhere from a month up to 3 months or more to see any result. 

Propagating from Pups

Propagating from Pups

While propagating from leaf cuttings and seeds is often not practical most of the time, there’s an alternative.

That would be the propagation of pups. Also known as offsets, it refers to the children from the aloe vera plant.

They grow under the mother plant and are easy to repot. Because they aren’t cuttings or seeds, they tend to grow quickly and require little to no care. In fact, they demand the same thing as a mother plant. It shouldn’t be much of a problem to propagate them. 

But this method, while effective, it is not the easiest. That’s why we decided to explain it below, in 11 steps. Check them up!

How to Propagate Aloe Vera in 10 Steps

How to Propagate Aloe Vera

A quick and effective way to give your aloe vera pups a new place to live: we’re going to teach you everything you need to know to get those offsets growing separately. 

This will help you either build an entire succulent garden or create pots of aloe vera to give away to your friends, family, or loved ones. Regardless of the purpose, here’s how to make it happen: 

1. Find the Pups

While they often grow under their mother, they are not always easy to spot. That’s why you must look for them.

In some cases, even when the mother plant is several years old, these pups aren’t anywhere to be seen. When that happens, there’s a chance they’re growing underground still.

Still-growing pups who don’t have leaves sticking out the dirt are probably no good. They’ll need some time to keep growing. In that case, you’ll have to wait at least a few months.

Otherwise, you will spot the offsets the right way. They will look like tiny aloes growing underneath the mother or probably even sticking out already. If that’s the case, proceed to the second step.

2. Get Plants Out

Once you have the pups in sight, it’s time to get them out of the main pot or garden. But for that, you’ll have to get everything out—meaning, the mother plant with all of its pups.

This is because the mother plant is often attached to its offsets and you need to prepare their roots beforehand.

You must take everything carefully out of their main place. Especially if you’re growing aloe vera alongside other species, you don’t want to be too harsh.

More importantly, be careful with the roots. Taking the aloe vera too harshly can cause irreparable damage to the mother plant and its pups. 

3. Untangle & Clean the Roots

With the plants out, now it’s time to clean their roots off the soil. Getting rid of the dirt from the old pot or garden will be essential if you want them to get accustomed to the new one faster.

In some cases, you will need to untangle the roots first. As offsets grow from their mother roots, you may have to use a knife to cut the knot off.

Try to only cut the tangled areas. For maximum results, avoid cutting the roots directly, especially close to the leaves. This is especially true for the pups. 

NOTE: You’ll want to take as much time and care as possible in this step. Tiny aloes are pretty fragile, so you’ll want to do it as perfectly as possible. 

4. Search for Damage

After cleaning and untangling the roots, you’ll see whether they’re in a good state or not. Most of the time, the roots should be looking brownish, with a bit of dirt but solid. There shouldn’t be any sign of moisture or excessive humidity. If that’s the case, you’re probably looking at a sick aloe.

Rotten roots like this will need to be cut off. If the root is entirely rotten, then your only option will be to cut it completely. This may still work, so don’t thrash the rootless plants out.  

5. Let the Pups Dry

Let the Pups Dry

Regardless of the state of the roots, you’ll have to let them dry for a bit. You can do the same with the mother aloe as well without consequences.

The process is easy. Just place the offsets in cardboard, a piece of wood, or newspaper. Something harmless, somewhere dark, and preferably dry to prevent any damage.

Leave the offsets drying for 24 hours. Try to keep them away from sunlight to prevent unwanted scorching.

Once the roots have dried, they will eliminate the humidity that often causes the plant to grow slower. In some cases, the roots will develop a callus after drying. This is a good sign.  

6. Prepare the Soil

After the pups have dried or even while they do, we recommend preparing the potting soil mix. You can also use garden soil, obviously. But because you’re starting them as small offsets, it’s potting soil that works best.

Either way, it should be a highly fertilized mix with a bit of compost if possible. What’s more important, it should be dry and well-draining. 

This combination should provide more-than-enough nutrients for the aloe pups to thrive. 

7. Prepare the Pots for the Pups

Now it’s time to pour the soil on the new pots. Here, you need to find pots that are at least 4 inches in diameter. Remember, the pups are tiny right now, but aloes can grow large and wide.

With the pots in hand, fill them up with the soil mix. You shouldn’t fill them all, though—only about 70% of the way.

At first, let the soil rest for a bit. This will give it a bit of air. Then you can compact it lightly to make sure the aloe fits firmly and can catch its nutrients more effectively. 

8. Repot the Pups

Repot the Pups

With the offsets ready (roots dry) and the potting soil in place, you can now proceed to plant them. It shouldn’t be much of a problem.

First, use your index finger to open a small hole in the center. You can also use a stick. This hole should be broad and deep enough for the aloe pup to fit inside.

Then place the offset in the hole. Go slowly to prevent any damage to the roots. Dig it until the plant’s base (where the leaves come from) is at surface level. 

Once there, add a bit more soil to the pot, covering the base slightly. Don’t compact too much, or avoid doing it at all. The roots will need some space to grow. 

9. Replant the Aloe Back

After repotting the offsets, you’re almost ready. Just don’t forget to give the mother aloe a place to live too.

We recommend taking it to the same place as before. But if you want to change the soil for a new mix, that wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Be careful when planting the mother aloe, though. It needs to be at the same depth as it was before. Otherwise, the roots may not act as you expect and cause a bit of stunting.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem, as mature plants are often easier to plant. 

10. Let the Pups Root Down

You’re almost done now. It’s time to let the offsets grow. This should take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Don’t expect instant results like other plants. Aloe vera, as a succulent, takes some time to grow.

Regardless, it is important not to water too much at first. In fact, it’s recommended to avoid watering it all during the first 5 to 7 days. This will let the roots get accustomed to the soil quicker. 

Once this period has passed, you can start watering once every two or three days. After some time, you’ll see the sprouts growing unstoppably. 

How to Take Care of Aloe Vera Plant Pups 

Take Care of Aloe Vera Plant Pups

With the offsets growing, you’ll want to know how to ensure it never stops, especially if you live in a place with four seasons. 

Here are a few tips to consider if you want to give your aloe vera pups the perfect place to live:

  • Never overwater aloe vera, whether it is a pup or a mature plant. Once or twice a week should be enough.
  • Don’t let the pups get full sun. About 4 to 6 hours a day should be enough. Even less if you live in a tropical or mainly sunny place.
  • Fertilize only once or twice a year. After planting in highly fertilized and nutrient-rich soil, you won’t need to do it any time soon.
  • Keep the pups away from snow or freezing temperatures for the first two or three months. This is especially useful if the pup was rootless. 

Now, that should be enough to get your aloe vera to propagate in a garden or in pots.

Conclusion

So, did you learn what you were looking for?

We can say that learning how to propagate aloe vera is not an especially hard thing. However, it’s still some work. 

If you aren’t careful, you may end up with stunted aloes. In the worst case, they won’t grow at all.

But that’s only if you don’t follow our steps and tips to the letter. If you do, we promise it will go exactly how you want.

Anyway, what are you waiting for? Get those new aloes to propagate now! 

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