How to Root Aloe Vera and Transplant (Stems + Leaves)

New aloe vera plants are usually propagated from offshoots but can also be grown from stem and leaf cuttings. With proper planting and aftercare, aloe vera cuttings will grow roots within four weeks. However, transplanting shouldn’t be done until after the newly-rooted plants are fully mature. So, how do you root aloe plants and transplant them?

Cut up a mature aloe vera into stem segments of about 2-4 inches long and let the cut ends dry up. Fill growing pots with a well-draining potting mix dampened with a little water. Plant the cuttings in the medium and place them in a room with at least 70°F and indirect sunlight to root before transplanting them.

Can you grow aloe vera from a cutting?

You can propagate aloe vera from both stem and leaf cuttings. However, chances of success are much higher when stem cuttings are used compared to leaf cuttings. Also, for greater chances of success, aloe stem cuttings should be adequately processed before being rooted.

Pro tip: While aloe vera can be grown from cuttings, growing from offshoots/pups leads to the best success rates.

How to root an aloe vera plant

The best way to propagate aloe vera is by planting the offshoots/pups from the mother plant. However, it could be that the offshoots/aloe baby plants haven’t yet formed a complete root system. In this case, the best option for rooting this medicinal succulent is from the stem cuttings, as discussed below.

1. Cut the stem segments

When looking to root aloe vera from stem cuttings, cut out short sections of 2-4 inches long for best rooting. It’s also best to use a utility knife instead of a pair of scissors to avoid the formation of ragged edges on the cut ends.

2. Dry up the cut-out ends of the stems

Before potting your aloe vera stem cuttings, let the cut ends dry out in indirect sunlight for 7-10 days. Doing so helps to keep off fungal infections, thus boosting the rooting success rate. You’ll know that the stem cuttings are ready for potting when the cut-ends form calluses.

3. Prepare the growing medium

If you’re growing your aloe vera plants indoors, we recommend using plastic pots, clay pots, or terracotta pots. Each of these media has excellent moisture retention. They should also have drainage holes at the base for proper drainage.

Clean your growing pots and fill each of them with equal parts coarse sand, milled peat, and perlite. Add water until the mixture is slightly damp. Let the moisture seep into the potting mix for 10-15 minutes.

4. Plant the stem cuttings

Once you’ve prepped the potting mix and each of the growing pots is ready, plant the aloe vera stem cuttings by inserting the cut-out, callused ends vertically into the potting mix. For every cutting, ensure that at least half of the stem is buried into the potting mix. Then, press the potting mix against the cuttings to firmly hold them in place.

5. Undertake post-potting maintenance

After potting your aloe vera stem cuttings, you need to ensure the proper conditions to enhance the chances of rooting. This includes maintaining room temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and above. You also want to keep the aloe cuttings away from direct sunlight which will dry them out.

Sufficient moisture is also required for rooting to take place. If the top two inches of the potting mix completely dries out, wet it up again. However, you don’t want to apply too much water as a soggy soil mix will cause your aloe vera stem cuttings to rot.

6. Gradually expose them to sunlight until they acclimatize

Once you root and propagate your aloe plant, it is time to perform post-planting maintenance and care. Even after successful rooting, you should not neglect your young aloe plants, as they’re still susceptible to physical injury at this stage.

If you’re looking to move the rooted cuttings outdoors, start by exposing them to filtered sunlight before gradually increasing the amount of time that you expose them to direct sunlight. Keep this up until the young succulent can withstand up to six hours of full sunlight exposure without any signs of scorching on aloe leaves.

Meanwhile, to avoid overwatering, let the surface of the soil mix dry out completely between irrigation sessions.

If you’re looking to transplant the aloe vera plants from the growing pots to your outdoor garden, only do so once they’re fully mature. Ensure your transplanting site receives adequate sunlight and has well-draining soil.

Can you root aloe plant in water?

Aloe vera grows better when in soil but you can successfully grow it in water. However, aloe plants can only survive in water for up to 14 days. Only use water as a way of keeping your aloe offshoots alive as you prepare your potting media and soil mix.

You can also grow aloe vera plants hydroponically by suspending them with the roots submerged in water. Also, the plants’ light, oxygen, and nutrient needs have to be met to increase the chances of keeping them alive when growing in water.

Here’s how to cut aloe vera and grow it in water:

1. Clean the roots to remove all soil

Remove any soil that’s still attached to the roots of the aloe vera offshoot that you’d earlier divided from the mother plant. While doing so, take care not to cut or tear the aloe vera roots.

2. Prep your bud vase or water bottle

Fill a bud vase halfway with distilled water. If you don’t have a bud vase, a plastic bottle is an effective alternative. The goal is to create a funnel that keeps the aloe plant suspended without totally submerging it, much like the throat of a bud vase.

To do this, cut out the top end of the empty water bottle before turning it upside down and inserting it into the bottom section.

3. Plant your aloe vera offshoot

Now, insert the aloe pup into the bud vase or plastic bottle until the roots are submerged in water at least halfway. The exposed half of the roots that aren’t submerged will help to draw in oxygen from the atmosphere.

4. Replace the water after every few days

After planting your aloe vera offshoot hydroponically, make sure you regularly replace the water in the bud vase. Doing so not only avails a fresh supply of nutrients to keep the aloe vera plant alive, but also wards off algae infestation.

You can also boost the growth rate of your aloe vera plant in water by meeting its light, oxygen, and nutrient requirements. Ideally, you want to expose your water-grown aloe to bright, but filtered sunlight. This will prevent leaf burn.

Meanwhile, adding some liquid fertilizer to the water in which the aloe pup grows will also enhance its growth rate. However, we only recommend only adding limited fertilizer doses to avoid nitrogen burn.

Note: Water as a growing medium only works for aloe offshoots/pups since they have roots. You cannot propagate aloe vera stem cuttings or leaf cuttings hydroponically.

Can you root an aloe leaf?

You can successfully regrow aloe plants from leaf cuttings. Cut off aloe vera leaves in sections of about 3.5 inches long. Keep the leaf segments lie in a warm spot for about 14 days so that calluses can form over the cut ends then plant them in a well-draining potting mix.

Once the leaf cuttings are ready for planting, prep your potting media and soil mix. A commercial cactus soil mix will suffice, as aloe vera is a succulent too and thrives in the same soil conditions as cactus. Now, insert the cut-out ends of the leaves into the potting soil, making sure that at least half of the cutting goes below the soil mix.

Finally, ensure post-potting aftercare by regularly watering the plant for the first 28 days. This will ensure that the leaf cuttings root faster. You should also avail optimal temperature and sunlight conditions.

Here are important tips when rooting aloe leaves:

  • Cut the leaves using a sharp, well-sterilized knife to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • Allow calluses to form on the cut ends of the leaves to prevent fungal infections.
  • Avoid overwatering aloe vera leaves that are freshly propagated because the young roots can easily suffer from root rot.

The success rate of rooting aloe leaves is very low and you have to stick to the proper propagation process for this to work. I’d recommend using this method only when you’ve already propagated all the aloe offshoots and stem cuttings from the mother plant.

Note: Remember, aloe vera plants propagated from leaf cuttings may not appear as healthy as those propagated from stem cuttings or offshoots. Typically, they’ll appear wrinkled.

How long does it take for an aloe cutting to grow roots?

Healthy aloe vera stem cuttings and leaf cuttings will root in about 28 days. However, under low temperature and minimal light conditions, they may take up to six weeks or longer. Also, aloe leaf cuttings typically take slightly longer than stem cuttings to grow roots.  

You can always test for successful root anchorage by lightly tugging the cuttings at the base. If you want your aloe vera cutting to grow roots faster, ensure you provide optimal water, sunlight, temperature, and soil conditions.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033982/

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