Resolving the aloe problem

So here’s what I did to resolve my aloe problem: I attempted benign neglect as a resuscitation solution. This, my good readers, is the botanical equivalent of scrunching my eyes shut and wishing everything would go away. That being said, it had been recommended by commenters as an approach, so I assumed it would actually work.

Now, what Heather recommended was actually applying a bleach and water solution, and I admit I was too lazy to actually do that. But I did at least let the plant dry out, and then…

Aloe plant, dyingOK, that’s where I became exceptionally lazy. Although I kept reminding myself to go get some cactus mix potting soil, I also kept forgetting, and there was all that never-ending snow. And after awhile, I just shoved the plant back in the dirt it came with.

The other day, while washing dishes, I bumped the plant with my arm. It flipped right out of the pot, clearly unrooted, and when I picked it up to put it back in, I realized it was, most definitely, a very sick plant. The two final tentacles are mushy and a little bit gray, which is never a good idea for, you know, a plant that’s supposed to be green.

I’d hoped to at least give it a proper burial in the compost bin, but a this point, I worry about spreading its rot any further. Any advice (which, clearly, I may or may not follow) on that issue?

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15 Responses to “Resolving the aloe problem”


  1. 1 gillie March 3, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Oh dear, could it just have got too damp? Maybe a bit more drying out and plenty of sand and grit in the pot might just see it through the Iowa winter?

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener March 3, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Gillie, the thing is, it’s already so soft and unhealthy looking, and has really no roots to speak of anymore…I just can’t imagine it’s salvageable?

  3. 3 Survivalwoman March 3, 2008 at 8:19 am

    A FEw Years AGo I had an aloe i left outside for winter (As a beginner succulent collector in TX i thought it would be fine) It froze , imploded and went completely limp and black and rotting I left ot in the dirt , Hoping it would just survive and be effected by spring , I used Shears to cut off the rot , and let it wait , mid spring iut began sending out new leaves happily and years latter is a strong healthy plant , so i woul suggest repotiing it gently , shearing away the rot amd leaving it alone for a while , and pray. I really thought mine was a dead stump and then it had new leaves.

    sometimes i tell myself , my creator didnt give on me cause i look sick , so i won’t give up on my plants.

  4. 4 Girl Gone Gardening March 3, 2008 at 8:26 am

    And ehre I am overflowing with aloe….I had no idea you could kill em! Mine keeps sending out babies that I have to keep opulling off and planting up. If you lived close, I’d give you a whole carload of em.

  5. 5 gintoino March 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I don’t want to sound a pessimist, but I think that plant is beyond salvation. Probaby the soil was kept too moist (suculents should be guiven very little water, if any, during the cold months).

  6. 6 Mary R March 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Here’s what you do: Contrive to burn yourself while cooking, cut off one of the leaves above the rotted part, and squeeze the aloe goo onto the burn, which will begin to heal faster than you could imagine. Use it on any other injuries you may have. If the end seals up, cut it off and squeeze away, just as if it’s a toothpaste tube. Repeat with the other leaf. Throw the mushy part away. Then buy another aloe and don’t overwater it. Those are your orders.

  7. 7 Robin at Bumblebee March 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Okay, I’m about to confess here. I don’t waste my time on lost causes. With so many beautiful plants to take care of, I don’t want sickly, ugly, diseased or otherwise unattractive plants hanging around bringing me down.

    Now, if it is an especially sentimental plant or one that has a chance–and isn’t an eyesore, I will invest time in nursing. Otherwise, sayonara baby!

    I suggest you give yourself permission to let go!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  8. 8 Heather March 3, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Not that you listened to me the first time, lol, but my two cents is follow Mary R’s advice. Welcome to the club of well-meaning plant-owners who’ve killed houseplants with too much water. Thanks for the shout-out!

  9. 9 Jenn March 3, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Yep, chalk this one up to experience. And you are in company, I have a hard time with succulents, too. I have a jade plant that is currently in decline and I’m about to repot it, but I have no idea if that’s what it wants.

    You can safely add it to your compost. This is a climate thing, wet soil and persnickety succulents, rather than a blight or disease.

  10. 10 Gardenista March 3, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Poor aloe! I just glanced at mine yesterday and am excited to see it made a baby plant – I’m attributing this to the baby who toppled the plant and stand over, scattering dirt and plant everywhere. I repotted said plant and behold, look what it did! That’s my rather useless garden tip for you…and I would dispose of that dirt if it’s filled with rot…and go with the other commenters about getting a new plant!

  11. 11 trey March 5, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    My advice. Move! I know it doesn’t have anything to do with the aloe, but when home becomes the “fortress of solitude” its time for a change.
    I wont tease you by telling you what the high temperature was here today.

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener March 14, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Survivalwoman, that’s quite a story!

    Girl Gone Gardening, I would definitely come grab some if I could…

    Gintoino, the soil definitely got too moist…and it’s all my fault.

    Mary R, I like your solution!

    Robin, I think you probably have the most appropriate, pragmatic approach.

    Heather, I totally should have taken your advice…and, this time, I think I shall! Glad to be part of the club.

    Jenn, I will add it to the compost shortly, then.

    Gardenista, congrats on that baby plant!

    Trey, you may have the best advice of all…

  13. 13 jan March 15, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I have two pots of huge aloes outside in Houston shade that I never, ever water. When it rains, they get water. That’s it. They are bulging out of their pots with growth.

    With yours, I would quietly take it to the compost pile and dump it–dirt and all. Then turn around and walk away. It is over. Finished.

    On to tomatoes!!!!


  1. 1 They could have saved the aloe « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on March 5, 2008 at 7:28 pm

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