How to Propagate Aloe

Overview

According to Diane Gage, author of "Aloe Vera: Nature's Soothing Healer," evidence of humans using aloe vera dates as far back as 4000 BC to carvings of the plant on Egyptian coffins and walls. Although you might not want to use aloe vera gel for a beauty treatment, as Queen Cleopatra supposedly did, the aloe vera has medicinal uses that make it an ideal plant to share with others; simply breaking a leaf from a mature aloe plant and rubbing the gel on your skin can minimize discomfort from mild skin problems, such as burns and blisters. Rather than growing new plants from seed, which is a time-consuming and often unsuccessful process, you can easily propagate aloe by separating young offshoots from your main aloe plant.

Step 1

Check your mature aloe vera plant for pups (young offspring). Look around the base of your plant for short, pointy offshoots that are at least 2 inches tall. Push back the potting soil from the base of the offshoots to ensure that each one has a small set of roots; according to Gage, your plants will grow better with a strong, healthy root system. Aim to remove no more than three to four offshoots at one time to make your propagation job easier and to minimize stress to the main aloe plant.

Step 2

Grasp the base of each aloe pup between your thumb and fingers. Slice straight through any connecting tissue between the pup and the main plant using a small, sharp knife. Lift the aloe pup from the main plant, making sure the roots don't break off in the soil as you pull the offshoot away.

Step 3

Spread a layer of newspaper across a flat surface. Lay the freshly-cut aloe pups on the newspaper with the cut side exposed to the air. Leave them for two to three days to allow the cuts to dry and heal; according to Arizona Cooperative Extension, this practice keeps diseases from harming the new plants.

Step 4

Fill each new pot with potting soil up to about one inch from the top edge. Place each aloe pup's root system in the soil and gently pack additional soil around it to keep the new plant upright in the soil. Add enough water to thoroughly moisten the soil in each new pot. Allow the soil to dry completely before again watering your new aloe plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Mature aloe vera plant
  • Knife
  • Newspaper
  • Potting soil
  • Pots
  • Water

References

  • "Aloe Vera: Nature's Soothing Healer;" Diane Gage; 1996
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Growing Aloe Plants
Keywords: propagating aloe, aloe vera plants, growing aloe vera, starting aloe vera

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.