How to Prune an Aloe Plant

Overview

Aloe plants are very popular as houseplants and used widely for their medicinal purposes. There are more than 250 species in the world. The subtropical succulent can be grown outdoors, but only in the warmest areas, so they are more often kept inside. The gel inside the leaves is used as an ointment for rashes, burns and cuts. It is also an ingredient in many beauty products--especially creams. Prune an aloe plant to control its size and access the beneficial substance inside.

Step 1

Prune aloe leaves to get to the medicinal gel inside. Select an outside leaf and pull it away from the rest of the plant. Cut it close to the base, avoiding injury to other leaves. As the gel dries up, make other cuts along the removed leaf to access more gel.

Step 2

Remove leaves that are brown, dying or dead. Those on the outside of the plant may turn yellow, which indicates the aloe is getting too big for the pot. Trim some of the outside leaves to give the rest of the aloe more room.

Step 3

Trim outside leaves that appear healthy to keep the aloe's size under control. Make the cut as low as possible.

Step 4

Cut off new growth as it appears. Aloes produce offshoots, which look like small plants growing from the bottom of the parent aloe. Each one will eventually become a full-sized aloe, so remove them to keep the size and shape under control. You can plant the offshoots in new pots if you'd like to create more aloe houseplants.

Step 5

Remove rosettes that grow on outdoor aloes. These are large flower stalks that can achieve heights of 30 feet. They can topple the plant over and cause a hazard. Cut the stalks off at their base, since they die shortly after the flowers bloom anyway.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful not to cut into leaves that you want to keep on the aloe plant because this will damage them and slow down their growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Kitchen knife
  • Gardening gloves

References

  • The Garden Helper: How to Grow and Care for Aloe Plants
  • CoolExotics.com: Agave americana
  • Free Aloe Plant: Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Help

  • DoItYourself.com: Should You Prune Your Aloe Vera?
Keywords: prune an aloe plant, trim aloe, prune aloe

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.