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Problems With Aloe Plants

aloe image by Lily Forman from

Aloe vera plants are fairly simple plants to maintain, but can perish when given too much attention. These plants, which are a member of the succulent family, maintain their moisture levels fairly well without frequent watering and can become sickly if the soil is too moist. They also require quite a bit of sunlight and too little (or too much) can damage the plant's leaves.

Droopy, Mushy Leaves

If an aloe vera plant has droopy or mushy leaves, that's a sign that it is being overwatered. Aloe plants don't really operate on a timetable. Rather, they just need to be watered when the soil feels completely dry to the touch. To combat root and leaf rot, plant aloe vera in a sandy, cactus-mix soil. Water the plants about once a week during the summer, but cut back to once or twice a month during the winter months. Always check the soil before watering aloe vera plants. If it feels even slightly damp, hold off.

Spots on the Leaves

If your aloe vera plant has developed orange or brown spots on its leaves, this is a symptom of sunburn. It is true that these plants should rest in a sunny area, but the sun can also backfire if the plant isn't used to it. When moving the plant outdoors in the summer, place it in a shady area for about a week, then reposition it in a partially sunny spot. This will keep the hot sun from burning the delicate leaves. After it has been outside for a few weeks, it can rest in a more directly sunny area.

Dark, Shriveled Leaves

Dark, shriveled leaves usually mean that lack of sunlight or a sudden frost has damaged the aloe vera plant. Even in the winter, aloe vera plants require a fair amount of sunlight. However, some people err by positioning the plant on a windowsill, up against the frosty glass. This can freeze the plant. For best results, place the plant on a table several feet from a window, where it will receive the benefit of at least partial sunlight but won't freeze. If a frost is predicted, move the plant indoors.

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