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How to Revive an Aloe Plant

aloe vera image by Magdalena Mirowicz from

Aloe is a succulent plant that originated in southern and eastern Africa. It has been used for more than 4,000 years for medicinal purposes and is available in more than 400 varieties. A common houseplant, aloe is hardy and requires little care. It is susceptible to root rot, or pythium, when planted indoors. Careful watering practices must be followed to avoid this disease. The stems of the plant will become discolored from a combination of too much moisture and a fungus in the soil. When this occurs, it's possible to revive the plant.

Remove the aloe plant from the potting container. Discard all soil from around the root base and the soil remaining in the pot. Wash the pot in a bleach mixture of one part bleach and nine parts water to sterilize the container for future use. Allow the potting container to air-dry.

Prune the dead stems from the aloe plant with the pruning shears. Cut close to the base of the plant. Remove rotten pieces of the root system, cutting them away from the existing root ball. Prune until all the dead and ailing pieces of the plant have been discarded.

Fill the container with fresh sterilized potting soil to prevent the fungus from returning. Do not apply fertilizer to the soil. The roots will return to a normal growth pattern more quickly if only soil is in the pot.

Dig a hole in the center of the pot to the same depth that the plant was potted before, using a hand shovel. Do not overbury the plant in the soil. Firm the soil around the base of the plant, but do not pack it tightly. This will keep air from reaching the root system, resulting in poor growth.

Water the plant well, until the excess water begins to drain from the bottom of the planter. Allow the soil to dry completely between watering to avoid root rot in the future. Water when the soil is dry, allowing excess to drain from the pot bottom. Place the container in a well-lit area for optimal growth.

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