How to Keep Aloe Alive
How to Keep Aloe Alive. Aloe Vera make for excellent houseplants because they supposedly thrive on neglect and "anyone" can keep a houseplant alive. But then you pass a second glance one day at the kitchen windowsill and realize that where there once was an aloe plant now lives a mangled brown clump of tendrils. Instead of throwing it out, keep that aloe plant alive with these easy steps.
Determine how dead the plant really is. This could take awhile. Aloe plants often cheat death because they store water and nutrients in their roots and stems. Your plant may look terrible but direct sunlight and some water might revive it. If this doesn't work, proceed to step two.
Take it outside in the summer months. So long as there is no chance of freezing, take your aloe outside for the summer and let it soak up the sun. Bring it back in for the winter months and place it in a sunny window and water it every two weeks or so in the colder months. Aloe has its own growing cycle, and it tends to go sort of "dormant" in the winter so it needs less water.
Move the plant to a warm location in direct sunlight away from drafts and heat sources. Dust off the aloe plant with a damp paper towel to improve its ability to absorb sunlight. If the plant feels spongy or looks very pale, stop watering it for a few weeks and let it recover.
Repot the dying aloe plant. Houseplants need to be repotted at least twice a year to maintain healthy growth. If you've never repotted your aloe plant, this may be why it doesn't look healthy anymore.
Buy a terra cotta pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Pick a shape that is wide but not particularly deep to best accommodate the aloe's root system. Also pick up a bag of potting soil made specifically for aloe plants or a mix used for cactus plants. Or, create your own blend by layering gravel, sand, and regular potting soil.
Check for signs of rot, fungus, and infestation when you remove the aloe plant from its old pot. Treat these conditions in the new pot with pesticides and anti-fungals after it's had enough time to get used to it's new home.
Prune the aloe plant as much as necessary. Trimming the root system is the best way to get rid of rotten or dead parts, but also leaves the roots very prone to rotting further as soon as you replant it. You can trim back the stems as much as you want to, and in fact it's a good idea to do so often, but if you do need to remove part of the root system, trim the roots and then place the plant on a paper towel in a sunny location for a few days and let the roots "callus" before you replant to give it the best chance at surviving.
Plant the aloe in its new home, make sure it has plenty of loosely packed, sandy soil around it, and leave it in direct sunlight for at least a week before you start watering it again. With aloe plants, you want to only water when the soil is completely dry to the touch.