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How to Prune an Aloe Plant

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prune aloe to control size

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Kitchen knife
  • Gardening gloves

Tip

  • Wear gardening gloves as protection when you prune an aloe plant.

Warning

  • 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.

About the Author

 

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.