Hello, I bought this ... #151324 - Ask Extension

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Hello, I bought this ... #151324

Asked September 05, 2013, 9:29 PM EDT

Hello, I bought this aloe plant in February. It seemed to me that it was too big for the pot it was in and I separated it into three plants. I used cactus potting soil when I transplanted them and only water them every 3-4 weeks. The plants are now tall and thin, with semi-brown stalks and dehydrated leaves. They do not look well and would appreciate any advice on how to help them.

Anoka County Minnesota

Expert Response

Thank you for the question.  Aloe barbadensis is a shallow rooted succulent.  It requires very well drained potting mix and a pot with drainage holes.  The cactus mix you used should be fine and make sure the white hanging baskets drain well.  While a succulent stores fluid in its fleshy leaves, it does still need adequate watering.  I suspect that watering every 3-4 weeks is not enough, especially in the summer growing season.  Water the plants thoroughly until water drains out the bottom whenever the soil feels dry.  Discard the water that drains out.  Be sure your plants are getting lots of bright sunlight.  If they have been in a low light condition, gradually increase the amount of light they get to avoid burning. You can let them get a bit drier in the winter when the light level is lower and the growth naturally slows down, but if you dig your finger down and the soil is dry to your first finger joint, water thoroughly.
If you divide these plants again in the future, let the moist end dry to a callous and then plant in cacti mix.  Here is a link to read more on growing cacti and succulents: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG1127.html.
Anita Hoaglund Replied September 06, 2013, 4:34 PM EDT

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