This aloe vera is definitely ready for dividing!
If you’ve got happy aloe vera, agave, hens-and-chicks, or other clump-forming succulent plants, you’ll soon find that the plants are outgrowing their space and need to be divided. Many succulents are quite easy to divide or propagate simply by removing and repotting the offsets.
Spring and early summer are the best times to divide desert and tropical succulents, since it’s the beginning of their main growing season. Here’s how to divide and propagate aloe vera and other succulent plants.
Aloe vera plant after removal from pot.
- Examine Plant
- Divide and Conquer
- How to Plant Divisions
- How to Divide and Plant Offsets
- How to Care for Replanted Succulents
- Further Information
- At my work table showing how I remove aloe vera pups:
- Propagating Aloe Vera – Rooting Aloe Vera Cuttings Or Separating Aloe Pups
- About Aloe Plant Propagation
- How to Start an Aloe Vera Plant
- Steps for Separating Aloe Pups
- How to Preserve and Regrow an Aloe Vera Leaf
- Can You Split An Aloe Plant: Tips For Dividing Aloe Plants
- Can You Split an Aloe Plant?
- When to Separate Aloe Plants
- How to Divide Aloe Plants
- Planting Aloe Pups
- Aloe Vera Plant Care – How To Grow An Aloe Plant
- How to Grow an Aloe Plant
- Care of Aloe Houseplants
This aloe vera might not look big, but it took three strong adults to move it. The pot was crammed full, so the first order of business was to get a closer look at this monster.
Gently lay the plant on its side and remove the pot. If the plant is growing in your yard, clear away enough soil to get a closer look at the crown and topmost roots – you may be able to divide it without digging it all up.
What to Look for:
- Offsets: Offsets are new plants coming up around the parent. They can be teased or cut away from the parent and are the easiest to propagate. You can usually dig up offsets without disturbing the parent plant.
- Natural Divisions: With very large plants, you may find that offsets have sprouted and grown until you have several adult plants packed together. If this is the case, you’ll see several large stems or plant crowns, with roots radiating out from each one. To divide this type of plant, you’ll need to dig it up completely.
Offsets from parent plant.
And this isn’t even all of it!
Divide and Conquer
This plant had plenty of large natural divisions, along with enough offsets to start an aloe orphanage! I started by pulling the aloe apart in natural clumps (being careful not to break any stems), and dividing it into thirds: one-third to give away, one-third to put back in the original pot, and one-third to plant in new pots.
Each division needs to have its own roots.
There are a few things to keep in mind when dividing succulents:
- Keep the Roots: Make sure each division has an ample supply of its own roots. It’s very easy to break a stem away from the root ball, so be careful!
- Minimize Damage: When succulent stems or roots are cut or wounded, they become very susceptible to rot and disease. Take the time to tease the plant apart, to minimize ripping and cutting.
- Use a Sharp Knife: A sterile, sharp knife is your best tool for cutting away plant divisions. Make one clean cut rather than hacking away at it.
How to Plant Divisions
Once the plant has been divided, it’s time to repot:
- Potting Soil: The best potting soil for succulents is loose-textured, easily aerated, and fast-draining. Avoid potting mixes that are peat-based, since peat tends to stay moist and soggy. Buy a succulent-specific potting mix, or add gravel, perlite, pumice, or coarse sand to standard potting mix.
- Choosing a Pot: Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom. Deep pots work better for large heavy plants, since the soil surface can be farther down in the pot, and the high sides will help prop up heavy stems.
- Allow Time to Heal: Leaving the roots left out in the air for a couple of days before replanting will allow the cuts to seal and callous over, which helps protect them from disease. As an alternative, hold off on watering the pots for a day or two to give the cuts time to callous over. If you have leftover plant divisions to give away, they should be fine for a few days in a bag or box.
- Planting Divisions: With large divisions, it’s a simple matter of pouring a little soil in the bottom of the pot, carefully sitting the clump in place with the top of the root ball at least a couple of inches below the rim of the pot, refilling the pot with soil, and tamping the soil down with your hands.
It’s much less crowded now!
Gently wiggle or cut the offsets free from the main plant.
How to Divide and Plant Offsets
Dividing and planting offsets is much lighter work than dividing an entire plant. If you can clearly see some offsets, then you may not even have to dig up the plant – just brush away enough dirt to see where the offset is attached.
Offsets, or “pups,” start as a shoot off a parent stem, then form their own roots and start looking after themselves. To remove a pup, just use your hands to wiggle it free. Sometimes it helps to make one slice with a sharp knife, right where the offset attaches to the parent, but make sure to include the roots with your pup!
To plant offsets, follow the guidelines above for planting divisions. You can put one offset per pot, or several in one pot. I have better results when I bury the little stems all the way up to the first pair of leaves. If I bury only the tiny root ball, the plant tends to fall over.
These newly planted offsets now have room to grow!
How to Care for Replanted Succulents
- Water: After a day or two, give your newly potted plants a drink of water. Remember that overwatering is the number one cause of death for succulents! Water no more than once a week (I barely water mine once a month), and make sure that water never sits in the drainage tray.
- Light: Put your new plants in a bright, protected spot – such as a lightly shaded bed or porch – for the first few weeks to give them a chance to become settled.
- How To Divide and Transplant an Agave (finegardening.com)
- Winter Care of Succulents (article)
Aloe vera, besides being a plant with purpose, is a succulent which just keeps on giving. If your plant is healthy and happy, you’ll see babies, or pups, growing off the base of the mother plant. I’ll show you the easiest method of Aloe vera propagation, in my opinion anyway. This is all about removing those pups so you can have more plants and share the love.
My Aloes have always produced lots of pups and I’ve given many away to friends and even my friendly UPS guy. Aloe vera is a clumping plant and those babies just grow and spread as they mature. You don’t have to remove them but they’ll eventually crowd out the pot.
At my work table showing how I remove aloe vera pups:
Good to know:
You can remove the pups at any time of year but spring and summer are best. Plants rest in the colder months.
I like to wait until the Aloe vera pups are good-sized, at least 4-6″ tall, because the roots are much better formed that way. You’ll see that I removed all of them in this video because I wanted to show you how less formed the roots are on smaller pups. Those tiny ones will grow too but if you’re a beginning gardener, why not just hold tight until they’re bigger.
You can leave your Aloe in the pot to remove the pups (especially if you’re only removing 1 or 2) but I find it easiest to take the plant out of the pot. That way you can freshen up the soil for the mother plant at the same time. I show you both ways in the video.
My pretty little Aloe vera took a nose dive onto the patio when the raccoons were on the prowl the other night. You can see what the plant used to look like, just a couple of days ago, here.
Loosen the plants from the sides of the pot with a knife.
Scrape the soil away from the base of the pups with a knife, small trowel or spoon.
Pry the pups away with the knife, small trowel or spoon. Sometimes they’re loose enough to do it with just your hands. Whatever you use, you’ll need to hold firmly onto the mother while doing this.
This is why I like taking the plant out of the pot – the pups come off with ease.
They’ve always pulled away easily for me, but if not, you may have to use the knife to cut them if they’re being stubborn.
Now that you’ve removed your Aloe vera pups you’ll need to plant them. That’s coming up in the next week or 2 so check back and I’ll show you how to do that. I’ve done posts and videos so I have you covered with Aloe vera care both indoors and in the garden.
Here are all the pups I got off the mother plant. The ones on the right-hand side have roots which aren’t well-formed yet. Don’t worry – just plant them & they’ll grow!
If you have 1 Aloe vera plant, aka Aloe barbedensis, Medicinal Aloe or Medicine Plant, having another isn’t a bad thing at all. If you don’t want it, I’m sure a friend will. Spread the goodness!
Once you have mastered growing your now adolescent aloe vera plant, you may want to start raising another. The good news: you do not have to go to the store to get an additional one of these wonderful succulents. Breeding new baby aloe veras from your original plant is simple and inexpensive. By separating and replanting the bulbs of the plant, you can keep growing aloe veras. Let’s take a look at how you should propagate your aloe vera plant.
The Unique Structure of the Aloe Vera Plant:
Most plants in the succulent family, like cactuses, are best propagated in the traditional method: rooting. The process of rooting involves taking cuttings from a plant and placing the branches in new soil to develop its own roots and become an independent plant. However, due to the aloe vera’s unique anatomy, it needs to be reproduced in a different way.
High moisture content: Because of its high moisture content, aloe vera plants are not built to be breed from cuttings. When trying to reproduce an aloe vera, you leave the main plant alone, instead focusing on the outlying bulbs at the base of the plant. Taking a leaf of an aloe vera plant to root would only result in a dead or rotten leaf. When it come to aloe vera plants, just remember: rooting = rotting.
Rhizome root system: Luckily, biology has equipped the aloe vera plant with a rhizome root system that allows for an alternative way of propagation. Growing horizontally and shallowly, the rhizome is an underground stem that has multiple nodes from which shoots and roots grow. Although not ideal for cuttings, aloe vera plants can be reproduced by separating these bulbs, detaching the offshoots from the main plant. Simply put, instead of rooting an aloe vera leaf, you take the root of the aloe vera plant.
When to Propagate Your Plant
It is important to wait for your aloe vera plant to mature before you can use it to breed additional plants. As a general guideline, when the bulbs are 1/5 the size of your main plant, you can split up and replant them. Waiting until the bulbs grow to this size gives your replanted bulb the best chance at survival.
A Tutorial: How to Separate Aloe Vera Bulbs
Although broken off from the aloe vera plant, the bulbs are not broken. If you follow the steps outlined below, your aloe vera bulbs will develop into healthy, independent plants:
Things you will need: Make sure you have the following supplies on hand when propagating your aloe vera plant: (1) a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears; (2) potting soil; and (3) a new pot for the transplanted bulb.
1. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the structure of your aloe vera plant, working on identifying its bulbs. Remove the dirt around the base of the plant to get a better look. Also, remember that the bulb should have several shoots and an entire root system of its own when removed;
2. Once you have identified it bulbs and signaled one out for cutting, take out your knife or pruning shears and cut the bulb away from the main plant. Make sure the tool you have chosen is clean to avoid exposing your bulb–and future new aloe vera plant–to any diseases or contaminants;
3. After splitting up the bulb and the main plant, replant the detached bulb in a new pot with potting soil. You may want to make a mixture of half potting soil, half sand to mimic the dry desert conditions the aloe vera plant thrives in in its natural environment;
If your pot not does have a drainage system (i.e. hole in the bottom of the container), you will want to line the bottom with rocks to prevent any extra water from rotting or drowning your plant;
4. Press down the soil firmly around the roots; and
5. Water and take care of your bulb as you would a normal aloe vera plant. Sit back, and watch as your plant grows.
Propagating Aloe Vera – Rooting Aloe Vera Cuttings Or Separating Aloe Pups
Aloe vera is a popular houseplant with medicinal properties. The sap from leaves has wonderful topical benefits, especially on burns. Their fabulous smooth, glossy, plump foliage and ease of care make these houseplants ideal additions in the home. Often, people want to share their aloe plants with friends and wonder how to start an aloe plant. Let’s take a look at rooting an aloe vera plant from a leaf cutting and separating aloe pups.
About Aloe Plant Propagation
Many people ask, “Can I grow an aloe plant from a leaf cutting?” You can, but the most successful method of aloe plant propagation is from offsets or “pups” with resulting plants almost immediately.
Aloe vera is a succulent and as such, is related to the cactus. Cacti are fairly easy to propagate from cuttings, but aloe vera cuttings, with their high moisture content, rarely become viable plants. Rooting an aloe vera plant leaf seems like it should work, but all you will get is a rotten or shriveled leaf.
As a result, aloe vera cuttings are not the most reliable method of plant propagation.
A better way to share this delightful plant is by removal of offsets.
How to Start an Aloe Vera Plant
Separating aloe pups, also known as aloe offsets or aloe offshoots, is a simple process that even a nervous home gardener can undertake with few tools and just a little knowledge. Aloe pups are essentially baby plants that share part of the root system of the parent plant, so all you need to do to start an aloe plant from a pup is to wait until it is big enough to remove from the mother plant.
The removal size of the offset will depend on the variety of aloe. As a general rule, wait until the offset is at least one-fifth the size of the parent plant or has several sets of true leaves.
Very old, large aloes can have their pups removed from them when they are small, but they must still have enough leaves (at least three) to produce their own plant sugars for survival. The pup must be mature enough for rooting an aloe vera plant successfully.
Steps for Separating Aloe Pups
Once the aloe pup is the right size, remove the dirt from around the base of the pup. Examine the area and determine where would be the right place to cut to remove the aloe pup. When the pup comes away from the mother aloe plant, it should have a complete root system attached.
Use a sharp, clean knife to cut the aloe pup away from the mother plant. Clean tools are important for separating aloe pups, in order to prevent contamination by disease and pests and produce a clean surface that will mesh quickly with the planting medium.
Plant the newly removed pup in dry cacti potting mix or make your own with one part potting soil and one part sand. Allow it to sit for one week, then water the soil. After this, you can care for the aloe vera pup as you would a normal aloe plant.
You may then pass along the freshly started succulent to devoted gardeners and friends.
How to Preserve and Regrow an Aloe Vera Leaf
An aloe vera leaf has plenty of uses, aside from treating several skin ailments, the juice can be taken internally to boost the immune system and improve our digestive condition. You can easily make your own juice at home, this way you are sure that you’re getting 100% of the plant’s goodness. A lot of the commercially-prepared products are mixed with preservatives and I’m sure this is the last thing you want. Since the gel oxidizes very quickly once exposed to air, it is very important to learn how to preserve the leaves so you won’t end up wasting them and you can use them for a longer period of time.
Aloe Vera Beauty Tips
The first thing you have to do is to freeze the aloe vera leaf and the best way you can do to store and preserve it is to put it in an airtight Ziploc bag. Place it in the freezer. Aloe can be kept indefinitely if frozen. If you would like to defrost it, do not dare heating it. Just take out the leaf from the freezer and let it defrost at room temperature. This may take hours. Soak the leaf and then wash it. Scrub it if you have to and then put it in a clean dry jar. Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar and close the lid tightly and refrigerate it. This can last for several months in your fridge.
If you want to regrow a broken aloe vera leaf, you can do this easily by drying it until a thin layer of skin grows over the moist sap. If you are in a rush, a few hours will do but if you want the best results, leave it to dry for 3 days. Fill a pot with sandy loam mixture or cactus soil and then insert the broken leaf. Make sure that the damaged side faces down 1/3 of the way into the soil. Water it but just until the soil is a little bit moist. For the first four weeks, keep the soil moist and not soaked while the aloe leaf is transplanting. Don’t worry if the leaf shrinks and dry up as it develops roots. After a month when the plant has developed roots, water it once a month and place it in a spot where it can get sunlight. If you are living in a cold climate, more the pot away from the window during the evenings.
→ Aloe Vera Gel Recipe: How to Make It?
Can You Split An Aloe Plant: Tips For Dividing Aloe Plants
Aloe, from which we get an excellent burn ointment, is a succulent plant. Succulents and cacti are remarkably forgivable and quite easy to propagate. Aloe plants produce offsets, also known as pups, as part of their growth cycle. Dividing aloe plants away from the parent produces a whole new aloe to enjoy. Here is a brief tutorial on how to divide aloe plants.
Can You Split an Aloe Plant?
While you can divide an aloe, dividing aloe plants is not quite the same as dividing a perennial or ornamental grass. This is usually as simple as cutting the root zone in half and, ta-da, you have a new plant.
Aloe plant division is accomplished by removing the offsets, which are the baby plants at the base of the parent. The process takes just moments and rejuvenates the parent while providing a new aloe start to propagate.
When to Separate Aloe Plants
As with any plant, timing is everything for any invasive action. Late winter and early spring produce a period of fairly inactive growth, which is when to separate aloe plants for the least damage to the root system.
Aloes are pretty hardy, so if you fail to remove the pups in early spring, they will likely take it pretty well even in the growing season. Reduce the light levels for a week before trying aloe plant division on actively growing succulents. This will help slow down the plant’s growth and metabolism and produce a better result.
How to Divide Aloe Plants
The process is quite easy and will only take a few moments. The parent plant needs to be removed from its pot, so this is a good time to replant it and fill the container with fresh soil. Use a cactus mix of three parts mixed with one part potting soil.
Remove the parent plant from its container and brush away soil and rock from the base and root system. Locate a healthy pup with a few roots and carefully cut it away from the parent with a clean, sharp knife. Sometimes, you don’t need a knife and the pup will just pull away from the parent. Lay the offset in a warm, dim room to callus on the end for two days before planting.
Planting Aloe Pups
The callus is simply to prevent the new plant from rotting in the soil. Once the end of the pup is dry, select a container that is just slightly larger than the pup. Fill it with a gritty potting mix and scoop out a small depression in the top to insert the pup’s roots.
Do not water until the roots have taken and begun to grow, usually two weeks from planting. Keep the pot in bright but indirect light where temperatures are warm.
Aloe Vera Plant Care – How To Grow An Aloe Plant
People have been growing aloe vera plants (Aloe barbadensis) for literally thousands of years. It is one of the most widely used medicinal plants on the planet. If you are wondering, “How can I grow an aloe plant,?” I am here to tell you that taking care of an aloe plant in your home is easy. Keep reading to learn more about how to care for an aloe vera plant.
How to Grow an Aloe Plant
The first step in aloe vera plant care is to realize that this plant is a succulent. Like cacti, succulents do best in dry conditions. When growing aloe vera plants, plant them in a cactus potting soil mix or a regular potting soil that has been amended with additional perlite or building sand. Also, make sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes. Aloe vera plants cannot tolerate standing water.
One important thing in the care of aloe vera houseplants is that they have proper light. Aloe vera plants need bright light, so they do best in south- or west-facing windows.
Care of Aloe Houseplants
Another important part of how to grow an aloe plant is to water the plant properly. The soil of the aloe vera plant should be allowed to go completely dry before being watered. When the aloe plant is watered, the soil should be thoroughly drenched, but the water should be allowed to drain freely from the soil. The most common reason an aloe plant dies is that the owners water too often or do not allow the water to drain. Do not make this mistake when taking care of aloe houseplants.
You can fertilize your aloe vera plant, but aloes generally don’t need to be fertilized. If you decide to add fertilizing to part of your aloe vera plant care routine, aloe vera plants should be fertilized once a year in the spring. You can use a phosphorus-heavy, water-based fertilizer at half strength.
Growing aloe vera houseplants is not only easy but can also provide your family with a plant that can help treat minor burns and rashes. Now that you know a little more about how to care for an aloe vera plant, you need never be without this lovely and helpful plant.