Aloe Vera is one of the best home plants to grow because they are easy to grow, doesn't require a lot of maintenance, helps freshen the air in your home, and has many medicinal benefits. You can plant them in your backyard or have them potted around the house.
Another major benefit of having Aloe Vera in your home is the propagation process. It is easy and will save you a lot of money you would have used to buy new plants.
But what makes the propagation easier than that of other plants? Unlike other plants that have to be propagated using the seeds, you can propagate your Aloe Vera using offsets, or pulps, and leaves.
Offsets are clones you will find growing from the roots or stem of the parent plant. The offsets depend on the parent plant for nutrients and water until they are fully grown and have their roots. Eventually, you will have a lot of independent plants growing together in a clump.
While it may take a few years for the parent plant to start producing offsets, once they start appearing, they don’t stop, meaning you will always have offsets if you need more plants.
You need to keep your plant healthy by providing it with a lot of sunlight and sprinkling fertilizer in early summer or spring to encourage the development of strong offsets.
How do you propagate your Aloe Vera plant, you may be wondering? First, you need to have the right equipment for the job, including;
Propagating From Offsets
The process is as simple as dividing the Aloe Vera plant, and it is by far the most effective. You can do it at any time, but the best and most preferred is during summer and spring (the growing season).
Search for the offsets on and around the parent plant. They usually have a brighter color than the parent plant.
The offsets will not all be on the stem. You can find those that have grown from the roots at the base of the plant, and you may miss them because the parent plant’s leaves may obscure them.
You have to ensure that the offsets have at least four leave and have their root system for the propagation to be successful. They should also be one-fifth the size of the parent plant.
Take the whole Aloe Vera plant, including the offsets, out of the pot or the ground to make it easier for you to identify where the offsets join the parent plant. If you are removing it from a container, tilt it sideways and ensure you hold as much of your plant as you can.
If it is not too big, you can also flip it upside down. If the plant does not come off easily, you can squeeze the sides of the container or tap the sides of the base lightly. If it was planted in the ground, use a towel to loosen the soil carefully and uproot the plant.
Be careful not to break any roots from the parent plant or the offsets, and shake off as much soil from the roots as you can.
Untangle the offsets from the parent plant slowly and gently, taking care not to break the roots. If need be, use a knife to separate them. Ensure that you sterilize your knife to prevent any diseases and bacteria from spreading to the parent plant or the offsets.
Examine the roots, both on the offsets and the parent plant. If you notice any brown or unhealthy roots, carefully take them, keeping the biggest percentage of the roots intact.
If you notice that your offsets have many damaged roots, dip them in a rooting hormone to encourage the growth of new roots.
Repot your pulps in dry and well-drained soil. Since the offsets are still small, they need to adjust to the new soil, and their roots still need to breathe, which is why you should not pack the soil too tightly.
For the best result, use cactus soil, but if you cannot access it, mix equal portions of sand and normal soil. You can also add gravel at the bottom of the container for better drainage. The pH of your soil should be 6.0- 8.0, and if it is not high enough, you can add gardening lime.
Make a small hole on the soil and stick your offset in it. Ensure that the hole is deep enough for all the roots and one-fourth of the offset from the base of the roots upwards. Pat the soil and water your plant, then place it in a sunny spot.
If you cut your offsets, give them a few days for the wound to scab before replanting to keep them from infections and bacteria. Ensure that the container you plant the offsets in has drainage holes because too much water in the soil can cause your plant to rot.
Repot the parent plant. This is a good opportunity for you to change the parent plant’s pot into a larger one.
Since your offsets need time to heal from the repotting, give them time before you water them again, which can be a few days to a week.
Also, keep it away from a lot of direct sunlight for the first few days and do not use too much fertilizer.
Propagating From Leaves
This propagation method may have lower success rates because the Aloe Vera leaves have a lot of moisture, which may cause the leaves to rot before developing roots. However, it is worth a shot if you want to grow more Aloe Vera plants and your parent plant has not started developing offsets.
Cut the chosen leaf from the parent plant using a sharp knife. Ensure that you thoroughly clean the knife to prevent the spread of any infections or diseases. For a neater look, try cutting the leaf close to the bottom.
Ensure that you make a clean cut and try cutting it at a downward angle. The leaf you choose has to be at least 3.15 inches (8 cm) long.
Let your cutting sit for a few days for the wound to heal. You may notice scabbing at the area of the cut, but that is a good sign. The film covering the cut part will protect the propagate leaf from getting infected, increasing its chances of survival.
Sometimes the aloe leaf will start rotting instead of healing but do not be discouraged from trying with another leaf.
Fill your planting container with cactus soil or mix equal parts of sand and soil, then stick the propagate leaf in it in an upright position. Ensure that about one-third of the leaf is below the soil.
If it is a large leaf, you can simply lay it on top of the soil. Ensure that your pot has drainage holes. For better drainage, you can have gravel at the bottom of your soil. Ensure that the soil’s pH is 6.0- 8.0.
For leaf propagation, you do not need a rooting hormone as they will root by themselves.
Water the soil, but ensure it is not soaked. Too much water will hinder the plants from developing and having a root system.
Also, do not be concerned if your plant withers during root development. After your leaf propagate has developed a root system, and new leaves start shooting, you can come up with a watering schedule that works best for your plant.
Place the new plant in a warm spot that receives plenty of sunshine. However, do not introduce it to a lot of sunlight at once, but do it gradually to prevent it from dying.
Once the aloe propagates, both from offsets and leaves, have developed their root systems and leaves, you can start caring for them like you would a grown Aloe Vera plant. Avoid overwatering as that could result in root rot which could eventually kill your plant.
To know when to water, dip a finger into the soil, and if the first few inches are dry, it is time to water. You should also position your Aloe Vera in a place where it receives 8 hours of sunlight daily.
Also, be on the lookout for diseases and pests and ensure to cut off any dead or infected leaves (thin and curly) to keep diseases and infections from spreading to the rest of the plant.