Save Money: Propagate Your Own Baby Aloe Vera Plant
Propagating a new aloe plant can be fun, easy, and cheap!
If you already have an aloe plant at home, allow it to grow until it fills its container. While any healthy aloe plant has a chance to produce younger plants, it will most likely happen once the adult has reached the boundaries of its container.
Your adult aloe plant should begin producing “pups”, which are clones of itself that share some of the mother plant’s root system and may be attached to the base. These will sometimes grow out of the drainage hole of the container, and sometimes even from roots snaking over to neighboring containers.
Pups tend to be lighter green than the adult plants. They do not have the same spiny leaf edges as the adult when they are first emerging.
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Allow these “pups” to grow to sufficient size before transplanting them. The young plants will do best if they are allowed to grow and mature enough to have a few roots of their own. While this size varies with subspecies and individual plants, a good rule is that the younger plant should be at least 3 inches tall (5 inches is even better). If there is enough space in the container, wait until the young plant is 1/5 of the size of the adult aloe plant. At this time, the younger plant should have several sets of “true leaves” that resemble those of the adult.
Use a sharp, clean knife to remove the young plant. Be sure to sanitize your knife first to reduce the chance of infection. Clear away the dirt at the base of the pup to see whether it is attached to the mother plant. If it is, cut it away. Be sure to keep the young plant attached to its roots if any are present. The presence of its own roots will increase the odds of success. These roots may not be easy to find before you remove the pup.
Leave your cut plants in the air for a few days. While it may seem like common sense to plant your new aloe baby immediately, it is a very good idea to wait. You want to allow the plant to form a callus over the knife cut. Placing the cut surface of the plant directly against soil increases the odds of infection.
Once you have left the pup out for a few days, plant it in its own container. Place the young plant on top of well-draining soil, without burying the leaves. Since the root system is probably still small, or even nonexistent, you may want to prop up the plant with a layer of pebbles and lean it against another object. The root system should grow large enough to support the plant within a few weeks.
Be sure to water your new aloe plant sparingly in the beginning. Wait at least a couple of weeks for your pup to grow its own roots before watering. If the pup already has its own root system, you can get the roots to set by giving it one watering and leaving it in the shade for about two to three weeks.
Once your plant becomes an adult, you can refer to this aloe vera planting guide for details on watering and care.
Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com. She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She graduated The Evergreen State College with an undergraduate degree focusing on Sustainable Design and Environmental Science. Follow her adventures on Instagram.