Aloe vera plants are common in homes and offices. That’s because they are resilient, low maintenance plants that adapt well to indoor conditions.
However, if you notice your aloe plant drooping, it can be a cause for concern.
Why is your Aloe Plant drooping? Aloe plant drooping is a sign of stress. Often, the plant is drooping because it is overwatered or has a drainage problem.
Other causes including underwatering, extreme temperatures, incorrect lighting, pests and diseases.
Common Causes of Aloe Plant Drooping
Because there are a number of reasons that may be causing Aloe plant drooping, it is important to identify the cause by narrowing down all the potential issues. This will allow you to fix the problem better.
Below, I’ve list down all the common causes for aloe plant drooping. For each, I’ll explain what is happen, why it is a problem and how you can fix it.
Overwatering is the number one reason for aloe plant drooping. Therefore, if you wake up one day and find your aloe plant’s leaves droopy or wilting, overwatering is the first thing you want to check.
In addition to making your aloe plant droop, overwatering can lead to very serious issues.
The most problematic one of all is root rot.
Root rot occurs when part of the plant’s root system is rotted or damaged. Since roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil, the plant will be unable to do this efficiently once root rot sets in.
More importantly as root rot worsens, the entire plant may not be able to sustain itself.
Another reason why overwatering is problematic is that it can cause the roots to get infected with fungi. This likewise leads to root damage and rooting. Therefore, it is important to spot this early and treat it with fungicide as soon as you notice it happening.
Overwatering can likewise lead to soak spots on your aloe’s leaves.
When this happens, the leaves become soggy and mush as there is too much moisture inside the plant.
Therefore, if you suspect overwatering, it is important to stop watering and check for root rot. If there is no root rot, allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Then adjust your watering routine to avoid overwatering in the future.
If there is root rot, unpot the plant and repot it in fresh, dry soil to try and save it.
Another possible cause of a drooping Aloe plant is poor drainage. This is very closely related to overwatering as it causes the same result.
However, unlike overwatering which is often caused by watering the plant too often, drainage issues can cause waterlogging because the soil stays wet.
As a result, your aloe plant’s roots end up sitting in water for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, this will deprive them of oxygen which leads to root rot as well.
Drainage problems usually stem from two things.
- Soil that retains too much moisture
- A pot that has not drainage holes
Therefore, even it you water the plant correctly, the soil will hold on to too much of the water or the pot won’t let the moisture escape.
Either way, your aloe plant ends up overwatered due to waterlogging.
Therefore, always make sure that you use the right kind of soil for your Aloe plant. It needs a well-draining potting mix. And you can use one that is designed for cacti and succulents.
Avoid using garden soil which can contains pathogens. Similarly, avoid using regular houseplant potting soil since these tend to hold on to too much water for your Aloe plant’s liking.
If you do use regular potting soil, add some perlite, chunks of bark or other ingredients that will improve drainage.
Also, make sure that the pot you use has drainage holes. This way, excess moisture that drains out from the soil can escape through the holes and not pool at the bottom of the pot.
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Aloe plants are known for their low water needs. In fact, they can tolerate drought.
However, if left unattended for long periods of time, the plant can end up underwatered. While does not happen as often as overwatering, it does still happen sometimes, especially when neglected.
Like all plants, the aloe need water. And when it goes underwatered, you’ll see its leaves droop.
This is usually a sign that it needs moisture.
However, before you add water, always make sure to check the soil first. This is very important since overwatering can also cause your aloe plant to droop.
Therefore, if overwatering is actually the problem and you add more moisture, the problem gets worse. Similarly, if the plant is underwatered and you let it dry out more, it will deteriorate even further.
To check the soil, stick your finger into the soil and feel if it wet or moist.
If the soil feels very dry, then you can water the plant. However, if the soil feels wet or soggy, allow the plant to dry since it is likely overwatered.
To treat an underwatered plant, soak the soil. Then allow the excess moisture to drain. This will rehydrate the plant.
Aloe plants have an ideal temperature range of between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Just as importantly, they are used to getting warm, sunny weather all year round.
As such, it is not well-suited to cold environments.
This means it is a good idea to keep it away from places that are 50 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. At this level, the plant’s growth will slow down.
And the longer it stays there or the colder it gets, the more likely its growth will get stunted. It also runs the risk of cold stress which later leads to tissue damage.
Similarly, very hot conditions can pose a problem for your Aloe plant.
Therefore, keep the plant away from temperatures over 90 degrees.
Many people often group Aloe plants with succulents because of their thick leaves. However, your aloe cannot tolerate the same amount of heat that succulents and some cacti can.
And when it is left in hot conditions, it will experience heat stress.
This causes it leaves to droop, sag, and wilt.
If it is left in the heat longer, your aloe will get even drier. When this happens, you’ll see its leaves turn yellow or brown. Its texture will also become crispy and brittle.
Finally, avoid temperature fluctuations.
Temperatures that are very high and very low especially when it fluctuates back and forth can cause your Aloe to experience temperature stress or shock.
As such, keep it away from appliances like air conditioners, heaters, radiators or stoves. Similarly, avoid leaving it near open windows where cold breezes or gusts are known to come in.
The Aloe vera plant is quite resilient and does not usually experience infection. However, it becomes much more susceptible when it is overwatered. Excess moisture increases the risk of infection.
And in the case of your aloe vera plant, this usually comes in the form of fungal and bacterial diseases.
Among the most common infections to look out for with this plant are:
- Basal stem rot
- Bacterial soft rot
- Aloe rust
Once disease sets in it can cause your aloe plant to droop.
Therefore, it you notice any signs of possible infection, it is important to identify what it is and immediately treat it.
Unfortunately, pests like your aloe vera plant, especially aphids. But other sap-sucking insects also tend to come around as well.
When pests start taking your plants juices, it can cause your aloe plant’s leaves to droop. Left untreated, the problem will turn into an infestation.
This means your aloe will lose more moisture and nutrients due to the growing bug population. As a result, not only will its leaves droop, they will turn color and die.
Therefore, if you notice any pests or signs of these insects, immediately isolate the plant and begin treatment. You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat these pests.
Your Aloe Vera plant needs a well-lit spot to thrive.
Indoors it needs at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Outdoors, it does best in full sun. If it does not get sufficient light, it will droop and wilt. It will also stretch out which is not a good look for the plant.
As such, a south-facing window is ideal for the plant in your home. If you don’t get a lot of sunshine indoors due to the positioning of your windows, you can supplement the natural light with artificial lighting.
Also, it is worth noting that the plant often does best during summer because the sun is up during this time of year. Come winter when there’s much less sunshine, try to position your aloe vera so it gets the most light possible.
The Plant is Pot Bound or Root Bound
Like all plants, your Aloe will keep growing when given the right care. This means there will come a time that it will outgrow its current container.
When this happens, it is a good idea to repot the plant once it gets root bound.
You’ll know when this happens as you ‘ll see its roots sneak out from under the drainage holes of your pot. Similarly, the plant can get bigger than your pot.
Once the pot gets too small, it won’t be able to support your Aloe plant. Just as importantly, as the roots take over most of the space in the pot, the soil won’t be able to hold enough water to keep the plant properly hydrated.
As such, you’ll either need to water the plant often, sometimes a few times a week or else it will get underwatered.
When the latter occurs, your Aloe will start drooping.
So, once you see roots coming out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot and you have not repotted your aloe for several years, it is time to do so.
Choose a container that it 2 inches larger. Avoid going any bigger, especially since the aloe plant is susceptible to overwatering.
Transplant Stress or Shock
If you notice your aloe plant drooping or not looking too well after repotting or transplanting it, there’s a good chance it has gone into stress or shock.
This can happen as the plant tries to adapt to its new environment. Sometimes, it happens because of improper handling during the transplanting or repotting process.
As such, try to avoid manhandling the plant or forcing it out of its pot especially when it is stuck there. Instead, gently ease it out. Watering the soil also helps make unpotting easier.
Similarly, avoid letting the plant’s roots get exposed to water for prolonged periods of time. And choose the right size pot and a suitable environment to put it after.
The good news is Aloe plants are quite resilient and tough. Thus, it will be able to overcome the change in its living conditions and adapt to it soon. Once it does, it will stop drooping and start growing again.