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How to Plant Aloe Vera Without Roots [No-Fail Method!]

If you’ve never tried propagating succulents, you’ll be amazed at how easy and fun it is! Unlike other fussier plants, succulents such as aloe vera will sprout roots with surprisingly little encouragement, making it simple for us to turn one plant into many more.

In this aloe vera without roots guide – we share our best tips so you can propagate and farm aloe vera without fuss. We also give cultivation tips even if you have a tiny aloe vera pup bereft of proper roots.

Sound good?

Let us begin!

How to Plant Aloe Vera Without Roots

Aloe vera pups without roots should be left to harden off for two days, then planted into a growing medium suitable for succulents. Aloe vera leaves cultivate in the same way, but they take up to two weeks for the cut surface to harden off before planting. 

aloe vera plant pups with tiny roots
The best way to plant aloe vera without roots is to cultivate aloe vera pups. Aloe vera pups are tiny plant offshoots developing around your aloe vera plant. We read from the Arizona University Extension that your aloe vera plant pup may take upwards of a month – or slightly more to develop roots.

How Do I Root My Aloe Vera Puppy?

Yes, the term aloe pups is a little bit ridiculous! Aloe vera plants do not have fluffy puppies, but the word pup gets used to describe a part of the plant called an offset. Aloe vera puppies are mini-plants that grow off the side of the main plant.

These offsets can be carefully removed from the parent plant and propagated to create a new aloe vera specimen. A case of buy one, get one free! A healthy aloe vera will produce several pups, meaning you can have plenty of baby plants to share with your family and friends.

The best time to separate an aloe vera is during a period of semi-dormancy, in winter and early spring. The entire plant should be removed from its pot. And the soil gently brushed away from the roots.

Healthy aloe vera pups with roots can be sliced away from the parent plant with a sharp knife. The aloe vera pup should be left in a warm dark area for a couple of days for the cut area to harden off, and it can then get planted into a mix of three parts cactus compost and one part potting soil.

And it is that simple! Your aloe vera puppy comes complete with a newly developed root system, so it will quickly become established in its new home.

fresh aloe vera growing on farm
You may wonder how large the aloe vera plants develop without roots. The question reminds us of an article we read on the University of Florida Extension about growing aloe vera. Their aloe vera article notes you can keep your aloe vera undersized by letting it cultivate in a small pot. Small containers compact the aloe vera root system – and stunt growth. You can also keep your aloe vera plant in a larger container if you want it to grow larger.

Can You Grow Aloe Pups Without Roots?

This method for reproducing aloe is sufficient if your aloe pups have roots, but what if you don’t have any with a healthy root system?

You can grow aloe pups without roots, but they might not be as successful as their rooted siblings.

The great thing about succulents such as aloe vera is that they can survive for a long time without roots – after all, they get filled with water! So all you need to do is provide the right conditions and stay patient while your baby aloe plant grows new roots.

How Do I Get Roots On My Aloe Plant?

After removing it from the parent plant, a rootless aloe vera offset should get left in a warm dark place for two or three days. Placing your aloe vera plant in a dark warm place is essential to allow the broken surface to callus over and prevent rot.

  1. Fill a small, shallow container with a succulent soil mix. Or a blend of potting compost and sand.
  2. Make a small hole in the growing medium and gently push the base of the offset into the hole.
  3. Firm the compost around the offset base to hold it securely in place.

Over time, your aloe vera pup will develop a new root system and become an established plant. Take care not to overwater them as they are prone to rotting – a weekly spray with a water mister should be sufficient.

thick looking aloe vera plant on green background
If you decide to cut fresh aloe vera pups from your aloe vera roots – ensure you don’t overwater them! We’ve read from multiple reliable sources (including PlantVillage at PennState and the Contra Costa County UC Master Gardener Program) that overwatering your aloe vera plants and pups can hurt their roots. We also read that your aloe plant is a dry-loving succulent that only needs watering around once per week – but less in the winter. Don’t waterlog your aloe vera plant – or pups!

Can You Grow Aloe From a Leaf?

You can grow aloe from a leaf, although this method is trickier and has a lower success rate than growing aloe pups.

To grow aloe vera from a leaf:

  1. Take a leaf that is around three or four inches long.
  2. Using a clean, sharp knife, cut the leaf at a downwards angle from the parent plant.
  3. Taking several leaves is a good idea if you have a large enough plant, as not all of them will grow successfully.
  4. The cut surface of the leaf is highly prone to rotting and must be given time to seal over. Leave it for up to two weeks in a warm sunny place until the cut surface is dry and covered in a white film.
  5. Fill a small pot with a suitable growing medium for succulents, and make a hole in the center. Place the cut surface into the hole, burying approximately one-third of the leaf. Press the soil into place to keep the leaf secure.

You can improve your chances of success with this method by using a rooting hormone to stimulate root development. Natural alternatives to rooting hormones include cinnamon and honey.

fresh leaves of aloe vera plant
Have you noticed your aloe vera plant has tiny offshoots cultivating in the pot? That’s because your aloe vera plant reproduces via its roots! Aloe vera offshoots are called aloe vera pups. Your aloe vera plant pups won’t grow at breakneck speed. But if you give their roots ample space to develop – they can grow surprisingly tall. Most sources we’ve studied say aloe vera plants reach approximately one foot tall. But some sources say some aloe vera cultivars can stretch higher than three feet!

Read More!

Can You Replant a Broken Aloe Leaf?

Accidents happen. And aloe vera plant leaves can easily break off! If this transpires when managing your aloe plant, don’t panic! You might be able to turn disaster into triumph and grow a whole new plant.

Firstly, it is a good idea to tidy up the broken surface. Aloe leaves are highly prone to rot and diseases, so cut away damaged tissue with a sterile and sharp knife to leave a smooth surface.

Leave the leaf in a warm place until the cut surface dries and forms a white film. Expect this to take up to two weeks.

The leaf can then get planted into a mix of potting soil and sand, where it will eventually grow new roots. Don’t panic if it shrinks slightly, as this is all part of the process!

Can Aloe Vera Grow Roots In Water?

Growing aloe vera roots in water can be tricky as these plants are highly susceptible to rot. They prefer a dryer, free-draining growing media such as a mix of potting soil and cactus compost. Succulents are adapted to grow in low-moisture conditions. And sitting aloe vera in water is not the best way to propagate them.

You could attempt to suspend aloe pups over water as a fun experiment with the kids to see if they will grow roots down into the water. But for the best chance of success, we suggest sticking to the above methods.

Conclusion

As you can see, if you don’t have a choice of rooted aloe pups to propagate, planting aloe vera without roots is the next best option! Cultivating aloe vera without roots is a great way to grow aloe vera plants along with many other succulent cultivars. The secret to success is ensuring the cut surface is dry before planting. And keeping the growing medium slightly damp – but not waterlogged.

What about you? Do you have experience planting aloe vera without roots?

If so – we would love to hear your aloe vera plant secrets to success!

Or – if you have more questions about rootless aloe vera plants, we invite you to inquire.

We thank you once again for reading.

Have a great day!

Author

  • Kate Chalmers

    Kate moved to Portugal last year and lives with her husband, two cats, six hens, and a glorious Brahma rooster called Mary. Earlier this year they purchased a half-hectare ‘quinta’ – traditional terraced land with olive trees, grapevines, and a house to renovate. They are currently living in a small campervan which is a challenging but fun experience! Kate has over 15 years of experience in the UK veterinary industry and is also a passionate gardener – turning a grassy field into a productive vegetable patch in just three months. Future plans include more animals, particularly sheep and goats for milk production to make cheese, butter, and yogurt! Kate and her husband are aiming to create a self-sufficient off-grid life on their quinta, fulfilling a life-long dream.

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