Aloe vera is a popular plant. You may know it as Medicinal Aloe or Barbados Aloe, and it is known for the benefits that it offers.
You can use it to moisturize your skin, heal wounds, and protect skin cells. You will find it as an additive in various beauty products, and it has nutritional benefits as well. In fact, it is considered one of the superfoods.
The plant is a succulent, and it is not difficult to grow. Many people add them to their gardens or have them indoors as houseplants.
It can grow in a range of conditions, and it doesn’t require a lot of attention. However, it won’t survive a winter chill, and it can only grow outdoors all year long in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 11.
It doesn’t require a lot of water, and too much can lead to root rot followed by wilting. You need to recognize signs of wilting so that you can determine why and take steps to save your plant.
Common Reasons for a Wilting Aloe Plant
If you notice your aloe leaves drooping, you will want to find out why. There are several common reasons, but you may have more than one factor causing it.
Any of the following can cause your aloe to wilt:
- Lack of sunlight
- Fungal infection
- Container too shallow
- Too much water
- Cold temperatures
If your aloe is wilting, the first step is to make sure that you have the right growing conditions for it. Take a look at the following:
- Aloe needs at least six hours of direct sunlight every day
- Aloe needs to be in temperatures of 50 degrees or higher
- Don’t overwater
- Overwatering can cause a fungus that infects the roots of the plant, and you may need to treat them with fungicide
- Make sure that the plant has room to develop strong roots in the container
Reasons Why Aloe Is Wilting, with Solutions
There are different reasons why aloe can wilt, and there are solutions for each one. Take a look at the following top factors that cause aloe to wilt.
1 – Too Much Water
The most common reason that aloe wilts is from overwatering. Aloe plants are succulents, and they can’t handle too much moisture.
If you overwater, the moisture creates an environment where fungus can grow, and it can infect the roots of the plant. You might also notice soak spots on the leaves, and they can feel soggy or squishy from all of the extra moisture.
Start by checking the roots for any signs of rot. If you notice that the soil is too wet and find rot on the roots, you need to treat it with a fungicide.
You can also check the leaves for excessive moisture. Place your finger on the leaves and see if they feel mushy. It is important to come up with an effective watering plan for your aloe to prevent this from happening.
To fix your plant, stop watering it while you take steps to make sure that it has appropriate drainage. Then look for root rot and treat it right away.
You may need to change to a new pot and new soil to create a better environment for your aloe. Improve the ventilation and take steps to reduce humidity as well.
Overwatering is the most common reason for aloe to wilt and die, and it harms the plant in several different ways.
First, it drowns the roots. The roots need to take in oxygen from the soil, but overwatering prevents this from happening and causes the plant to suffocate.
Second, it creates an anaerobic environment where disease pathogens thrive. This is where fungus can grow and infect the roots, causing root rot.
Overwatering can be caused by watering too often and by poorly draining soil. If it is cold, the water will drain more slowly.
The container size and material can also impact watering. Whether or not you can bring your aloe back depends on the extent of the damage.
If you correct the problem quickly, you may be able to save the plant. Then make sure that you have the right conditions for your aloe and change your watering habits.
The best way to water aloe is to make sure that the soil is dry at the roots. Then you can water the plant, and wait until the soil is dry again before you water it again.
2 – Too Little Water
Another cause of wilting is not having enough water. Aloe plants have low requirements for water, and when people are trying to make sure that they don’t overwater, they can end up underwatering.
Although aloe needs less water than other plants, water is a critical part of photosynthesis and the plant can’t survive without it. When the soil is dry, you need to water your aloe.
The best practice is to soak the soil when it is dry, but make sure that there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the container. Then once it dries completely the next time, you should water again.
3 – Disease
Another cause of wilting is disease. Generally speaking, aloe plants are easy to take care of, but there are diseases that they are susceptible to.
Aloe rust is a fungus that affects aloe plants when there is too much moisture in the environment or when the temperature is not warm enough. These issues provide the conditions that the fungus needs to thrive.
You will notice this disease when you see yellow spots that grow into large brown spots, and you could see orange spores on the underside of the plant leaves. This commonly occurs when the plant is receiving too much water or when it is too cold.
Basal Stem Rot is another disease that affects aloe, and it is also a fungus. It comes from too much moisture, and you may see the base of the plant turning brown and rotting.
Unfortunately, you may need to trim away the infected parts of the plant to try to save parts that haven’t been infected yet.
Bacterial Soft Rot will cause your aloe leaves to become mushy and wilt. This is normally a result of overwatering, and it can kill the plant if you don’t treat it right away.
Most of these diseases are caused by excessive moisture, and you need to take action right away if you want to save the plant.
4 – Pests
Another cause of wilting is an infestation of pests. They will attack the leaves of your aloe, which can cause them to droop and die.
A common aloe pest is the aphid. This pest sucks the sap out of the leaves, which makes them droopy and leads to death.
You can treat aphids with neem oil or another horticultural oil, but you must act quickly to save your plant.
Aphids and other insects that suck the juices out of plants multiply very quickly, and they can destroy your plants. They are very small, so you may not notice the infestation until it harms the plant.
Other pests in this category include spider mites, mealyworms, thrips, and whiteflies. People often wonder how they get into the house when they infest a plant inside.
They can come in with plants or through cracks in the walls. They can also come in through an open window.
You may also bring in unseen eggs or larvae in contaminated soil. They may have been dormant for months and in the conditions indoors, they come to life and infest your plants.
You need to isolate infected plants to treat them because these pests can spread quickly. You can take your plant outside and hose it off, which helps eliminate a number of invaders.
Make sure that you tilt the pot to hose it so that you don’t soak the soil. Do this early in the morning so that the plant has plenty of time to dry.
Horticultural oils are one of the most eco-friendly treatments, and they are made from vegetable or petroleum products. You can spray them on the plant to kill these insects, but they must have direct contact with the insect.
You should reapply it every few days because they evaporate and wear away, but they don’t leave any toxic residue so they are safe for pets and children.
5 – Extreme Temperature Changes
Extreme temperature changes can shock an aloe plant and cause it to wilt. They can suffer from heat shock or cold shock if you move them from one temperature to another too quickly.
Aloe vera plants do best in temperatures from 60 to 75 degrees. They can survive in temperatures outside of this range, but this is ideal and the plant thrives when the temperature stays consistent.
If you plan to move your aloe plant, you need to introduce it slowly. For example, before moving it to a patio, take it out and let it sit for an hour each day to slowly adjust to the change.
If you turn your air conditioner on in the house, move your plant away from the vents and keep it somewhere that doesn’t receive direct airflow. The same applies when you turn the heat on.
Do your best to keep the temperatures consistent and slowly introduce your plant if you plan to move it to an area with higher or lower temperatures.
6 – Stress From Transplanting
If you have your aloe plant in a container that isn’t large enough, it can cause wilting. You will want to replant it in a larger pot so that its roots can grow large enough to support the plant.
However, transplanting your aloe can create a new kind of stress. This can happen if your plant has trouble rooting in its new container.
First, you should choose a container that is the right size, which is likely to be one size up from the previous container. Make sure that you plant your aloe in a similar environment in the new pot to minimize its stress.
If you can move the same soil from the smaller container, that will help reduce stress. Most aloe plants adapt well as long as you minimize the number of changes that are happening at the same time.
7 – Improper Lighting
Your aloe vera plant needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you have it inside the house, you need to make sure that it is near a window, and a south-facing window is ideal.
If your aloe plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight, it will wilt. Sunlight is another critical element in photosynthesis, which allows aloe to create energy and food so that it survives.
If you move your plant to a windowsill, you should take it easy so that you don’t shock it. If you give it too much additional light at once, it can shock the plant and cause it to burn and wilt.
Too much sunlight is rarely a problem, but if you have it in direct sunlight all the time, it can be too much. Make sure that you keep your plant in a location where it receives sunlight for six to eight hours a day, and it should be fine.
8 – Too Little Root Space
If your aloe plant doesn’t have enough room for its roots to grow, it can wilt. This usually happens when it is in a pot that is too small for the plant.
The problem is that the plant grows over time, but the roots need to grow to support the larger plant. If there isn’t room for the roots to extend, the plant can wilt and droop.
Make sure that your aloe plant is in a pot with enough room. When you first plant it, the roots should take up around two-thirds of the space, which leaves room for them to grow.
Pay attention as your plant grows so that you can move it to a new pot when it is time.
There are different reasons why your aloe plant might wilt, so make sure that you set it up in an ideal environment with everything it needs to thrive.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.