Aloe Vera succulents are a great addition to any succulent collection, or just on their own in your garden or kitchen countertop. This short blog will not go in to all the interesting uses of Aloe Vera, as ALL of our succulents and cacti are sold simply as ornamental specimens, but instead focus on growing them and trimming them.
The pictured Aloe Vera is in a 4" container, the leaves are approx. 8-12" long. Definitely ready for a larger container but no rush, it will just keep filling out this container until it gets too top heavy and falls over. Naturally, Aloes and succulents, and plants will have tips and ends and branches and leaves etc. that get damaged or just die off. Notice the brown tip on the upper left. This is not the end of the world, and no your Aloe is not dying! You have three choices. 1. Leave it alone and get on with life. 2. Cut off the brown piece and get on with life. 3. Or cut farther down the leaf and do whatever you want with that cutting of Aloe Vera.
I chose to simply cut the brown tip off. You can either cut really close to the brown edge, or cut into the good flesh but you'll still have a slight brown edge later.
That's better. Now I'm going to cut a piece on the outside, older growth of the plant. Always cut the older, outer leaves when trimming, never from the middle/fresher growth. When trimming your Aloe I recommend cutting as close to the base as you can.
As you can see this piece also had a brown edge, likely got bumped or something earlier in life.
Notice all the clear gel inside of the leaf. Do a Google search for info on Aloe Vera Gel if you don't already know about this fascinating succulent!
Here's a Test for you. Is it ok to trim the center leaves on Aloes? The answer again is NO. The fresh new growth, the center growth is often the best indicator of the overall health of your Aloes and other similar shaped succulents. What you don't ever want to see is rot or mold or fungus growing in the center as it has likely entered the main part of your plant and will now likely die. The outer leaves you can actually gently pull away completely from the main stem without damaging it's center. Cutting or breaking off these center/middle pieces is only inviting problems. Stick with your outer, older leaves, this will also trigger new growth from the center and thus more outer leaves! I also don't recommend cutting more than a few pieces at a time. Always leave at 5-6 leaves so it has plenty of life to photosynthesize.
Key to growing these guys is watering, never water if soil is wet!!!! Water only when soil is DRY!!!! Keep away from humidity and Freezing temps!!!!! Full sun is ok, they will grow duller and get some reds in their coloring, full shade will cause a darker green color, experiment with their location and find the coloring you like best!
I hope you learned a little about Growing and Trimming your Aloe Vera succulents, so much more can be said about these guys, maybe next time.