Most of the time, Aloe stems are relatively short and grow with a lot of thick leaves attached to them. However, you may come across a stem on an Aloe plant that has grown so quickly that leaves haven’t had time to form. But what does this mean and how do you fix it?
Aloe plants grow long stems for a variety of reasons. They aren’t usually dangerous for your plant and thankfully, it is easy to fix a leggy stem with quick trimming and some regular maintenance. There are three main ways to fix an Aloe Vera stem that is too long, either cut it back, repot it, or fix your plant’s environment.
Below, you will learn more about how these stems grow to be as long, steps to fix the issue, and how to possibly prevent it from happening in the future.
Why Is My Aloe Stem So Long?
Aloe grows quickly when in new or insufficient habitats. Often, the most common reason for an Aloe plant to grow upwards like this is when there isn’t enough light for them. So the plant starts to grow upwards to reach for more light. There are many other reasons why an Aloe plant may start to grow like this, though.
When an Aloe grows quickly in one direction, it is known as a leggy Aloe plant. They may grow straight up, at an angle, or sideways depending on their needs. When this happens, you have a few options on how to handle it.
A Quick Guide on How to Shorten Aloe Vera Stems
There is only one way to shorten your Aloe stem and that is by cutting it. By cutting the stem, you not only shorten the stem, but you promote bushier growth instead of taller growth in your Aloe Vera.
Cutting back your Aloe is considered the best option. It is an easy way to promote bushiness and prevent your plant from growing out of control. While repotting is an option, if you don’t know what’s causing your plant to be leggy, you might just end up with a leggy plant in a bigger pot.
Cutting back your Aloe plant is easy, and can be part of your usual maintenance. Here are some steps that you can take to ensure a smooth process:
- Plan: Always plan out what you want to do before you make any cuts. You can only cut once, and if it doesn’t turn out how you want, you can’t often go back and fix it. Get an idea of what height you want and how you want it to look.
- Trim unwanted areas: Start with trimming any weak stems, dying leaves, or brown parts. These dying areas cannot come back to life, so cutting them off prevents excess energy drain as your Aloe plant will continue to feed and keep them alive as long as possible. Also, this is the time to cut off the stems you don’t want anymore.
- Clean the areas: Treat the areas where you cut like a wound. You don’t want any soil or water to sit on these spots, or you risk causing rot.
- Give your plant lots of care: Remember that your Aloe plant stores water in the leaves. By cutting off stems and leaves, you cause them to lose a fair amount of water. Make sure that while you don’t cause the soil to become too soggy, you give them a good watering.
Repot Your Plant
Repotting is another option for helping with your leggy plant. While it won’t remove the initial leggy stem, it can help prevent any stems from shooting up in the future. If your plant has too narrow of a pot, it may begin to shoot up to get a little more sun.
Repotting your plant into a wider pot can help them to spread out, and not feel like they have to shoot up stems to get more nutrients.
Give Your Plant A Perfect Environment
Other factors can influence your plant’s environment other than size. This includes things like light, nutrients, and temperature. If these factors are off, it can sometimes stimulate your plant to grow a stem quickly.
This may be a stress response or a way to try and get more sunlight, or just because the plant is thriving where they are.
Finding your plant’s ideal conditions where they aren’t so happy that they shoot up, but also not so in need of nutrients can be hard. Many people find just keeping up with trimming a lot easier. However, if you want to reduce the likelihood of your Aloe growing leggy stems, it can be well worth it to try and experiment with your gardening environment.
Commons Causes For Leggy Aloe Vera
Aloe tends to grow too long for a variety of reasons. It could just be their age, an unfavorable condition, or even a too-favorable condition.
Lack of Light
If your Aloe plant isn’t getting enough light, it may attempt to shoot up some stalks and leaves to find a more favorable condition. While Aloe plants don’t like direct sunlight, they generally want quite a bit of sun, usually six to eight hours of indirect sunlight a day.
If your Aloe plant’s stem is growing too long, it’s best to move your plant somewhere it can be in indirect sunlight for a longer period during the day.
Though it isn’t easy to tell when the plant is just starting to grow, some Aloe Vera plants are just naturally leggy. This means that they will produce a lot of taller stems, or stems that stick out to the side a lot more than others.
For the most part, the environmental conditions don’t matter. As long as they have enough nutrients, light, and water, they will be prone to growing longer stems. The only way to combat this is to keep it trimmed frequently.
Aloe plants do need water, but they tend to do best in slightly drier environments. They can store a lot of water in their stems and leaves. Giving them too much water can cause weaker stems.
While the plant isn’t necessarily shooting up and becoming leggy, an overwatered plant will seem that way. This is because the leaves will become soft and start to fall off of the stems. This can give the appearance of a leggy Aloe plant. However, the stems will also be soft and squishy and may struggle or be unable to support themselves.
Too Much Fertilizer
Aloe plants usually grow slowly compared to other plants. For this reason, they don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Most Aloe owners suggest adding fertilizer to the plants only once a year.
With too many nutrients in the soil, the plant may begin to grow in unusual ways and faster than normal. This can lead to a leggy Aloe Vera plant.
Too Small of a Pot
Aloe plants tend to keep their roots pretty shallow. This means that no matter how deep your pot is, the Aloe plant may find itself running out of space. Wider pots tend to work better for them, as it allows the plant to sprawl out.
Aloe plants thrive in hot temperatures. When it is in an ideal condition with plenty of water, a good amount of sunlight, and hot temperatures, the plant may naturally grow taller stems and more quickly.
Do You Have to Trim Leggy Aloe?
Trimming an Aloe stem that is too long isn’t necessary. As long as the plant has a steady stem, it can grow upwards without a problem. Sometimes, they may grow so fast that the stem isn’t able to properly support the rest of the structure though.
If this is the case, you either need to trim it back or add something to give the plant some support.
Many people choose to cut leggy Aloe, as it doesn’t look too attractive. There are usually a lot of bare patches along the stem without leaves, making it not look as nice as it could.
By cutting a too-long stem, you also help promote bushiness in your plant. Instead of trying to grow taller and flower, it will focus more on the growth of new leaves.
This is the appearance that most Aloe owners prefer. But in reality, as long as it isn’t so top-heavy that it tips over, there is no issue with having a leggy Aloe. If you decide to cut it back, try and do it early, while the stem is still a little softer, to reduce the damage to your plant.
Aloe Vera stems that are too long may not be visually attractive, but as long as your plant isn’t tipping itself over due to the weight, there is no harm in letting it grow tall. However, if you don’t want a leggy Aloe plant or it is growing too tall, you can always trim it. Depending on the plant, trimming it will usually promote a bushier Aloe plant.
There are three main ways to fix an Aloe Vera stem that’s too long, which are to cut back your plant, repot it, or find it a perfect environment in which to grow.
The growth of your Aloe plant is affected by six main factors: temperature, size of the pot, water levels, fertilization, light, and genetics. If you can work to optimize these factors, your Aloe Vera plant will thrive and be a wonderful addition to your home!