How To Re-pot a Leggy Aloe Vera Plant: The Easy Method

Aloe Vera is a succulent native to Africa and the Arabian peninsula, valued for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years. Aloe has antibacterial properties that can heal wounds, burns, and sores.

Aloe Vera can soothe sunburns after a long day at the beach, relieve constipation, and manage dental plaque buildup. With all the fantastic benefits Aloe Vera offers, gardeners eagerly add this plant to their succulent gardens or propagate it indoors.

Healthy Aloe Vera leaves grow upward first and then closer together. When the leaves become elongated or begin drooping rather than lush and full, it is a sign that something is wrong with the plant. Often, the plant will need to be changed to a larger container so that its root systems have more room to expand.

To re-pot, a leggy Aloe Vera plant, remove the plant from the soil, brush away the dirt from the roots, remove any diseased roots or leaves, and replant the succulent in a larger container with well-drained, sandy soil. 

How To Re-pot a Leggy Aloe Vera Plant

repot aloe veraSome typical causes of leggy Aloe Vera include a lack of sufficient sunlight, excessive water, excessive fertilizer, or the wrong container size. The quick and uneven growth of Aloe Vera leaves is called etiolation. If you notice your Aloe Vera plant becoming elongated or drooping outward instead of growing stiffly upward and towards the center, it is probably experiencing etiolation.

To keep your plant healthy and avoid etiolation, ensure that it is in a sunny site and that you are not giving it too much moisture. If water and light are not a concern, you may need to transfer the plant into a larger container.

Because healthy Aloe Vera does not grow outward, it can suggest that the roots are narrow and do not require more space. However, this is a common misconception. While Aloe Vera does not require a deep container, it does need a wide container. A good rule is that the pot should be at least 2 inches (5 cm) wider than the plant.

Observe your plant and use the process of elimination to determine the cause of the Aloe’s etiolation. Once you rule out sunlight and water requirements as the problem, you can assume that it is time to provide your Aloe succulent with more space. Here is the easy way to re-pot a leggy Aloe Vera plant:

  1. Remove the Aloe Vera plant from the container. First, you will need to remove the plant from its existing container. Brush away the soil from the roots to inspect the root health.
  2. Remove any dead or infected roots. If any roots appear dead, overgrown, or infected, remove them using a pair of clean scissors or gardening shears.
  3. Use the correct soil. Succulents like Aloe Vera need well-drained, sandy soil. Use two parts potting soil, one part sand, and one part perlite for best results. Fill the container two-thirds of the way full and then plant the Aloe.
  4. Use the correct container. Aloe Vera requires a planter that is more wide than deep. The Aloe Vera has shallow roots that need to expand horizontally. It is also essential to use a well-drained container to help with moisture control.
  5. Avoid fertilizer. Aloe Vera does not require fertilizer. Adding fertilizer to Aloe plants can damage the roots or the plant itself. At a minimum, fertilizer can set back your plant’s growth rate. Worst case scenario, it can kill the plant.

How To Save a Leggy Aloe Vera Plant

  1. Prune. Sometimes it is not necessary to re-pot a leggy Aloe plant. If you notice dead leaves or flowers, remove them from the plant. Use clean scissors or gardening shears and clip the leaf where it meets the stem.
  2. Say “Yes” to Sunshine. Aloe Vera is a succulent that loves warm temperatures and sunlight. It cannot thrive without several hours of direct or indirect sunlight daily. If growing indoors, be sure to place it near a window.
  3. Say “No” to Water. As we have mentioned, Aloe Vera plants are succulents, requiring very little moisture. Aloe typically only needs water every three weeks. Frequent watering can overwhelm the plant, causing it to produce leaves too quickly.

Why Is My Aloe Plant Tall and Skinny?

alo veraAloe Vera plants can become leggy when they experience etiolation– the phenomena in which the Aloe plant is trying to remedy its deficiency. For instance, if the plant is not receiving enough sunlight, it may elongate as if it is reaching toward the sun.

If you notice one part of the plant is reaching toward a window or well-lit area while the part of the plant already facing the window appears healthy, etiolation may be the result of too-little sunshine.

If your plant is experiencing etiolation due to excessive water, it may rapidly grow new leaves to accommodate the extra moisture. Since Aloe is a succulent that efficiently conserves its water supply, too much water will cause it to produce more leaves that may appear spindly or leggy.

Aloe Vera does not require fertilizer. It is a hardy succulent that can grow even in harsh conditions. If you add fertilizer to the soil, it can burn the roots and leaves. Avoid adding fertilizer to a leggy Aloe plant in hopes that it will help.

Finally, your plant may experience etiolation because its roots do not have enough room to expand appropriately. Even though Aloe Vera plants are small, they require a well-drained container around 2 inches (5 cm) wider than the plant.

FAQs About Leggy Aloe Vera Plants

How Can I Separate an Overgrown Aloe Plant?

To separate an overgrown Aloe plant, remove it from its container and look at the roots. If the root system supports separate stems, gently pull them apart, careful not to tear any roots.

Carelessness in separating plants can cause them to die. Just replant the separated succulent in well-drained, sandy soil and ensure it gets plenty of sunlight.

What Is Aloe Vera Transplant Shock?

repot aloNewly transplanted Aloe Vera can present with brown leaves. Even though these succulents typically require little water and extra sun, the newly transplanted Aloe may need some pampering while it adjusts to its new environment.

Try watering it once a week rather than every three weeks, and give it some shade each day. Once the Aloe perks up, it can be moved back to a sunny location and return to its regular watering schedule.

Can I Re-pot Aloe Vera Plants Indoors?

Aloe Vera is an excellent plant to grow indoors. It requires warm soil and sunlight, so set it near a window. Use well-drained soil, transfer it to a container 2 inches (5 cm) wider than the plant, and continue to monitor the Aloe for signs of etiolation.


Aloe Vera is a widely versatile succulent with fantastic health benefits. It is easy to grow Aloe indoors with the correct light, soil, and container. Etiolation is caused by a deficiency in the plant or roots. If the plant becomes leggy and droopy, it probably needs more sun, less water, or a larger container.

It is easy to re-pot a leggy Aloe Vera plant with the right tools. To re-pot, a leggy Aloe Vera plant, remove the plant from the soil, brush away the dirt from the roots, remove any diseased roots or leaves, and replant the succulent in a larger container with well-drained, sandy soil.

Be sure the plant has plenty of sunlight, warm temperatures, and a container that can accommodate its roots. Refrain from using fertilizer or too much moisture. Prune and monitor the plant regularly to optimize your results.