It’s fun and easy to propagate aloe vera plants, and soon you’ll have tons of new babies to share with friends. In this post, I will talk about the different methods for propagating aloe vera, give you tips for how to encourage aloe pups, and show you exactly how to separate aloe plants step-by-step.
Aloe vera succulent plants are one of my all time favorites, and they make excellent, low maintenance houseplants. I’ve had mine for almost 20 years, and I’ve propagated it many times over. In fact, most of my friends and family (and even a some of my neighbors) have babies from it.
Whether you’re growing an aloe plant as a houseplant, or in your garden, the steps for propagating aloe vera are the same. First let’s talk a little about aloe vera reproduction.
How Do Aloe Vera Plants Reproduce?
Aloe vera propagation can be done by division, by stem cuttings, or by growing seeds. The easiest and most common way to propagate aloe vera is by division. So, in this post, I will show you how to split an aloe vera plant. I’ll save the two other methods to use as topics of future posts.
Related Post: How To Propagate Banana Plants
What Are Aloe Vera Pups?
New aloe vera plants grow at the base of the plant, and those are called pups. But there are several other common names for aloe vera pups. So, you may also here them called suckers, offshoots, offsets, babies, slips, or sometimes plantlets.
Whatever you want to call them, once they’re mature, they can be separated from the plant and potted up to make new plants. Once these baby plants are mature enough, you can propagate aloe vera plants by removing the babies from the plant and potting them up on their own.
When Will My Aloe Vera Grow Pups?
With proper care, it doesn’t take long for a plant to start producing offshoots of it’s own. Older plants tend produce pups more prolifically than younger plants. But a young aloe vera plant can start growing pups within the first few years.
I’ve had small aloe vera plants produce pups in as little as a year after planting them on their own. But it can also take much longer than that, depending on the growing conditions. A healthy aloe plant is much more likely to grow pups than one that’s struggling.
How To Encourage Aloe Pups
If your plant hasn’t grown any offsets yet, there are certainly things you can do to try to encourage aloe pups. First, be sure that it’s getting plenty of light. If you’re growing aloe vera indoors, move it to a south facing window or add a grow light.
You could also try putting it outside during the summer to encourage aloe pups. If you do that, just be sure to slowly acclimate it to a full sun location so it won’t get sunburn (yes, ironic I know, but aloe vera plants can get sunburn!). Also, be sure that your aloe is in a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom before moving it outside.
Keep in mind that aloes thrives on neglect, so make sure you’re not overwatering it. Always allow the soil to dry out before watering it again. I water my large aloe plant maybe once or twice during the winter. It goes outside in the summer where it gets watered only when it rains. And my plant grows new pups every year.
You could also try giving your aloe a shot of fertilizer in the spring or early summer to encourage pups. A general purpose organic succulent plant fertilizer will work great. Compost tea is also a great choice to use for aloe vera plant fertilizer. You can use a pre-made compost tea, or you can buy compost tea bags and brew your own aloe fertilizer.
When To Propagate Aloe Vera
You can divide aloe vera plants at any time during the year, but you must wait until the pups are mature enough to be removed. The best way to tell if the babies are ready to be separated is to check the aloe plant roots.
To do that, carefully slide the entire plant out of the pot. Then brush away the dirt until you can see the bottoms of the pups. You’ll know they are ready to be removed because they’ll have their own roots.
Only remove the ones that have their own root system because aloe pups without roots may not be able to survive on their own. So, if all of the offshoots are really small and you can’t see any roots, then put the plant back into the pot and give it a few more months for the pups to grow.
How To Separate Aloe Vera Plants Step-By-Step
Once you’ve determined that it’s safe to start splitting an aloe plant, then it’s time to collect a few supplies. Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive propagation supplies. In fact, you probably already have most of this stuff on hand!
- Succulent potting soil
- Clean containers (for potting up the babies)
- Metal chopsticks (makes it easier to detangle the roots)
- Pair of clippers or a sharp knife
- Trowel (optional)
Steps to propagate aloe vera plants:
Step 1: Loosen the root system: It can be difficult to untangle thick aloe vera plant roots without disturbing them too much, so you may need to be extremely patient here. You don’t want to accidentally break any of the delicate roots off of the pups. Brushing away and shaking off as much dirt from the root system as you can will help to make splitting an aloe plant a bit easier.
Step 2: Cut the pup from the main plant – If the stem of the pup is still attached to the mother plant, sever the connection with a sharp knife or pair of clippers. This will make the job of untangling their roots much easier.
Step 3: Untangle the pups roots – Gently tease and untangle the pups roots to separate them, trying not to break any of the roots in the process. This is going to sound silly, but using a metal chopstick makes detangling the aloe root system much easier. I got a pair of these a few years ago, and they are awesome to use to propagate aloe vera like this!
Step 4: Use rooting hormone for immature pups – If any of the aloe offsets you removed don’t have a lot of roots, they only have small root nubs on them, or the roots broke off, you can use rooting hormone to help the pups develop strong roots faster. Simply dip the end into the rooting powder before sticking it into the soil.
Step 5: Repot the main plant – Once you’re done removing the pups, you can simply slide the mother plant back into the original pot and top it off with fresh aloe vera potting soil. Otherwise, this is a great time to repot it into a new container if you want. Don’t use too large of a container for repotting an aloe plant though, because they like to be pot-bound.
How To Plant Aloe Vera Babies
Now that they’re removed, you can plant each individual pup into its own pot. Since they are succulents, the best potting soil for aloe vera plants is a sandy, fast draining mix.
You can purchase potting soil that’s specifically made for succulents, or make your own using a mix of coarse sand, general potting soil and perlite or pumice. (here’s my recipe for how to make your own succulent soil mix).
If you have a lot of pups you want to pot up and share, these small pots are the perfect size to use. If you tend to overwater plants, choose a pot with drainage holes or a clay pot. You can also use a gritty succulent soil as a potting mix for aloe vera, which will give them extra drainage.
Plant each pup in the new pot at the same depth it was in the old pot. Don’t forget to add a plant tag to each plant if you’re going to share them with friends.
How To Take Care Of A Baby Aloe Vera Plant
After transplanting aloe vera starts, wait for several days before watering them, especially if the soil is already damp. This will give them time to recover from the shock.
Taking care of aloe vera pups is no different than caring for the mother plant. Just remember, they thrive on neglect, so don’t kill them with kindness. Learn more details about how to care for aloe vera plants.
That’s it, now that you know the steps to propagate aloe vera by division, you’ll have an endless supply of aloe. Just look at all those new aloe plants! Be sure to share them with friends. I mean, who wouldn’t want free aloe vera plants!? They make great gifts too!
Do you want to learn even more about propagating your plants? Then you will love my Plant Propagation eBook! It will teach you all of the basic methods for propagating plants so that you will be able to propagate any plant that you want! Download your copy today!
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Share your tips for how to propagate aloe vera in the comments section below.