Rooting aloe vera cuttings is easier than you might think, and it’s the best way to get a sizable new plant quickly, or save a leggy one.
In this detailed step by step guide, I’ll show you all you need to know about rooting cuttings from your aloe vera. Including how to take and prepare them, my expert tips for success, and even how to pot them up afterward.
What Are Aloe Vera Cuttings?
There is a lot of confusion out there about the type of aloe vera cuttings that you can root, so I thought I would start with a few definitions to help clarify. There are 2 different types:
- Stem cuttings – This is where you cut off the entire main stem and root it. It is the easiest method, and the one that I will show you how to do in this guide.
- Leaf cuttings – For some plants you can root sections or pieces of the leaves, but this will not work for aloe vera. It might be possible with whole leaves that have a part of the stem attached, but it is a very difficult and advanced technique.
I remember the first time I tried rooting a cutting from my aloe vera – I was terrified! You see, several years ago my 20-year-old plant had gotten pretty leggy. So I decided to take a chance on topping the entire thing. Yikes!
I had no idea if it would work or not, but the poor thing was ready to fall right out of the pot, and it kept tipping over, so I didn’t have any other choice.
Well, I’m sure you guessed by now that my experiment was a success. Since then I have rooted many other aloe vera cuttings, and (knock on wood) have never had any failures.
The idea may scare you too, but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it all step by step so you can be successful too.
When To Root Aloe Vera
The ideal time of the year to root your aloe vera cuttings is in the summer when it’s hot and humid outside. You’ll get the quickest results during the warmer months.
It could also work in the fall or winter, if you’re patient enough. But it will be a much slower process, and the roots may not start developing until spring.
How To Take Aloe Vera Cuttings
If you don’t take your aloe vera cuttings the right way, they might not root. So for the best chance of success, keep these important things in mind:
- Look for a part of the stem that has a few nodes on it, or better yet small starter roots.
- Take cuttings that are long enough to have at least a 3 inch exposed section on the bottom.
- Use heavy duty pruners for thick stems, and make sure they are sharp and sterile for a clean cut.
- Don’t toss out the bottom half. Leave it in the pot and it will form pups around the base for even more new plants. Learn how to propagate aloe vera pups here.
Preparing Your Cuttings
Once you make the cut, remove the lowest leaves, if necessary, so that at least 3” of the stem is exposed. Don’t remove all of the leaves though, there should still be a few on top.
Before you try rooting your aloe vera, you must allow the cutting to cure (i.e.: dry out) and callous over first. To do that, simply place it in a dry area out of the direct sunlight.
The larger it is, the longer you should let it cure. Give small ones about a week, and larger ones (like the one in my photos) 2-3 weeks.
Do not skip this step, or it may end up rotting. You’ll know it’s ready when the wound is completely calloused over and the stem feels dry to the touch.
I also highly recommend that you dust the stem with rooting hormone. This will help stimulate healthy root development, and give you the quickest results.
Related Post: How To Grow & Care For Aloe Vera Plants
How Long Does It Take Aloe Vera Cuttings To Root?
In the right conditions, it can take as little as a few weeks for your aloe vera to start rooting. But it will usually be a month or more before they are mature enough to repot.
Why Won’t My Aloe Vera Cutting Root?
There are a few common reasons why your aloe vera cuttings aren’t rooting. The two main ones are that it’s too cold, or the medium is too wet.
If you’re attempting to do this during the fall or winter, then it’s likely too cold. They will root much faster in a warm environment. Try setting the container on top of a heat mat or moving it to a warm sunny window.
Otherwise check the medium to make sure it’s not wet, it should be almost bone-dry. If it’s soggy or saturated, your cutting may be rotting. Use a moisture gauge if you’re unsure, it should stay between 2 and 3.
Related Post: How To Water Aloe Vera
How To Pot Up Your Rooted Cuttings
Once the roots are 3-4” long, it’s time to pot it up. Move it into a container that’s only one size larger than the current one.
Use a well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes. Then plant it at the same depth it was in the original one.
Of course this isn’t required. If the container you used is large enough, you can just leave it in there until it becomes a mature plant or it outgrows the pot.
Related Post: When & How To Repot Your Aloe Vera
You cannot root sections or pieces of aloe vera leaves, though you might be able to use a whole leaf. But it must have some of the main stem attached at the bottom, or it will not work. Also it is a very tedious process that’s likely to involve a lot of trial and error, so you may find that it’s not worth the effort.
While you may be able to root aloe vera cuttings in water, it’s not the ideal method to use because they will likely rot. So I highly recommend putting them in a sandy, porous medium rather than water.
Yes, you can cut a stem of your aloe vera and replant it, though I don’t recommend breaking it off. The stem should have several nodes or a few starter roots on it, and you need to allow the wound to cure before replanting it.
Rooting aloe vera cuttings is easy once you get the hang of it. It’s the fastest way to multiply yours to get a large plant, and also a great way to save a leggy one.
More About Aloe Vera
- How To Make DIY Aloe Vera Gel At Home
- How To Store Aloe Vera (Leaves Or Gel)
- How & When To Harvest Aloe Vera
More About Plant Propagation
- How To Propagate Succulents In Winter
- Propagating String Of Pearls In Water Or Soil
- Propagating Peperomia In Water Or Soil
Share your tips for rooting aloe vera cuttings in the comments section below.