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MissAnthrope's avatar

Why is my aloe vera plant turning orange?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21399 points ) May 30th, 2008

I tried to look this up on my own and came up with a lot of conflicting answers. I have the aloe in a pot, currently outside in a spot that gets direct sunlight from sunrise to about 12–1 p.m. From what I’ve read, aloes like sunlight, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

The leaf spikes are turning orange and the plant doesn’t look like it’s doing too well. I’m confused because I’ve had it for a year and I thought I’d gotten down what it likes in terms of water and sun. I could possibly be over-watering, but I generally only water my plants once the soil is dry. Does anyone who has knowledge of aloes know what the turning orange means and how to rectify it?

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7 Answers

syz's avatar

Aloes are succulents and don’t need much water at all – the most common problem is over watering.

marinelife's avatar

Have you repotted it during the time you have had it? The soil builds up minerals and other impurities from the watering.

It also loses its nutritive value. have you fed the plant at all?

Have you looked closely for scale or spider mites or other fungal or insect infestation?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks for your responses! Yes, I repotted the plant maybe 7–8 months ago. I got it as a small plant from a mail-order company, potted and staked it, and then repotted it when it took off in growth. It had quite a lot of roots and up until now has been incredibly healthy and growing fast. I brought it inside during winter, didn’t water it that much, as it seemed really healthy despite the dry soil.

I noticed the leaves turning orange about a month and a half ago. I didn’t know what to do about it and just kept an eye on it, but now it’s definitely worse and I don’t want the plant to die.

I have given it plant food recently, but that isn’t something I’ve done with regularity. I will look more closely at it to see if there’s some sort of infestation, but I haven’t noticed anything unusual. I hope it doesn’t have spider mites, I hate those things with a passion.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I looked closely at the entire plant and I don’t see anything.. the plant itself would look healthy and normal but for it turning orange.

I’ll cut back on the water and up the plant food applications and see if that helps.

marinelife's avatar

Is there a master gardener you could consult near you? You can usually look them up on the Web. It’s kind of hard to diagnose without seeing the plant. They could take a look and tell you what the problem is likely to be.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I wanted to follow up on this.. First I cut off the worst of the orange leaves, so the plant wouldn’t waste energy trying to maintain them. Then we re-potted the aloe, and surprise, surprise, the roots had pretty much overgrown the pot. I didn’t expect it because I kept hearing how shallow the root system is and all of that, but I guess when you have limited soil space, you get roots all the way down to the bottom.

We put it in a pot at least twice as big, using a soil mixture we made up ourselves, lots of peat moss and perlite sand for drainage mixed in with regular potting soil and a bit of compost, about an inch of perlite on the bottom of the pot underneath the soil. I also cut way back on the watering.

And guess what! A month later, we have, once again, a strong and healthy aloe plant. No more orange leaves! Yay!!!

Thanks to everyone for your responses to my question. They were very helpful and you did, indeed, save a lovely aloe. Kind of wish I could post its picture here, so you could all see. :)

Knotmyday's avatar

Post it on Flikr!
I just planted a bunch of Zebra Aloe out front, and they had outgrown their pots as well. I’ll post a pic when I get the time, ‘cause I’m kinda proud of the rock garden…

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