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Sunburnt Aloe Vera Plant (4 Ways to Revive It)

On sunburned skin, Aloe Vera gel is the best thing you can use to soothe the pain. Sunburn can be a problem for this plant if it isn’t properly protected.

The color and texture of your Aloe’s leaves can tell you if it’s getting too much light. Too much sun can cause leaf curling, wilting, and shriveling.

The spiky leaves of this well-known succulent remind us of deserts, of scorching heat and unrelenting sun. In reality, your Aloe will thrive with limited direct sunlight.

You might want to take your aloe outside for a bit of sunshine, but the noonday sun will burn it just as quickly.

How to Determine Whether or Not Your Aloe Is Burned

Pale Spots On The Leaves

Pale Spots On The Leaves Because of Sunburn
Pale Spots on The Leaves Because of Sunburn

Pale patches on the leaves are the first sign of trouble. These are found on the parts of the plant that are closest to the light. This typically appears on the leaves closest to the windows.

The sun’s rays are extremely powerful. It emits ultraviolet radiation, which degrades tissue and the pigments in the leaves.

Chlorophyll is particularly vulnerable to degradation. When this happens, the color fades and your leaves become bleached.

The Leaves Are Drooping And Wilting

Sunburnt Aloe Leaves Are Drooping And Wilting
Sunburnt Aloe Leaves Are Drooping And Wilting

Heat comes with sunlight. As it burns, your Aloe Vera will begin to dehydrate due to excess transpiration. The moisture in the thick, juicy leaves will evaporate. They begin to deflate without it.  Aloe vera begins to droop and become limp.

Curling Leaves

Aloe leaves curling due to sunburn
Aloe leaves curling due to sunburn

Excessive sunlight will also cause your Aloe Vera’s leaves to curl. Due to dehydration, some of this curling occurs.

However, your Aloe will curl its leaves in an attempt to reduce the amount of leaf exposed to the sun. The inside surfaces of a curved leaf cannot be burned.

Brown Leaf Tips

 Brown Leaf Tips Because of Sunburn
Brown Leaf Tips Because of Sunburn

As the leaves of your Aloe Vera begin to dry out, the very tips become crisp and brown. The sun’s blazing rays drive moisture from the leaves’ tips down. The tissue dies as it dries out completely.

Spots That Are Either Brown Or Black

Sunburnt Brown or Black Spots on Aloe Plant
Sunburnt Brown or Black Spots on Aloe Plant

Patches of yellow, brown, or black along with your Aloe’s leaves also indicate sun damage. These areas are damaged and dying.

Keep an eye out for pale patches that turn color and dry to a crisp yellow or brown. Black indicates that the dead tissue is rotting.

The Leaves Turn Pink Or Purple

Sunburned Aloe Vera Plant Turning Pink Purple
Sunburned Aloe Vera Plant Turning Yellow

Your aloe has some defenses against the sun’s wrath. Your Aloe, like all succulents, can produce a substance known as farina. This is a powdery wax coating that functions as sunscreen for succulents.

Aloe vera changes color as a defense mechanism in sun exposure. They produce a chemical named anthocyanin that is responsible for the mentioned colors.

Some collectors prize the color and will purposefully expose their aloes to bright light in order to achieve this dramatic change.

How to Treat Sunburned Aloe Vera

Change The Location Of Your Aloe Vera Plant

The most obvious first step is to relocate your Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera only requires six to eight hours of bright light a day, depending on the cultivar.

While this may appear to be a lot, it is only a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. During the hot summer days, keep your Aloe away from the midday sun.

Rehydrate Your Aloe Vera

Your next step is to give your overheated Aloe a good drink.

Watering from below is the most effective method for reviving a sun-damaged Aloe Vera. It delivers water directly to the roots, where it is most needed. To accomplish this, first:

  • Choose a large tub or basin that is at least half the height of your pot.
  • Place your aloe in the basin after removing it from any drip trays or sauces.
  • Add clean water until the level reaches halfway up the side of your pot. Avoid plain tap water in favor of distilled, filtered, or rainwater.
  • The water will enter the pot through the drainage holes. To keep the level stable, top-up as needed.
  • Allow your Aloe to soak in the water for 30 minutes.
  • Take your Aloe Vera out of the basin. Allow it to drain for at least 15 minutes before placing it back on its saucer or tray.
  • Throughout the day, keep an eye on your plant. Aloe does not like to be left in standing water, so make sure to dispose of any water that appears in trays or saucers.

If you don’t have access to a large enough tub, or if your aloe is particularly large, you may need to water from above.

Aloe Vera plants, like many succulents, prefer a loose, sandy growing medium, so it will take some time to ensure that enough is added to the mix to revive your poor plant.

Begin by slowly pouring small amounts of water into your pot, no more than a quarter of a cup at a time, depending on the size. Apply water evenly across the growing medium’s surface.

When you see small drips from the drainage holes, it’s time to soak the pot for one or two minutes before allowing it to drain. As previously stated, once the excess is removed, you can re-plant your Aloe in its new, shadier location.

Mild Burn Treatment

It is best to leave cosmetic damage caused by mild sunburn alone. Farina is a harmless creature who can be quite charming. Crisp leaf tips will not harm your Aloe Vera, and limp or curled leaves will recover after a good soak.

Keep an eye on your Aloe and keep an eye out for any further damage. It may also need more frequent watering until it regains the distinct plumpness for which Aloe Vera leaves are famous.

Severe Burn Treatment

More severe sunburn in Aloe Vera may necessitate some careful pruning. Remove any leaves that are heavily browned or blackened. Dead leaves on the plant are not only unsightly, but they also invite infection.

Simply cut them off at the base with clean shears or scissors and throw them away.

How to Keep Aloe Vera from Burning

Acclimate your Aloe

If you want to move your Aloe Vera to a brighter location, you should take your time and acclimate it. Your plant will burn if you don’t prepare it ahead of time.

To acclimate your Aloe Vera, gradually move it from its darker origin point into the light.

Personally, I like to take a week or so to gradually move the plant into its brighter new location, relocating it to a new, mildly brighter spot every other day.

As you progress, keep an eye out for signs of heat stress and keep an eye on your water levels. During this process, your Aloe Vera should remain perky and plump.

Avoid the Magnifying Glass Effect

Water your indoor Aloe Vera with caution at all times. Leaves of Aloe Vera are coated in wax, which causes water to bead up on their surface.

When a bright light shines on those water beads, they act as magnifying glasses.

The sun’s ultraviolet light is focused, transforming even the gentlest of sunbeams into a powerful scorching ray.

These burns appear as speckles, which are small white dots that often turn yellow or brown.

Water your Aloe Vera from below, as described above, or directly on the growing medium. If you do wet the leaves, let them dry before exposing your Aloe to the sun.

Window glass can also act as a magnifier, particularly when it comes to heat. Keep your Aloe from coming into direct contact with window glass.

Spray with Care

Aloe Vera is resistant to pests and diseases. However, even the toughest plant can succumb to infestation or infection.

Rust, as well as the tiny insect, is known as the aloe mite, are particular problems for Aloe Vera.

Many topical treatments for these issues make your sick Aloe more susceptible to sunburn and heat stress by trapping heat and amplifying ultraviolet light.

Keep your Aloe Vera out of direct sunlight when treating it. Consider rinsing your plant once your treatment regimen is complete.

This will help remove excess spray and prepare your plant for its return to its usual location.

Sun and Heat Protection

During the summer and spring, keep your Aloe Vera well hydrated. I like to water my Aloe when the growing medium is almost dry but not completely dry.

Check with a chopstick inserted into the pot. If it is withdrawn with only a trace of moisture at the tip, it is time to water. If you want to be precise, a moisture meter will also come in handy. (Check out the prices on Amazon here)

Keep an eye on your light level as the seasons change. Provide shade during the hottest months of the year.

Consider drawing curtains or placing your Aloe near more light-resistant plants, as well as statues or furniture that will provide shade.