A top-heavy aloe plant has you wondering what to do with it?
Aloe plants can become top-heavy if they are too big for their containers because they grow quickly. As a result, they are untidy and frequently fall over, causing harm to other plants in the house.
Repotting an aloe plant is the best way to fix a top-heavy aloe. Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger and well-draining potting soil. Before repotting, pruning your aloe involves removing damaged leaves and trimming the outer leaves. You can also take pups from a top-heavy parent aloe.
Why Does My Aloe Plant Not Stand Up?
Aloe plants are popular due to their hardiness. Even in the harshest environments, they are virtually indestructible. So why would a super-tough aloe plant fail?
The following are the most common causes of aloe plant wilting:
Your Aloe Has Developed a Top-Heavy Form
Top-heavy is a fancy way of saying that your aloe plant has outgrown its container.
But, of course, it doesn’t help that the roots of these succulents are among the shallowest.
Aloe plants, as fast-growing plants, will quickly fill up the container space and need to be repotted as is necessary to avoid becoming top-heavy.
Of course, if your aloe plant is potted in the incorrect size container, it will struggle to stand upright as needed.
Consequently, it will fall over and hurt your other plants. Worse, it will harm its leaves or cause the stem to split in half.
Wrong Potting Mix
Aloe vera thrives in various soil types, from loam to sandy. However, when potted, the growing medium should be well-draining.
Their natural habitats typically consist of slopes, so they’re used to having good drainage.
Fungal infections and root rot can occur if the soil isn’t properly drained. Therefore, the roots will be damaged, causing your aloe plant to tip over under the weight of its leaves.
If you don’t know how to make your own aloe mix, buy a good batch of the cactus mix instead (Check the latest price on Amazon here).
The drainage properties can then be improved by adding sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
Watering Issues and Root Rot
The good news is that aloe plants can tolerate dry conditions quite well.
When you water your plants, you must let the growing medium dry out completely between each one.
Aloe leaves will turn yellow and fall over if subjected to extreme water stress, such as prolonged drought or overwatering.
If you have an aloe plant growing outside, don’t give it any more water during the rainy season.
Remember that most aloe plants go into dormancy during the cold winter months, so avoid watering them.
Aloe vera is a sun-loving, drought-tolerant plant. Therefore, you should place it in an area that receives a lot of sunlight, but not direct sunlight, to protect the delicate leaves from being burned.
Unfortunately, suppose you don’t provide enough sunlight to your plant for an extended period.
In that case, it may not stand and may even fall over. Lower leaves should turn yellow if the plant is unhappy with the lack of sunlight.
Temperature Stress, Cold Drafts, or Frost
Aloe plants do best and are in the best shape when the temperature is between 55-80°F (13-27°C).
It can tolerate temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C), but it cannot stand frost or cold drafts.
Like most plants, it needs the right conditions to grow strong roots and stay balanced.
The aloe leaves will shrink if temperatures rise too high, and the plant will not stand as expected.
Temperatures below 40°F (4°C) or cold drafts can also damage aloe plants’ roots and make them more vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections as well.
But, again, this will have the same result: the plant will fall over or not stand up in the correct position due to root problems.
How to Fix a Top Heavy Aloe Plant
A top-heavy aloe plant is likely too big for its container and will lean or fall over. Repotting is the simplest and most effective natural solution to this problem.
Here are the most critical steps to divide, clean up, and repot your top-heavy aloe plant:
Step #1: Harvesting the Large Outer Leaves
Let me be crystal clear: you should never remove the center leaves. They play a critical role in the overall well-being of the plant.
Outer leaves tend to be larger in size, as well as heavier. Thus, they make up most of your aloe vera’s weight at the top.
The larger outer leaves of your aloe plant can be harvested to keep it from growing too large.
In addition, you can use their gel for beauty and medicinal purposes if you cut them at the base.
Aloe leaves also keep well in cool, dry places. Of course, you can toss them in the trash if you don’t need them.
Using larger leaves in any way will result in a less heavy plant and less likely to topple over.
Step #2: Dividing Your Top Heavy Aloe Plant
First, you should remove the too heavy plant at the top. Then, gently remove as much of the root system as you can. You’ll get a good look at the root ball this way.
It’s time to identify and divide the plantlets or pups in this stage.
Then, they can be easily separated from their mother plant and replanted independently.
It’ll be great if the roots can be divided. But, if they don’t have any roots, their chances of survival are practically zero.
Pry out pups that aren’t easily separated with a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors.
Step #3: Allow Divided Aloe Plants to Heal
While shoots, pups, and whole leaves can be separated from the parent plant, it is critical to allow them to heal.
If a cut is left in the proper location, it will heal in about 24 hours, during which time a callus will form around or over the wound or cut.
Step #4: Replant/Repot Your Aloe
After you’ve snipped off a good chunk of the aloe plant’s base, you should give it a couple of days to heal. This will allow the cut area to heal and develop a callus.
To create a protective layer, spread the dried leaves on top of the gel and allow them to dry completely.
For this to happen, it should take between two and three days to occur.
The next step is to add the loamy soil mixture and bury the leaf up to a third of its depth. Remember to squirt a little bit of water onto the leaf.
During the first 30 days after transplanting, make sure the potting mix is moist but not soggy. It should, of course, be wet or soggy.
Aloe’s new roots will begin to emerge soon after it is transplanted.
Keep it near a window that gets plenty of sunlight and only water it when necessary (around once a week).
Fixing Top Heavy Aloe Plant by Trimming
An aloe plant that is too heavy at the top can be easily trimmed to make it lighter.
A well-trimmed aloe plant that won’t topple over while allowing you to remove the dead or unsightly plant matter will be the result.
Trimming a top-heavy aloe plant requires three key steps. These are some of the more notable ones:
1- Start by Pruning your Aloe Plant
A pair of scissors, a knife, or a gardener’s shears is the best tool for the job. But, first, you must clean and disinfect the instrument in a 1:10 solution of bleach and water.
Make sure the instrument is reasonably sharp, so you don’t end up doing more harm than good to your aloe plant. Serrated or blunt cuts will require more time to heal.
2- Cut Away Damaged Leaves
Trimming is a great time to cut off any leaves that are dead, diseased, or otherwise messed up. As a rule of thumb, don’t bother with any leaves that have turned brown or distorted.
3. Prune Outer Leaves
Again, the outer leaves of an aloe plant are heavier and larger than the inner leaves.
Therefore, it is beneficial to remove them to give the remaining ones more breathing room.
But, more importantly, it will remove some of the weight from the top of your plant.
How To Repot A Top Heavy Aloe Plant
Here’s how to transplant and repot a top-heavy aloe plant:
1- Pick the Right Pot
When reporting your aloe plant, be sure to use a pot with good drainage. The pot should be one size larger in width than depth. With three or more drainage holes, I prefer a terracotta pot.
2- Select Proper Potting Mix
Do not reuse any of your potting soil. Cacti mixes are often used in my aloe plants.
Perlite, orchid bark, or coarse sand is all that’s needed to keep them well-drained, but a little loamy soil would be ideal. (Source: North Carolina State University)
3- Set Up the Pot
Cover the drainage holes with a screen or paper towel sheets at the bottom. This will keep soil from falling through.
4- Plant Your Aloe Vera
Fill the new pot to about one-third of its capacity, then transplant your aloe plant into it. Cover the roots with more soil mixture.
5- Finishing Touches
Add more orchid bark to the top of the soil and lightly water. You can use stakes to keep the aloe plant in place until it re-establishes itself in the new pot.
How To Support A Top Heavy Aloe Plant
To support a top-heavy aloe plant, use stakes and jute strings.