Mastering the Art of Planting Rootless Aloe Vera: Made Simple

The true aloe (Aloe vera) is a popular medicinal plant from the Arab world, which is used in folk medicine and cosmetics due to its ingredients. If you have a specimen of the aloe plant yourself, but want to propagate it, there are several methods available. Aloes are quite easy to propagate because they provide a lot of plant material that can be used for this very purpose. We will also show How to plant aloe vera without roots.


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“Aloe Vera Plant” by brykmantra is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Before you can propagate the aloe vera, you should mix the substrate together. Aloes can only thrive in the right substrate and it does not matter whether you use cuttings or offshoot propagation, the substrate in the pot must meet certain requirements. In conventional garden soil, the cuttings and leaf cuttings would only die or rot immediately, which of course you want to avoid. The following substrate mixtures are very suitable for aloes:

  • 3 parts cactus soil, 1 part perlite, 1 part lava granulate
  • 2.5 parts succulent soil, 1 part lava granulate, 1 part vermiculite,
  • 2.5 parts potting soil, 1 part lava granulate, 1 part pumice gravel, half part quartz sand

These mixtures offer the young aloe plants the necessary conditions to be able to grow effectively. Not only can the roots find support immediately, the aloes can look forward to a rich supply of nutrients and fresh air, while they are not exposed to waterlogging. Mix the ingredients together and check the density of the substrate by squeezing it once. As long as the mixture doesn’t collapse again, the mixture is right. Finally, check the pH value. This should be between 6.0 and 8.0. Add some garden lime if the value is not high enough.

Propagation by Cuttings: instructions

When propagating cuttings, you also rely on plant material that the mother plant forms. In contrast to the method with offshoots, this method mainly rejuvenates older plants. However, you have to be aware that this type of propagation does not work quite as effectively and often goes wrong, as the separated leaf cuttings have a lot of moisture, which leads to the rotten leaves in the soil. Only a few leaf cuttings develop roots, but the method can still work. For this you need:

  • Pruning shears, alternatively large scissors or a sharp knife
  • Pot with drainage hole in the bottom
  • Drainage material: pottery shards or gravel
  • One of the substrate mixtures mentioned above
  • Root hormone, alternatively cinnamon, willow water or honey
how to plant aloe vera without roots
How to plant aloe vera without roots? Use leaf cuttings!

If you are propagating from cuttings, choosing the right soil is even more important as it will help prevent the leaves from rotting. The substrate with the cactus soil is particularly suitable for leaf cuttings and should therefore be used for this method. They store a lot of moisture and release it to the plant in small amounts, which is particularly important with succulents such as the aloes. Proceed as follows to propagate:

1. Cut off leaves & dry

First, cut a leaf at least 8 cm long from the adult aloe. The larger the plant, the more leaves you can cut off, but you should never cut too many at once. The scissors or knife should be clean for this in order not to infect the plant with pathogens.

After you’ve cut the leaves, store them in a warm, dry place for up to two weeks. Here the leaves have to air dry so that they do not rot in the substrate. They are dried until a white film forms over them, which prevents mold infestation. Once you see this, you can start propagating.

2. Fill the pot with substrate

Cover the bottom of the pot thinly with the drainage material. You don’t need a lot, only for the drainage system to work.

Then fill the entire pot with soil to about three centimeters below the rim. Be careful not to fill it all the way to the edge, otherwise the substrate could spill.

3. Plant cuttings

Now dip the leaf in a glass with root hormone to encourage the aloe to form roots, which is quite slow. Alternatively, dip them in honey or ground cinnamon. Willow water is also possible. Be careful not to get the leaf cutting too wet before you put it in the substrate.

Insert the cuttings lengthwise into the earth, covered with a very thin layer of substrate. A part should still look out of the earth so that light can reach it. Finally, place the pot in a sunny and warm place and carefully water the soil. Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

4. Care

You can tell whether the cuttings take root when they dry out badly or begin to shrink. With time and proper care, new plants will develop from the leaf. If the cuttings start to go soft, they are rotting. No new plants can develop from these leaf cuttings.

how to plant aloe vera without roots

Pro Tip:

Propagating from seeds is also possible with true aloe, but it can only take a long time and is quite tedious. In addition, if the lighting conditions are not correct during germination, the young plant can die quickly, which makes propagation via cuttings or offshoots more effective and safer.

Propagation by Offshoots: Instructions

Aloe vera pup and offshoot are the same and describe the “offspring” of the mother plant. These grow next to the mother plant, i.e. the largest specimen, together in the pot, form roots and look very similar to it, only they are smaller and lighter . If you want to propagate aloes using offshoots, you have the best chance of success, as these already have roots and theoretically only have to be repotted in order to continue to grow. For this you need:

  • A sharp knife
  • Pot with drainage hole in the bottom
  • Drainage material: pottery shards or gravel
  • One of the substrate mixtures mentioned above
  • Root hormone, alternatively cinnamon, willow water or honey

Then proceed as follows:

1. Find offshoot & cut off

To separate the offshoot, you should first disinfect the knife so that the offshoots do not get an infection. Then take all of the aloe vera and the soil out of the pot and look for the pups. These are attached to the mother plant, but have their own roots that should be easy to recognize once they have been freed from the earth.

You can easily separate the cuttings from the mother plant with your fingers. If this doesn’t work, pick up the knife. Then let the offshoots and the cuttings dry for a few days so that the cut surface can recover. During this time you repot the mother plant.

2. Plant offshoot

Now prepare the substrate as described above for the cuttings. Then just dip the roots of the aloe cuttings in the root hormone or the listed alternatives. Then you can put the specimens in the pots for propagation.

3. Care

Moisten the substrate a little, put it in a warm and sunny place and do not water again until a week later.

Pro Tip:

If the previous aloe pot is large enough, you can plant the offshoot directly in the pot after separating it. All you have to do is dig a small hole in the substrate and place the cuttings directly next to the mother plant, because they can no longer grow together after separation.