Guard Your Aloe Plant: Effective Recovery from Frost, Burn, and Rot

If your aloe is suffering from frost damage, sunburn, or rot, you’ve come to the right place. Today we tell you how to save an aloe plant from these catastrophes.

How to Save an Aloe Plant from Frost Damage

Aloe vera has its origins in warm and dry areas. It survives longer dry periods without water because it can store water in its leaves. However, this ability becomes her undoing in frosty conditions.

The aloe vera is one of the so-called leaf succulents, the plants that use their leaves as water storage organs. The leaves of healthy aloe are plump, the outer skin smooth and shiny. Even at temperatures below 5°C, the aloe plant, which is sensitive to cold, can be damaged. The water stored in the leaves freezes, and the leaf tissue is destroyed and dies.

Avoid frost damage if possible

The frost damage can be recognized by the glassy, ​​softened leaves, which later turn dark and die off. In older, strong plants, only leaf tips or individual leaf parts can be affected. Prolonged exposure to the cold can also damage the roots of the aloe.

In order to avoid such damage, you should bring your aloe plant that is left outside in summer back into the warm in September at the latest. The aloes can easily be overwintered at normal room temperatures. If you keep them cooler in winter (approx. 10-15°C), this promotes flower formation. In this case, you should water your aloe plant very little and not fertilize it.

Read also:
40+ Types of Aloe Plants With Pictures
How To Plant Aloe Vera Without Roots

Remedy for frost damage

Depending on the duration and severity of the frost as well as the general condition of the aloe, various measures can save the plant:

  • First put the aloe in a bright and warm place, avoiding direct sun.
  • Do not water the plant for a few days or weeks, so that the damaged leaves dry up and possibly fall off.
  • Carefully remove the damaged plant parts, if necessary cut them off with a clean knife.
  • If the damage is more severe, check the roots and, if necessary, let them dry or cut them off.

If, after a while, new healthy leaves appear in the center of the aloe vera, your aloe vera has recovered.

You should also take care of your aloe if you ventilate it for longer in winter and it is better not to leave the pot near the open window.

How to Save an Aloe Plant from Sunburn

If your aloe vera turns brown, it could be suffering from sunburn.

The plant likes it bright and sunny. But if you suddenly put it in the blazing sun without getting used to it, your leaves turn reddish-brown and the tips dry out.

Therefore, bring an aloe vera plant outside of the apartment, first choose a partially shaded location. If too much sun is the reason for the brown color, the plant will quickly turn green again if you take it out of the blazing sun and move it to a less sunny place.

how to save an aloe plant from sunburn

How to Save An Aloe Plant with Root Rot?

If the aloe leaves are not only brown but also soft to mushy, this is due to incorrect care. Usually, it is a sign of too much watering and the water has built up in the soil. Aloe plants do not tolerate waterlogging at all.

Take the Plant Out of its Current Pot

  • One primary reason why aloe vera plants die is root rot. To diagnose this, you must first dislodge the plant from its pot.
  • Hold the plant loosely at the base and bottom of the pot. Turn the pot over and keep holding the plant. Slap your hand on the bottom of the pot or lend it against the edge of a table or other hard edge.
  • Depending on the plant size, you may need help from another person. One holds the plant at its base with both hands, and the other turn the pot over and hits the soil. It may also help to shake the pot gently until the plant comes off.
  • Always hold the plant as stable as possible during your attempt. All movements should focus on the pot, not the plant. In other words, hold the plant and move the pot, not the other way around. When you hit the bottom of the pot, the roots remain intact, and gravity drops the plant out of the pot.

Examine the Roots

  • Take a close look at the roots and make sure they are healthy. Muddy roots are typical of root rot and must be removed. Roots that do not look black or mushy are still acceptable and can stay.
  • If you notice plenty of healthy roots and only a few dead or rotten ones, you can probably save the plant without too much effort, but you must cut off the infected roots. Use a sharp, sterilized knife, and make sure you get them all.
  • If you see that a large part of the roots is damaged, you will have to make a little extra effort to prevent the plant from shrinking, and you may not be able to save it. Try cutting the bigger leaves by using a knife. Remove about half the plant.
  • Choose a pot that is about 1/3 larger than the root system
  • Too much soil stores too much water and might lead to root rot in the future, so a smaller pot is preferable to a big one.
  • The roots of an aloe grow horizontally and not vertically. Aloe vera plants can get quite heavy, causing the narrow pot to fall over. So, choose a wide and shallow pot rather than a deep and narrow one.
  • The pot should also have many holes, so that excess water does not remain in the soil.
  • A plastic pot is more suitable for a dry environment. In contrast, a terracotta or clay pot is more suitable for a more relaxed and humid climate.

Use Special Soil for Succulents

  • You can also mix your own soil for your aloe vera from equal parts of gravel, sand, or pumice and plant soil. Be sure to use coarse and not fine sand. Fine sand would clump and absorb water and would not drain it through the pot.
  • You can also use ordinary potting soil for aloe vera, but it will thrive better in mixed soil. Potting soil can store moisture and cause root rot.

Repot the Aloe

  • Get the pot ready by filling it with the mixture and shaking the plant lightly to remove about 1/3 of the soil hanging in the roots. Put the aloe in the readied pot and cover the root ball with soil again. Make sure the entire bale is covered, but do not dig the plant deeper than before.
  • You can also put small stones or gravel on top of the earth so that not much water evaporates.

Do Not Water the Aloe Immediately After Repotting

 The aloe plant takes a few days to get used to the new pot and to heal injured roots.