Paul Nickerson

Gator Aloe Rot

In Potting on January 6, 2011 at 12:56 am

Gator Aloe Rot

In the past I have discussed the effects of over-watering on succulents, as well the role that small stones can play in lessening rot. Unfortunately, I have a wonderful example of what can happen when soil does not drain properly, and facilitates rot along the base of the plant.

I noticed today that my small Gator Aloe was very loose in it’s soil. When I tried to straighten it, it broke free from its base, leaving behind all of its roots. The base    of the plant was rotten through, leaving behind a small amount of black substance.

As far as the cause of the rot is concerned, I have two theories. Firstly, although I did put down a layer of stone, I did it after i had established the plant in its pot. Therefore, the stone was actually sitting slightly above ground level, still allowing some water to pool around the base of the plant. If you are planning to add stone to a plant, it is best to raise the plant so it sits slightly higher than normal, that way the stones will fill the pot to the proper soil level.

Secondly, although I used a succulent soil mix, I planted the aloe in a plastic container. As I have stated before, it is best to plant succulents in Terra Cotta pots, as they will weep excess water and allow the soil to dry more thoroughly between waterings. A plastic container will hold more water, leading to bacterial infections and rot. To aid in the draining of potting soil, it is good to mix the soil with Perlite. Since the rot, I have repotted my succulents with a high mixture of Perlite.

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  1. Why did your particular plant not drain properly? You didn’t explain.

    • As far as the cause of the rot is concerned, I have two theories. Firstly, although I did put down a layer of stone, I did it after i had established the plant in its pot. Therefore, the stone was actually sitting slightly above ground level, still allowing some water to pool around the base of the plant. If you are planning to add stone to a plant, it is best to raise the plant so it sits slightly higher than normal, that way the stones will fill the pot to the proper soil level.

      Secondly, although I used a succulent soil mix, I planted the aloe in a plastic container. As I have stated before, it is best to plant succulents in Terra Cotta pots, as they will weep excess water and allow the soil to dry more thoroughly between waterings. A plastic container will hold more water, leading to bacterial infections and rot. To aid in the draining of potting soil, it is good to mix the soil with Perlite. Since the rot, I have repotted my succulents with a high mixture of Perlite.

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