Q: If my aloe vera plant has a droopy leaf should I remove it?
Laura from Bristol, England
A: Dear Laura,
If it bothers you aesthetically, you won't hurt your aloe plant by removing a droopy leaf. Use a sharp knife or scissors and cut the leaf off close to the stalk. Try to make the cut as clean as possible. Some aloe plants develop droopy leaves as they age. If the leaf is in good condition, you can store it in a plastic baggie in the freezer and use it as an after shower skin refresher this winter.
Every plant has a basic shape (morphological form) that it follows as it grows and matures. I have an older aloe vera plant that only has a few spikes growing in the upward direction. When the plant was younger, the majority of the spikes grew up and out, but now that it is mature, many of the spikes droop down the sides of the pot despite the good health of the plant. Even plants can start to droop a little as they age!
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A friend of mine used to water her semi-succulents like this: every day, she'd check the weather reports to see if it rained in Phoenix, AZ. If it did, she'd water them.
By the Oracle
Yes, cut it at the base of the plant. I have a very large one in a 5 gallon pot. I water it when it gets dry, about once every two or three weeks. Just to let you know. My son had a blow out on his bike, going down a hill. He had a nasty road burn (black with bits of sand and gravel and bloody), but went on to work.
Then when he got home the next morning. I split a large Aloe leaf, cutting it length-wise, put it on his arm with a bandage. He went to bed and when he got up the arm was clean and on the way to healing without scabbing over. I changed it and repeated the process. By the time he went to work that night it was really so much better it didn't need another treatment. And we have used it for burns and scrapes for a long time. (11/11/2005)
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