Replanting an Aloe vera commonly called aloe, provides an opportunity to propagate new plants by separating the pups from the mother plant. The new plants can be replanted in other garden areas. Aloe is hardy outdoors all year in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11 or 10 through 12, depending on the source. It is often grown in rock gardens and raised beds.
An outdoor aloe can be replanted between late fall and early spring. The soil must be dry, however, before the plant is dug up, and no rain should be expected for one week. Decide on the new planting site before digging up the plant. An aloe does well in a site with full sun or partial shade; it can receive direct sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
Aloe grows in most kinds of soil, but the soil must drain quickly. Check how quickly soil drains by first digging a 1-foot-wide by 1-foot-deep hole and filling it with water. Let the water drain into the soil, and then fill the hole with water again. If the second batch of water has not drained from the hole after four hours, then the soil drains too slowly. In that case, consider constructing an 18- to 24-inch-high raised bed and filling it with a scree mixture that is 1 part loamy soil or commercial potting soil, 1 part sphagnum peat moss, 2 parts coarse sand and 6 parts gravel or small rocks.
If the soil takes two hours to drain, then incorporate a 2- to 4-inch depth of the scree mixture into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil to create a slightly raised mound.
Extremely fast-draining sandy soil should have a 2- to 4-inch depth of organic matter such as compost or aged manure mixed into it to improve its fertility and water-retaining capability.
Begin removing the aloe by pushing a shovel into the soil 6 inches from the plant's base all the way around the plant, separating it from the surrounding soil. Push the shovel into the soil again, and use the shovel's tip to lift the aloe clump out of the soil. Brush the soil off the roots carefully, avoiding damaging them.
Work the pups away from the mother plant by hand if possible. If they are too firmly attached, then use a sharp knife to cut them away from the mother plant. Sterilize the knife first and afterward with a household disinfectant; use clean water to rinse the disinfectant off the knife, and dry the tool before using it. Disinfectant can damage plant tissue. Set the sections that had to be cut apart in a shady area for two to three days to let the cuts heal before replanting them. Planting them with open wounds opens them up to diseases.
Spacing and Depth
Plant multiple aloe plants 1 to 1 ½ feet apart. Individual leaves at a mature aloe's base may extend horizontally up to 18 inches. Make each aloe's planting hole just deep enough to plant the aloe at the same soil depth at which it grew previously. A hole must be wide enough to hold its aloe's roots without crowding them.
Hold an aloe with its roots spread in its planting hole. Push soil into the hole, gently working it below and around the roots, until the hole is full with the soil you removed to make the hole. Repeat the process for each aloe.
Water the soil of aloe plants one week after replanting them and then every two weeks afterward if it does not rain. Each plant should be given about 1 gallon of water each time. Supplement rainfall as needed to meet that amount.
Replant a potted aloe every one to two years between late fall and early spring. Its pups can be separated at that time by using the same method for removing an outdoor aloe's pups. Alternatively, the pups can be left on the mother plant. The mother aloe's new container must have drain holes in its bottom, and the container must be no more than 1 to 1.5 inches larger than the plant's current container. Each pup's container needs bottom drain holes, too. Pot each aloe in a commercial potting soil formulated for succulents. Wait until the soil is dry before repotting, however, and do not water the soil for one week after planting. Thereafter, water the soil whenever it dries out.
- Floridata: Aloe Vera
- Arizona State University, Chris A. Martin's Faculty Website: Aloe Barbadensis
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Aloe Vera
- Auburn University, Landscape Horticulture: Growing Ornamentals in the Clay Soils of the Black Belt
- University of Florida Extension: Succulents in Miami-Dade -- Planting a Dry Rock Garden
- University of California-Davis Botanical Conservatory: Botanical Notes -- The Genus Aloe
- University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Aloe Vera
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Dividing Perennials
- Washington State University, Puyallup Research and Extension Center: The Myth of Cloroxed Clippers