How to Trim an Aloe Vera Plant

While an aloe plant is not trimmed in a manner typical to other plants, there are some usage, pruning and control methods to follow to maintain a healthy aloe plant. Learn which leaves to leave and which to remove and when to remove them. Pruning an aloe vera plant can be done to promote plant health, growth and attractive appearance.


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    Remove a leaf from an aloe vera plant properly. Use a sharp knife to extract a leaf from the aloe plant at its base, near the soil. Select one of the outer leaves as they are the oldest and contain the most gel. With the knife, carefully cut any thorny edges from the end of the leaf. These leaves can be sliced open and used for medicinal purposes. In the event you did not use all the gel from the leaf, wrap the remaining leaf in a ziplock bag and store it in the refrigerator until you need aloe gel again.
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    Keep a healthy plant. Remove any dried up, dead or damaged leaves. Unhealthy leaves that are highly discolored can also be removed. Pests or disease can infect the plant, causing the need for leaves to be removed. Otherwise, poor lighting or care with too little or too much water are causes for leaf removal.
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    Control aloe vera plant size by removing suckers. New growth is something aloe vera plant owners have to deal with, especially with well taken care of plants, in order to maintain a strong, healthy plant. The new growth takes energy away from the mother or the main section of the plant. When the new, small leaves get to about 3–5 inches (7.6–12.7 cm) tall, remove them--roots and all--from the pot. Most of the time, you can just pull them up out of the dirt with no harm to the plants. You may need to un-pot the entire plant, break apart the root ball and separate the small plants from the mother plant in order to avoid damaging the plants. This reduction process will keep the size of your aloe vera plant trimmed and manageable.
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    Prune aloe plant roots. When re-potting an aloe vera plant, trim most of the long root off. This makes for easier transplanting, but it also allows for the plant to regrow a stronger root system for the new pot. Water lightly until the plant has adjusted to its new home--this could take several weeks.
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    Focus growth on the green leaves by clipping off flower stems right after they finish blooming and before they drop seeds. Since flowers rarely occur on aloe grown as a houseplant, if you grow your aloe vera plant indoors, you will not likely have to deal with this step.

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Categories: Indoor and Patio Plants