Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in hot dry climates. Historically, this plant has been used for treating skin ailments and this has made it to be cultivated widely around the world. The thick fleshy leaves arranged in a rosette also make aloe a beautiful ornamental plant.
Growing and maintaining aloe vera plants is relatively easy. This plant doesn’t require frequent watering or special care. However, one common problem you may often face when growing aloe vera as a houseplant is leaves bending or plant tipping over.
In this article, I’ll explain the reasons behind aloe vera leaves bending and what you can do to save your plant.
Why aloe vera plant leaves are bending
Aloe vera succulent can be grown indoors as a houseplant or in mild climate zones as an outdoor perennial. Its best growth conditions include bright indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering.
The leaves may bend when the aloe plant is overwatered, placed in a low light setting, or overexposed to plenty of direct sunlight. The plant may also look weak and unhealthy when rootbound or infested with pests and diseases. Let’s expound more on these issues and what to do.
Too much direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can cause excessive water loss and heat stress in aloe vera plants. As a result, the leaves can get droopy. If your aloe vera plant is showing signs of heat stress, it’s important to take action promptly before it wilts and or gets damaged.
The best solution
If your aloe vera plant is exposed to direct sunlight, move it to a cooler and shadier location. Aloe vera prefers bright, indirect sunlight, so finding a spot with filtered light or some protection from the hot sun is sufficient. Aim for a temperature between 59°F (15°C) and 77°F (25°C).
If some of the aloe vera’s leaves have become severely damaged or discolored due to heat stress, consider pruning them. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to remove damaged leaves at the base. This will encourage the plant to put energy into new growth.
Tips: During periods of heat stress, it’s best to avoid fertilizing your aloe vera plant. Wait until the plant has fully recovered before resuming a regular feeding schedule. Fertilize typically during the growing season (spring and summer).
One of the most common reasons for aloe vera leaves bending is overwatering. Aloe vera plants are adapted to survive in arid conditions with minimal water. When you overwater plant the roots may lack oxygen and rot, causing the plant to become weak and droopy.
Soil that retains excess water can also cause root rot, a condition caused by fungal infections. When roots get damaged, the plant won’t take up water and nutrients as needed. As a result, its health will begin to deteriorate due to lack of sugars and other important supplies.
How to save the plant
If you suspect that your aloe plant is overwatered, stop watering and let the soil dry completely. Stick your finger into the soil to check its moisture level before watering again. Additionally, make sure that your pot has proper drainage to prevent the soil from getting waterlogged.
Root rot is a deadly condition, so if your plant is not showing signs of recovery, inspect the roots for damage. If aloe vera roots broke off or look mushy, cut off the damaged parts and repot the plant in fresh soil mix. Be sure to use cactus or succulent soil.
Aloe vera plants require plenty of bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. If the light is not adequate, the plant may start stretching and bending toward the light source. Poor lighting can also make the leaves of aloe vera plants turn yellow and pale.
Light is an essential resource for green plants. It provides energy that is important for photosynthesis and the formation of chlorophyll. Without light, a plant can’t produce enough sugars for growth and survival. The leaves also start losing the green pigmentation.
What to do
Place your aloe vera plant in a location where it can receive at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight per day. An east-facing window can be a perfect spot for this succulent. If natural light is not sufficient, consider adding grow light to supplement the plant’s light requirements.
When placed in front of a window, rotate the plant periodically to ensure that all sides of the plant receive adequate light. This will greatly prevent the aloe vera plant from bending or leaning on one side as it tries to reach the source of light.
Incorrect pot size
When the pot is too large, the plant may struggle to establish a strong root system, causing it to become top-heavy and lean over. A pot that is too small on the other hand can cause the plant to become root-bound. As such, the roots may fail to take up water and nutrients as needed which results in a weak plant.
How to fix
When planting or repotting aloe vera, choose a pot that is just slightly larger than its root ball. This will provide enough space for growth without causing instability. Repotting aloe vera is very necessary when the roots outgrow the current pot.
You may also need to stake the plant if it leans excessively due to becoming top-heavy. Staking helps support the plant and prevents it from bending or falling over. Select a stake that is sturdy and about one-third the height of your aloe vera plant. Bamboo or wooden stakes are good choices.
Tie the plant to the stake using soft ties or twine. Make sure not to make it too tightly, as this could damage the plant. Just provide support without constricting the leaves. Once the aloe vera has regained its balance and stability, you can remove the stake.
Pests and diseases
Pests like mealybugs can weaken aloe vera plant by feeding on its sap. They can also transmit fungal and bacterial infections and can also impact the plant’s health. Bending or discolored aloe vera plant leaves can be a sign of distress from a pest or disease problem.
How to treat
Inspect your aloe plant for pests and treat them promptly. You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to control mealybugs, aphids, and other scale insects on your succulent. Be sure to use your organic insecticide as directed by the manufacturer.
Monitoring your plants regularly is important in preventing severe pest damage. The earlier you catch up with them the easier it becomes to control them. Ensure that new plants are isolated for a thorough checkup before including them in your collection.
Aloe vera leaves bending can also result from physical damage or stress to the plant. You may just discover when the plant has already healed with the bent. This can be a cosmetic issue and not necessarily a cause for concern. Just be careful when handling your aloe vera plant to avoid physical damage.
Aloe vera plants are relatively low-maintenance, but they require good care to grow healthy. When growing them as houseplants, it’s important to provide the right conditions including bright indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, and proper watering. Leaves bending is a problem that needs your attention and by addressing the causes your aloe plant will regain its vibrant beauty.
My name is Diane M Lewik, and I am the founder of this website. I am a degree holder in plant biology from the University of California – Berkeley. Over years, I have cultivated a vast collection of succulents and I have learned a great deal about how to grow and care for these unique plants.