Aloe Vera plants are so handy to have on hand, especially during the summer months if you get a sunburn, or just want to use some aloe in your hair. But how to cut an aloe vera plant without killing it? These are 4 pointers to keep your aloe plant healthy and happy after removing a leaf or two.
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They include: 1. Not trimming too often, 2. Using clean tools 3. Cutting near the bottom of the plant and 4. Having multiple aloe plants to cut leaves off of.
Why You Need To Take Care When Trimming an Aloe Plant
You might want to remove a leaf from your aloe plant for a few reasons – to use the gel inside, or because the leaf is dying. Either way, it’s important that you take care when trimming your aloe vera plant so that you don’t harm the rest of the plant.
Aloe can be susceptible to disease, and it needs it’s leaves to survive!
Aloe Plant Uses
There are so many uses for an aloe plant gel, which may have contributed to you deciding to purchase one in the first place! Aloe is a great moisturizer, whether for a sunburn, for daily moisturizing, or even using in your hair to give it a nice shine and reduce flyaway strands.
Aloe drinks are also very popular, which you can make at home with your own aloe leaves.
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How Often Can You Trim an Aloe Plant?
With all of these uses, one of the big question is how often can you trim an aloe plant? The answer is that you can’t be trimming an aloe plant all of the time. If you remove too many leaves in a short period of time, the plant will die.
This is for a few reasons – one is that the leaves are the plants way of surviving. It requires its leaves for photosynthesis, so if you take off too many leaves at once, it can’t produce the amount of food it needs for the size of the plant.
The other reason is that the leaves store water for the plant. So if you remove too many leaves, the plant doesn’t have enough water storage and will eventually die.
Depending on the size of the plant, you can probably cut aloe vera leaves off once or twice a month (at most) without killing it. Keep in mind, the aloe plant size also will determine how many leaves you can and need to take off at a time.
If you’re going to be wanting a lot of leaves often, the best way to go about that is by having multiple aloe plants so you can go back and forth on the plants so they have some time to recover before more leaves are being cut off.
With all of that in mind, let’s get into how to cut an aloe vera plant without killing it. It’s a fairly easy process!
Step By Step How To Cut Aloe
The first thing to do is prepare to cut your aloe plant! A sharp knife is your best bet to use, especially if you’ve got a larger aloe plant that will be too difficult to wrap scissors around.
Like all other plants, aloe can be prone to infection. So be sure to clean the tools you’re using with warm soapy water or isopropyl alcohol before you use them. Be sure to clean them off after as well!
Choose exterior leaves
Now that we’ve got a clean knife, the next step is to choose which leaf you’re cutting off. Regardless of if you’re just pruning the plant back or are looking to use the aloe gel, choose one of the outer leaves.
These are the oldest leaves, so they should be the first to go. They will also be the larger leaves, and the easiest ones to get to to cut off.
Cut off leaf
Once you’ve chosen the leaf, it’s time to cut it off! The most important step is to make sure you’re cutting as close to the bottom as possible. This is the same as almost all other plants – you want to cut a leaf off close to the stem. Aloe’s ‘stem’ is at the soil, so cut as closely to the soil as you can.
Where you cut should eventually scab over, keeping the aloe plant healthy and happy, and if you’ve cut near the bottom of the leaf, the aloe won’t have to try and figure out whether to save or kill off that half cut leaf.
(If you’re pruning off part of a dead leaf, you can cut a bit further up the leaf. Just cut off the dead part, within 1cm of the healthy part of the leaf. With this, you could use pruning shears).
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Now that you’ve got a leaf cut off, it’s time to use the leaf! To access the gel inside, cut it down the middle of the leaf, and scoop it out.
Propagating Aloe – More Leaves Cut At Time
Now, if you need more than one leaf at a time, or more often, the best way to keep your aloe plant alive is to actually have more aloe plants. The good news is that they are really easy to propagate! If you’ve got an aloe plant in a container and need to repot, this is the perfect time to propagate your aloe. If not, you can still easily repropagate.
Look for a clump of leaves together near the base. This is going to be a part you can separate off the mother plant. These should already have their own small root system, so you can easily separate from the plant without having to try and grow new roots from just a single leaf.
Repot that into a new pot, and after a few months, you should have another aloe plant growing that you can take leaves from! And not only will you be able to cut more leaves off at a time, you can have cleaner air in your home, since aloe is a low maintenance purifying plant.
(Learn how to propagate Jade plants here – this is helpful if you want to try and propagate with just a leaf)
How To Cut Aloe Vera Plant Without Killing It:
The best suggestions for cutting your aloe plant without killing it, either for trimming it down or using the leaves is to 1. only cut one or two leaves off a month. 2. Make sure you’re using clean tools to cut the leaf off. 3. Cut as close to the base of the leaf as you can. 4. Have multiple aloe plants to be able to rotate between which plant you’re cutting off.
With these tips in mind, you should be a pro at trimming an aloe plant in no time!