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by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY, U.S.)

aloe 21546996

living room

thumb aloe 21546996
thumb aloe 21546997
thumb aloe 21546998
thumb aloe 21546999

I’ve had this aloe plant for about 6 years now. Originally both of these larger parts were in the same pot, but about a year ago I separated them to try and have them grow more upright and it was seeming crowded in the pot.

Both (at almost the same exact time) started producing an offshoot. One is growing at a phenomenal rate, while the other hasn’t seemed to get any larger since I first spotted it a few weeks ago. The one with the smaller offshoot is in the bathroom, while the other is in the living room. Both receive about the same amount of sun, but the bathroom window is covered by vertical blinds while the other window is covered by a shear curtain, so it probably lets more light in. The bathroom plant has also been much more difficult to encourage to grow up-right, as you can probably see.

Any tips would be great, I am assuming that it is no problem to allow the new plants to grow in the same pot for a long time, I just wasn’t sure if there was anything special I should be doing. Also, if there was anyway to try and remedy my twisty aloe into something that less resembles an acrobat.

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Well, the circus contortionist act is due to not enough light – even though it seems bright to us, obviously, plants have a different view.

I keep mine in a warm but fairly shaded greenhouse for the summer, which they love – but the light comes mainly through the plastic of the roof more than the sides.

This is the key – brightest light you can muster, even if you need to get a fluorescent grow light for them.

I know this is a bit of a pain, but unless you simply discard the larger parts and keep some pups to replace them with when they start doing this dance, there is only one other way to keep them compact.

This entails removing the most vigorous growth by unscrewing the top of it (wherever you would like it to start bushing out) and then it will force new buds to break. You’ll never get the single rosette form that most people like, but it makes a much more attractive plant, plus keeps it smaller.

Other than staking them to keep them upright, and turning them a quarter turn every day to try and get an even amount of light, they will always try and reach for more. That’s the risk of growing desert plants as houseplants! Also see the page on Aloe for more tips.