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I inherited this plant at my office from someone who was not doing a good job at remembering to water it. The leaves at the base of the plant are crispy/crunchy looking and some of the tips of the growing leaves are also turning brown. Can I save this plant? Is it safe to remove the bottom layer of leaves? What about the stem that also looks to be covered in the same type of crunchy/crispy leaves that have already been removed? How often do you recommend watering to avoid over/under watering?

Comments for What to do with crunchy, brown leaves at base of plant?

Nov 19, 2019

Remove the mulch
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

The very first thing I would do is remove that hideous mulch, and see what kind of soil this poor plant is in. As an Aloe of some kind, it desperately needs some kind of gravelly well drained soil, and the pot has to have a drain hole.

Done that and repotted it? Good.

Now just pull the dead leaves off with a sideways tugging motion. They will most likely just pull away without a problem, and that’s how they should react. If they don’t come off cleanly, use scissors to cut them close to the stem.

Aloe don’t like to sit in water, but they need moisture on a fairly regular basis, like once a month in the summer.

In winter, depending on where you are, less often.

The amount of water is important – water the top of the soil until water runs out of the drain hole. Let it sit, then do it again. Then (maybe do this over the sink) let it drain out completely over a few hours or over night, then put it back in the window or under lights. Don’t let it sit in a pot or saucer of water. The soil should dry out completely between waterings.

See more on Aloe here and here.