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Propagating Aloes – Another Experiment

Update 5/21/22 – I never did anything with these 🤷 I got a new job, keep getting sick, and just haven’t kept up with some things. Maybe I’ll try again some other time.

I had this idea because one of the things I see a lot when people are arguing about whether or not Aloes can be rooted from leaf cuttings (spoiler: they can’t) is someone coming along and saying something like- “I grow them from leaves all the time, you just need to pull the new leaves from the bottom!”

“New leaves” sprouting from the soil..true, but it’s a whole plant. Not just a leaf. These are offsets aka pups.

Yeah, people are mistaking offsets for leaves. So I grabbed a couple chinensis plants, the easiest to experiment with because of how prolific they are, and took some photos to hopefully help. If you’re worried about the colors on some of these check out some of my other articles, like the ones on direct sun and why Aloes turn brown. It’s cold here right now, so a lot of my plants have their “winter colors”…none are sunburned, rotting, or unhappy. The brown on the stems is also normal (as long as it’s not clear and mushy.)

Older plant, new leaves grow from the center.

New leaves grow from the center of the Aloe plant. The “new leaves” at the base are whole new plants, just young ones. This is how Aloes propagate the easiest…by dividing offsets. Pull or dig them up gently once they are large enough (the bigger, the better), they should have some roots but if not, that’s ok too! They’ll root easily enough in a good gritty mix.

This one came up with roots, but I cut them just for the sake of experiment. Ideally you want the pup to be larger than this before you pull it up, especially if you aren’t real familiar with propagating. They struggle to settle in less if they are larger.
Don’t do this if you pull a pup with roots…I just did this so all the pieces kinda had the same starting point.
This is a cut leaf. People are gonna probably argue that it should’ve been a larger one, or whatever other idea they might come up with for why this one won’t work, but their way works. Doesn’t matter where or how you cut the leaf or which one it is. It’s not going to propagate.
A second pup I pulled to root in regular soil to show the difference in a gritty mix vs poor draining soil. I’ll cut the stem a little shorter. Someone on FB recently was all “they don’t need gritty soil, regular soil doesn’t suffocate their roots lol. I don’t use well draining soil, look at this Aloe cameronii pup that took 7 months to barely root.” Just one of those people unwilling to learn anything new or see how what they say makes no sense lol…so anyway, this is an add on to the main “leaves do not propagate” experiment.

Leaves will not propagate, no matter how hard some people push it. Doesn’t matter how you cut it, which leaves you use, or which Aloe species/variety it is. I don’t care if you saw it on YouTube…there’s people on YouTube that also think the earth is flat lol! And it’s not about the water content in the leaves like some sites claim…that’s not what makes it impossible (not just difficult.) Aloes need stem tissue to propagate. Sometimes cutting a leaf near the base where it meets the stem will give it just enough stem tissue to form roots, but that’s all it will do. Pay attention to the sites and videos claiming Aloes can be propagated from leaves…notice how they never show proof? And I mean actual proof, not the one guy that got Gasteraloe leaves to root or the other that pulled up a stem cutting at the end of the video…just to mislead people that don’t know they are being mislead. Now go look for Haworthia and Gasteria leaf propagation…lots of proof there, because those Aloe relatives CAN be propagated from leaves.

Haworthia leaf prop with pups

So I’ll let the cuttings I took callous a couple days and then pot them up. As they root (or not) I’ll post updates on their progress.

Here’s a good article with more info on the whole leaf propagating myth –

This is an offset (pup)…it’s what many that claim they have leaf propped Aloes are actually using. Mistaking a pup for a leaf, and thinking they’ve proved science wrong.
Offsets are whole plants…just young ones.
Cut up offset. Up top are leaves, and are now useless as they have none of the necessary tissue for new growth in them. Even if they were larger, or cut differently, or less thirsty, or left to callous for however long, etc…leaves will not produce new growth. The bottom piece will still root and grow because it has a stem.

Published by AloeHoarder

I live in Houston, Texas and have been interested in and collecting Aloe plants since 2008, my first Aloe was the “chinensis” variety that I got from my mom in 2006. I am autistic and an English major. Aloes are my “special interest”.

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