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!”
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.)
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.
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.
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 – https://laidbackgardener.blog/2017/11/15/garden-myth-growing-aloes-from-leaf-cuttings/