If aloe vera leaves are exposed to excessive shade or are stressed by overwatering, they will become limp. The leaves of the aloe vera weaken and grow in the direction of the most light if it is not in direct sunlight, giving the leaves a limp appearance.
This drought-tolerant plant retains too much moisture around the roots in slow-draining soils and pots with poor drainage, which can cause the leaves to become limp and possibly turn yellow, brown, or translucent as a symptom of stress.
Continue reading to learn why and how to preserve aloe vera plants from going limp.
Not Enough Direct Sunlight
Native to Oman in the Arabian Peninsula, aloe vera plants thrive in the hot, bright conditions of the desert.
Aloe vera has developed a special adaptation for growing in open spaces with direct sunlight.
In order to replicate the sunny circumstances of its natural range, aloe vera plants should be grown in a location with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight, either outside or in a South-facing window.
Too much shade can cause your aloe vera’s leaves to turn pale and become spindly as they grow toward the brightest source of light.
The bottom leaves of your aloe vera may appear to be dying as they become weaker with age and eventually droop under their own weight with a limp appearance.
As the aloe puts its limited energy into growing the newer, younger core leaves toward the strongest source of sun, the lower leaves may even turn brown and wither if your aloe has been in the dark for a long period of time.
For aloe veras to stay compact, they need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.
- Increase the aloe vera’s exposure to the sun gradually. It’s crucial to gradually acclimate shaded limp aloe vera to sunlight than than placing it in direct sunlight right once. Aloe vera leaves stress out from lack of sunlight by changing to a lighter shade. The leaves scorch and become brown if they are then exposed to strong sunlight. Aloe vera prevents sunburn by being moved from shade to more sun over the course of four weeks, spending more time in direct sunlight each day.
- Even when exposed to additional sunlight, the weakened outer leaves that have become limp frequently fail to stand back up. Cut the outer leaves back to the plant’s base if there are any leaves in the center that are standing straight. This gives the aloe vera a neater appearance and promotes greater development, allowing it to return to its usual shape. Since the leaves do not recover from wounds, always trim each weak leaf back to the base (with a pair of sterile pruners).
- No amount of sunlight or meticulous care will be able to properly restore the aloe to its usual appearance if it has been in the shade for an extended period of time and all the leaves are limp. It can only be saved by taking cuttings from the propagating plants’ healthiest-looking leaves. Aloe veras, like all succulents, are incredibly simple to grow from seed, so you can grow a number of healthy new plants without having to buy a new aloe plant.
To learn how to grow an aloe vera plant from leaf cuttings, view this YouTube video:
Watering Too Often Causes Limp Leaves
When cared for by gardeners, aloe vera is specifically adapted to flourish in climates with periodic droughts, but many individuals treat them as common houseplants, which makes them very vulnerable to overwatering.
You are overwatering your aloe vera if you water it more frequently than once per week.
The softening and turning of leaves to brown or yellow are additional signs of overwatering.
(Read my post on how to resuscitate a dying aloe vera plant if your aloe vera leaves are turning yellow, brown, translucent, or soft and mushy.)
Only after the soil around the roots has completely dried out should aloe vera be watered.
Aloe vera most frequently becomes limp in the winter as it enters a dormant state (read my article why is my aloe vera not growing). as a result of less sunlight and lower light levels, which lowers their need for water.
It’s crucial to imitate the circumstances in your limp aloe vera’s natural habitat by watering less frequently.
- Restrict the irrigation. Only water aloe vera plants when the soil in their pot has totally dried out. Normally, this process takes about 14 days, although it may take longer or shorter depending on your climate, your home’s circumstances, and the size of your pot.
- Feel the dirt at the bottom of the pot via the drainage hole to determine whether it is dry. If the soil is still damp then delay watering for a few days. This is the ideal time to water your aloe vera if the soil seems dry.
This frequency of watering mimics the natural rainfall followed by a dry spell that is typical of the climate where aloe vera thrives in its original land.
Aloe vera normally prefers watering once every three weeks or so to meet the moisture requirements and prevent limp leaves and root rot during the winter when development slows down in response to decreased light.
But because the temperature in your house throughout the winter might change significantly owing to heating, you should continue to monitor the soil to feel how quickly it dries out and adjust your watering as necessary.
(Read my article on how to hydrate aloe vera for additional details.)
To avoid the leaves from turning limp, it’s crucial to put aloe vera in the proper potting soil in addition to knowing how frequently to water it.
Slow Draining Soils
In its natural environment, aloe vera is adapted to growing in stony soils that are very porous, well-draining, and do not retain much moisture.
In order to properly grow aloe vera without having its leaves get limp, it is crucial to mimic the drainage features of its natural environment by planting your aloe in well-draining soil.
Your aloe vera is probably turning limp as a sign of stress if it was planted in conventional potting soil, which retains too much moisture.
Slow draining soils essential have the same impact on aloe vera as watering too regularly.
Aloe vera plants need to be put in potting soil made for succulents and cacti (which is available at garden centers or on Amazon).
To increase soil drainage and simulate the soil conditions preferred by aloe vera, this specific soil has a higher proportion of inorganic particles (sand, grit, and stone), which helps to prevent root rot and the leaves from turning limp as a symptom of stress.
Ensure Pots Drain Freely to Prevent Leaves Turning Limp
Without drainage holes, extra water pools around the roots of plants in pots and containers, stressing the leaves of aloe vera, which may eventually develop root rot.
Despite the drainage holes on the base, there are still a number of other reasons why water may be draining from your pot too slowly.
- Under your pot, place a saucer or tray. To prevent water from overflowing in your home, saucers and trays are frequently placed beneath pots. Regular saucer emptying is necessary to prevent water from building up at the pot’s base, which would keep the soil surrounding the roots too wet for the aloe to endure and cause it to become limp.
- Drainage holes may become blocked by roots or compacted dirt. If you see that the soil isn’t draining quickly, make sure the pot’s base is open so that any extra water can run off.
- Water can be kept from escaping with decorative outer pots. When aloe vera is sold in stores, it is occasionally grown in pots with drainage holes and then placed in a stylish outer pot without any. This practice results in excess water pooling around the roots, which can cause the leaves to become limp.
Once the aloe vera is in a well draining pot, with correct watering methods and the soil can dry out adequately between watering the limp aloe vera leaves can start to heal.
- Absence of direct sunlight is the cause of aloe vera leaves becoming limp. Aloe vera leaves can become limp because they are weaker in the shade and grow in the direction of the brightest light. Aloe vera leaves can become limp due to excess moisture around the roots caused by overwatering and poorly draining soils.
- Lack of sunlight often results in limp leaves that do not recover; therefore, if the plant’s center leaves are still in tact, they should be pruned back or propagated.
- When plants are overwatered, the roots receive too much moisture, which causes the leaves to become limp and possibly turn white or yellow as a symptom of stress.
- Your aloe vera leaves may become limp due to poorly draining soils and containers lacking drainage holes that collect too much moisture near the roots. To avoid limp leaves and root rot, plant succulents in pots with drainage holes and use specially prepared succulent soil.
Why is my aloe plant droopy and soft?
Drooping leaves on an aloe plant can indicate a multitude of issues that are keeping it from flourishing. Overwatering, poor drainage, underwatering, illness, pests, heat shock, transplant stress, improper lighting, or being pot-bound are some of the causes.
How do you fix droopy aloe plant?
Replant your aloe in a pot that is heavier, deeper, and more stable so it will be supported. Aloes that lean tend to be simple to remedy, but if you’ve tried fixing these problems and your plant is still drooping, you might want to stake it or divide it into smaller plants.
Why is my aloe plant so limp?
The absence of direct sunlight is the cause of aloe vera leaves becoming limp. Aloe vera leaves can become limp because they are weaker in the shadow and grow in the direction of the brightest light. Aloe vera leaves can become limp due to excess moisture around the roots caused by overwatering and poorly draining soils.
What does an overwatered aloe plant look like?
Overwatering of an aloe plant causes the leaves to turn yellow or brown, become soft and mushy, and appear to be drooping. The roots decay and die back, appearing brown and emitting a foul odor. Native to the Arabian Peninsula, aloe plants thrive in poorly drained, rocky soils with infrequent rainfall.