Whether you're a plant lover, or were influenced to buy one because you watched one too many green thumb TikToks and thought you could do it too, taking care of a plant is a sizable commitment. While some plants are easier to maintain than others, as long as you're following the basics — watering, sunlight, and proper potting — you should be set.
However, even the most hardy of plants like aloe veras can cause some headaches, especially when they begin to inexplicably droop. Listen, things happen, but aloe plants offer so many benefits that you're only doing yourself a disservice by not properly taking care of it. To better understand why aloe vera plants droop, and what you can do to fix and prevent it from happening again, POPSUGAR spoke with Heather Markway, a horticulturist and owner of Life Garden Style LLC in Missouri.
1. You're Over or Under-Watering
Irregular watering, especially overwatering, is the number one culprit behind a drooping aloe plant, Markway explained. As member of the succulent family, aloe vera plants thrive in well-drained soil. She added that your plant only needs to be watered when its soil feels dry, which you can test by "inserting your finger into the soil about one inch deep."
However, if the foliage is already beginning to look droopy, mushy, or discolored, it may have been overwatered. Markway recommends letting the soil dry out completely before watering again. If the soil is too wet or moisturised, it might be best to repot your aloe plant in fresh soil. Leaves that are plump and bright green are signs your plant is receiving an adequate amount of water.
2. Your Pot Doesn't Have Proper Drainage
Along with watering, the pot housing your aloe vera plant needs to have proper drainage to prevent the soil from becoming over-moisturised. "Ensure the pot has drainage holes that allow excess water to move through the soil and out the pot," Markway said. While smaller pots can get by with one drainage hole, larger pots will require a few more holes — around three to be exact. If your pot falls somewhere in between these two sizes, usually two holes is the way to go. If you're in love with a pot that lacks holes (or doesn't have enough), you can always drill them in yourself.
3. Your Aloe Plant Isn't Receiving Enough Sunlight
Like most plants, aloe vera needs sunlight to survive. Markway says the key to a "happy plant" is six hours of sunlight per day. Although, she cautioned to be wary of "shocking your aloe plant with a sudden, drastic change of sunlight." An aloe plant stationed in shade can increase leaf drooping, but leaving it in the sun for too long could result in sunburned leaves. As long as you maintain your plant's sun exposure, you should be okay.
The Environment is Too Hot or Too Cold for Your Aloe Plant
"Aloe plants thrive in temperatures between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit," Markway said. If the plant is located in an environment that is too hot or too cold, it could begin to droop. Like with sunlight, be careful not to shock your plant between extremities.
4. Your Aloe Plant is Infected with Pests
While not one of the most common causes for drooping, pests are on the list. Markway said that yellow-green pear-shaped Aphids are the most likely to cause damage to the plant. These six-legged creepy crawlers are teeny tiny, only measuring about 1/8-inch in length. Should you see these tiny pests, she recommends treating your aloe plant with a naturally occurring pesticide such as Neem oil.
5. Your Aloe Plant Has Outgrown Its Pot.
If you notice your aloe plant is developing droopy leaves and you've already exhausted any of the previous reasons, it may be time for your plant to graduate to an adult pot. The easiest way to find out is by carefully conducting a root inspection. "Over time, your aloe plant will grow and need larger space for its roots to expand," Markway explained. "Carefully, remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots — if there are more roots than soil, it's time get a bigger pot." If this ends up being the case, Markway suggests only go up one or two pot sizes.
6. Your Aloe Plant Might Be Dead
According to Markway, aloe plants with brown or purple foliage and drooped down and dried out leaves are not likely to fully recover. Not to worry though! You can always head over to your nearest nursery or Trader Joe's for a new aloe plant and start fresh. Just try not to accidentally kill your new plant.