REJUVENATION

Rejuvenation is called for whenever an aloe becomes too tall and/or top heavy to remain upright. The first warning signs may be a plant that is starting to lean over. Normally soaking rains then result in the roots losing their grip in the soil and the whole plant toppling over. (This is not the same as the rosette toppling off the trunk as a result of snout beetle activity – see Pests and Diseases.)Rejuvenation calls for the aloe stem to be severed with a clean cut. Provided some stem tissue is left intact under the rosette you can leave as much of the existing stem as you want. I prefer to leave just enough for new root formation because the plant can then be placed in its new (or same) location without the need for supporting stakes (with a very short stem the bottom leaves can support the rosette, much like a stemless aloe).The remaining stem and root ball can be discarded as it will not grow without any leaves.It is important that, after the cutting, the plant is placed in an upright position, on a brick or stone, against a wall where it will get a few hours of sunlight every day. It must stay like this until it shows signs of new roots starting to form at the base of the trunk. This may take 2 or 3 months.Tip: The centre of the rosette may require a sprinkling of insecticide dusting powder, so keep a lookout for aphid and ant activity.I also use this technique for lowering plants that become too tall to inspect for pests and diseases.