The reason for aloe plants with drooping leaves is usually because the aloe is into too much shade. Aloe plants need bright light with some direct sunlight. Aloe plant leaves turn brown and droop due to root rot as a result of overwatering and slow draining soils.
Aloe plant leaves can droop after repotting, if they repotted into a much larger pot, as larger pots retains more moisture. Aloe plants require the soil to dry out between each watering to avoid drooping leaves.
To save an aloe plant with drooping leaves, move the aloe in an area with more sunlight, repot in a pot that is proportional to the size of the aloe plant, with well draining soil and prune back any drooping leaves that turn brown and mushy.
Keep reading to learn why your aloe is drooping and how to save it…
Aloe Plant Drooping Leaves (Lack of Sunlight)
The most common reason for aloe plant leaves drooping is because of a lack of sunlight. Aloe plants are adapted to grow in bright light with some direct sunlight. If the aloe is in too much shade the leaves grow long and droopy in search of more light which causes the leaves to grow weak and droop, under their own weight.
Aloe plants are native to hot and dry climates in Africa and the Arabian peninsula where they are adapted to growing in bright light with ideally 6 hours direct sunlight and high temperatures with infrequent rainfall and well draining soils.
Therefore aloe plants should always be grown in bright light with some direct sunlight when grown indoors or outdoors to replicate the conditions of the aloe plants native environment.
Aloe plants stay smaller, more compact and healthier with thick, stronger leaves if they are grown in more sunlight.
If your aloe plant is not grown on a window sill with bright sunlight, but instead is grown in relative shade then the aloe prioritizes is energy to growing the leaves towards the strongest sources of light, which results in a leggy appearance with weak drooping leaves, that eventually droop down under their own weight.
Aloe Plants also can droop if they are not turned regularly. Aloe plants grow in the direction of the strongest source of light, which can cause them to grow lopsided and topple or droop to one side.
How to Save a Drooping Aloe Plant
- Move the drooping aloe plant to an area of bright light, with some direct sunlight, if the aloe had been in the shade. Brighter light ensures the aloe plant has more energy and resources to grow and support its leaves. Bright light incentives the aloe plant to stay compact and to grow thicker, stronger leaves.
- Be careful about moving drooping aloe plants to full sun if they have been shaded. The contrast of being moved from the shade to full sun all day is likely to scorch the aloe plant brown, particularly if it is moved during Summer. Give the aloe some time to adapt to higher levels of light by exposing the aloe to direct sunlight for more time each day, over the course of 2 weeks. (Read more about sun burnt aloe plants in my article, why is my aloe plant turning brown).
- Turn the aloe plant around 1/4 each time you water the plant. Turning the aloe every time you water it, ensures that each side of the plant receives enough light to prevent the aloe drooping over to one side, to the strongest sources of light. This ensures a more uniform appearance of the aloe with even growth on all sides.
Typically if the aloe is drooping because has been slightly too shaded, then locating the aloe in a bright area can help to revive the plant and it can largely restore is appearance.
However. if the aloe has been in the shade for too long and some of the individual leaves are particularly drooping, then these leaves do not stand up again properly, regardless of how much sunlight they have.
If it has been more then a few weeks during active growth (Spring and Summer) and the leaves are still still drooping, I recommend cutting the individual drooping leaves back with a sharp pair of pruners back the base of the plant.
The point at which the aloe has been cut should callous over in 2 days and the aloe can now prioritize is energy to growing new leaves and supporting the healthy leaves that are not drooping.
If all the leaves are drooping I recommend taking cuttings of the leaves or offshoots for propagation. The drooping leaves can propagate very easily which should give a healthy non drooping plant.
Watch this helpful YouTube video for how to propagate aloe vera plants from off shoots cuttings:
Aloe Plant Drooping and Turning Brown
The reason for aloe plants drooping and turning brown is usually because of overwatering and slow draining soils. Aloe plants are adapted to gritty, well draining soils and infrequent rainfall in their native environment. If the potting soil is too damp from overwatering or poor drainage, the aloe leaves droop and turn brown.
Aloe plants are adapted to drought conditions growing naturally in gritty soils that do not retain much moisture and drain relatively quickly, with a -deluge of rainfall followed by a period of drought- cycle of watering.
For this reason, the aloe plants are far more sensitive to overwatering and damp soil then most plants.
To keep aloe plants healthy it is important to recreate these conditions of the aloe natural habitat with well draining potting soil and watering, only when the soil is dry.
A common mistake is to plant aloe plants in ordinary potting soil which retains too much moisture and to water the aloe too often.
Damp conditions around the aloe’s roots causes sections of the aloe plant to turn brown and mushy, whilst drooping.
(If you are unsure, read my article, how to tell whether my aloe plant is over or underwatered).
Consider that damp soil can also be caused by pots without drainage holes in the base or due to not emptying saucers, trays and decorative outer pots of excess water.
Cold temperatures below 50°F are unfavorable for aloe plants can also increase the risk of root rot and contribute to aloe leaves turning mushy and drooping.
How to Save a Droopy Brown Aloe Plant
- Reduce how often you water your drooping aloe plant. The best way to water aloe plants is to wait till the soil has dried out before watering. Ensure the soil has dried by feeling the potting soil at the top and at the base of the pot, through the drainage hole, to detect any moisture. This the soil is still moist, wait a few days until the soil feels dry, before watering.
- Change the potting soil to succulent and cacti soil. The right watering schedule has to be in conjunction with the right potting soil to avoid aloe plants drooping. Succulent and cacti soil mimics the soil type of the aloe plants native environment with its well draining, gritty porous structure that significantly mitigates the risks associated with overwatering such as root rot and drooping leaves. (Read my article, best potting soil for aloe plants).
- Ideally pot your aloe plant in a terracotta or clay pot with drainage holes in the base. Aloe plants can grow in any pot as long as it has drainage holes but terracotta and unglazed clay pots are better then ceramic or plastic pots as they have a porous structure that allows the potting soil to dry out evenly which also mitigates the risk of drooping leaves due to overwatering. (Read my article, best pots for aloe plants).
- Choose a pot that is only 2 inches or so wider then the aloe plant. If the pot is very large and out of proportion to the aloe plant, then the soil takes much longer to dry between each bout of watering. If the soil takes too long to dry out then this increases the risk of the aloe drooping and turning brown due to root rot.
- Cut away any soft, brown mushy parts of the aloe. If the leaves appear brown and feel mushy then cut away the rotten section of the plant back to healthy growth with a sharp pair of pruners to prevent the rot spreading and protect the rest of the plant. The wound from the cut should callus over in a day or so.
How often you should water your aloe plants can vary according to climate, time of year and whether the aloe is indoors or outdoors. Read my article, how often to water aloe plants, so you can establish the optimal watering schedule for your aloe plant according to your conditions.
Aloe plants are a lot more hardy then most people think and can tolerate a big leaf being cut back without a problem, particularly if the aloe leaf is drooping, brown, soft and rotten. You can cut the leaf all the way back to the base of the plant or back to healthy firm growth.
New leaves should emerge during active growth (Spring and Summer).
If significant parts of the aloe plant are drooping and brown and the aloe does not appear to get any better I recommend propagating the aloe leaf from a cutting to save the plant.
(Read my article, why is my aloe plant dying?).
Aloe Plant Drooping After Repotting
The reason for aloe plants drooping after repotting is often because the soil retains too much moisture around the aloe’s roots. Aloe plants need well draining soil which mimics the soil conditions of their native environment. Regular potting soil retains too much moisture and causes the aloe to droop due to stress.
Aloe plants are drought resistant and grow naturally in gritty, well draining, porous soil that does not retain much moisture and allows oxygen around the roots for respiration.
If the potting soil is firmed around the aloe’s roots when it is repotted, then it could be too compacted for the aloe to tolerate, which restricts the amount of oxygen in the soil and slows down the rate at which the soil drains after watering, both of which are unfavorable for the aloe plant and can cause the leaves to droop.
Aloe plants should also only be repotted into pots that are one size up from the previous pot.
Larger pots have a greater capacity for soil and therefore a greater capacity to hold moisture, around the aloe plant’s roots. Larger pots cause the potting soil to dry out much more slowly then the aloe’s previous pot which promotes the conditions for root rot which can cause the aloe to turn brown and droop.
Water pooling in the base of the pot due to a lack of drainage holes or saucers, trays and decorative outer pots also causes root rot which causes the aloe’s leaves turn turn brown and droop.
How to Save a Drooping Aloe Plant After Repotting
- Always pot aloe plants in pots that are 2 inches wider either side of the aloe plant to prevent drooping. Repotting aloe plants into pots that are proportional in size to the plant prevents the soil staying damp for too long after watering reducing the risks associated with overwatering, such as drooping leaves that turn brown and mushy.
- Ideally repot your aloe plant in an unglazed clay or terracotta pot. Clay and terracotta pots are porous, so they dry out evenly after watering which creates more favorable conditions for aloe plants.
- Repot aloe plants in pots with drainage holes in the base and empty any saucers, trays and decorative outer pots after watering. It is important that excess water can escape efficiently from the pot after watering your aloe plants, so that the soil can dry out before the next bouts of watering.
- Repot the aloe in ‘succulent and cacti soil’ rather then regular potting soil. Succulent and cacti soil replicates the soil conditions of the aloe plant’s native environment. The soil structure is porous and well draining, which mitigates the risk of overwatering. Regular potting soil retains too much moisture for the aloe plant to tolerate.
- Allow the aloe’s soil to dry out between each bout of watering. With the aloe repotted in a new pot and potting soil, the rate at which the soil dries out changes, which means you should adjust the watering frequency for the aloe plant to prevent drooping due to root rot. Feel the potting soil at the top of the pot and at the bottom through the drainage hole in the base, to detect moisture. If the potting soil still feels moist then wait until the soil has dried out before watering again, with a thorough watering.
Once you have repotted the aloe plant to the right pot, with well draining soil, and you have established the optimal watering frequency for the new conditions, then the aloe plant should show signs of recovery in the next few weeks.
If the aloe leaves continue to droop and develop brown, mushy areas, then consider propagating the aloe’s leaves from cuttings or any off setts as brown mushy areas indicate root rot.
(Read my article, how to revive a dying aloe vera plant).
- The reason for a drooping aloe plant is usually because a lack of sunlight. Aloe plants need direct sunlight. If the aloe is in too much shade the leaves grow weak and long towards the direction of the brightest light. The aloe’s leaves then droop down under their own weight.
- Aloe leaves turn brown and droopy due to overwatering. Aloe plants need the soil to dry out between each watering. If the aloe’s potting soil is consistently damp, then the aloe develops root rot which turns the leaves brown and mushy with a drooping appearance.
- Usually, aloe leaves droop after repotting because the pot is too big which causes the soil to dry out at a slower rate and causes root rot. Larger pots contains more soil and therefore retain more moisture. If the roots are in damp soil for too long, the aloe plant leaves droop.
- To fix a drooping aloe, locate the aloe in some direct sunlight, repot the aloe in well draining potting, reduce watering frequency so that the aloe’s soil dries out between each watering and cut away any drooping leaves that do not recover with a sharp pair of pruners.