Aloe Vera is native to desert areas with a dry climate and sufficient sunlight. They can grow about 20-39 inches tall. But, sometimes, you will find them growing sideways. It is an uncommon scene, so you might not understand the reason. Let’s find out.
Lack of sunlight is the primary reason Aloe Vera grows sideways. In poor lighting conditions, the plant leans toward one side from where it gets some light. To prevent this, provide 5-6 hours of bright sunlight daily. You can also rotate your plant occasionally to have even growth.
Today, I will explore this subject in detail and share how to deal with an Aloe Vera growing sideways.
Besides, I will also share some care tips to prevent the plant from growing sideways and keeping it healthy in the long term.
Why does Aloe Vera grow sideways?
Though only one reason strikes us when we see the Aloe Vera growing sideways, there are a few more reasons too.
With some research and experience, I have pointed out multiple reasons behind Aloes growing sideways.
Below are the causes in detail:
Lack of sunlight
The primary reason behind Aloe Vera growing sideways is the lack of light.
This occurs mainly with indoor plants because they don’t receive the sunlight from everywhere like outdoors.
That is why they try to grow in a direction that gets enough sunlight.
The plant generally tries to reach some light source and thus, starts to stretch towards the sun and grow sideways.
In such conditions, the plant doesn’t look nice but wobbly.
All the plants require light for producing chlorophyll and proper photosynthesis.
Without light, these two won’t function properly.
As a result, the plant will turn and curve to adjust itself towards the light source to receive the maximum amount of sunlight for the functioning of chlorophyll and photosynthesis.
Also read: What Kind Of Light For Aloe Vera Plants? (Full sun, Shade, Or Partial Light?)
Lack of rotation in indoor Aloes
The Aloes will grow sideways even if you shift them to the sunniest window.
Let me explain.
For example, you have kept the plant near a south or west-facing window.
One part of the plant is toward the sunlight, and the other part is still in darkness.
Now, the exposed part in the sun will begin to grow in the direction of the sunlight and grow sideways.
Such a thing happens when you don’t rotate the plant.
The plant must receive enough sunlight in every part and direction. Only then will the plant stand straight.
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The natural character of the particular species
Aloes will also grow sideways depending on certain species.
Some plants tend to grow sideways towards the bottom naturally.
These species of Aloe Vera will also grow in the same way as they used to grow in the wild.
So, if you ever find your Aloes growing sideways despite getting enough sunlight, research the plant species and its characteristics.
Though lack of light is always the main reason, the problem can worsen if combined with poor soil conditions.
Bad soil or soil erosion will contribute to the plant is growing sideways more.
Erosion will happen at some point, and the situation will worsen during heavy and frequent rainfall.
Erosion prevents the plant from getting the nutrients it requires for healthy growth.
Soil erosion will also prevent the roots from growing deeper, thus making the plant unable to stand and grow straight.
Over-fertilization is another reason behind Aloe Vera growing sideways.
However, this is a rare problem. Aloes are not heavy feeders, while fertilizing can greatly encourage the plant for good growth and health.
But, too much is bad for them.
When you feed the plant too much, you provide them with lots of nitrogen to the soil.
Since nitrogen highly encourages growth, it will lead to long stems instead of thick and strong.
Over time the plant will bend sideways and continue the growth sideways.
Also read: Does Aloe Vera Need Fertilizer? (How Much, How Often+Best Pick)
Plant needs support
Aloes can grow very big.
Sometimes, the pot won’t be able to hold the weight of the container.
Due to this, the Aloes can struggle to maintain and hold their weight in the container and bend.
As a result, the plant will only begin to grow in the sideward direction.
But, if your plant acquires some help, it won’t fall off and grow straight, especially when they are growing big.
Without enough support from the initial stage, the plant will lean over and start to grow in a sideward direction.
In rare cases, Aloes will grow sideways if they get little water.
But, since the plant can endure dry conditions for a good long time, you will rarely see them suffering from lack of water.
Moreover, being succulents, they can store water in their leaves.
They are very hardy succulents and can amazingly go easy on watering.
Though there are a few reasons, the lack of light is the main issue in most cases.
The problem is especially seen in indoor Aloes because they get limited access to sunlight compared to outdoor plants.
If your plant is growing sideways, there are a few things you can do to keep it straight again.
How to fix an Aloe Vera plant growing sideways?
It is tough to revive and support a plant that has already grown sideways.
But, your plant can make it up if you give them proper support and attention.
Begin with shifting the Aloe Vera plant to a location where it can receive enough sunlight.
The plant may not enjoy the direct sunlight immediately, so you must acclimate them.
- First, begin with filtered or partial sunlight.
- Then slowly shift the plant under direct sunlight and gradually increase the timing.
- Once you have relocated the plant, keep a check on the plant. Ensure that the plant is getting enough light, neither too much nor too low.
- If your indoor Aloe Vera is growing in a sideward direction, rotate the plant and expose that part of the plant to sunlight in the shade. The more evenly the plant receives light, the more upright it will stand.
- You can also remove the leaves that have strayed and rotate the container in the direction of sunlight. Expect the plant to recover and grow straight within a few months.
- Check the soil to ensure its freshness. Change it if it is bad or corroded. If it’s poorly eroded, replace it with new soil. If it is in the ground, shift it to some good place where the soil is in good condition.
- Give your plant some support with a stick. Use a thread or string to tie the stick.
- You can also remove the plant from the container and repot it in a big container. Plant it in a way, so it stands straight. Cover the plant till the stems are in the soil. It is called air-layering.
- You should fertilize Aloe Vera once a month only during their growing season, which is spring. If you have over-fertilized, stop fertilizing until the plant recovers from the problem.
How to prevent the Aloe Vera from growing sideways?
To prevent your Aloe Vera plant from growing sideways, you need to take care of the situations which encourage the plant to grow in such direction.
- You must let the Aloe Vera plant have enough sunlight evenly for 4 to 6 hours so that they don’t continue to grow towards the sun sideways. Also, protect them from the harsh sunlight.
- Don’t forget to rotate the plant. Every side and part of the plant should get enough light equally.
- Don’t over-fertilize your Aloes. Feed your Aloe once a month during the growing season with liquid fertilizers. Always dilute it and then use it.
- Planning to give the plant some support beforehand is important if you have decided to grow a plant that can grow too large. If your plant is too big for the container to hold, use stakes or bamboo to give them some support.
- Check the condition of the soil frequently and change it from time to time if it eroded. Aloes should be repotted once in 1-2 years. Change it at that time and use well-drained soil.
What if the plant doesn’t come back from growing sideways?
Sometimes, when the problem of Aloe Vera growing sideways extends for a very long time, the plant adjusts itself in such a direction.
Even following the fixing steps, the plant won’t come back straight.
In that case, you might have to restart the whole process of growing Aloe Vera.
You have to take the plant out and collect the pups.
Separate the baby plants from the mother plant and replant them in a new location or container.
Take proper care steps from the beginning to prevent the Aloe Vera plant from growing sideways.
How to pot and care for an Aloe Vera plant?
There are a few steps you should follow while growing Aloe Vera plants.
It will not only keep the plant healthy but will also prevent them from growing sideways.
We have mentioned potting because the problem occurs specifically in indoor plants as it gets less access to light than the outdoor Aloes.
If any outdoor Aloe is growing sideways, it is due to the natural feature of the Aloe Vera species.
So, let’s get right into it.
|Soil||While planting the plant, make sure to use 50% of sand and potting soil each. One will help in draining, and the other will help hold the water and nutrients.|
|After potting||Once you properly plant the mother plant or the pups, to must ignore the plant for some time. Don’t water them for some days and place them under bright indirect sunlight.|
|Light||After 1-2 weeks, once the plant has rooted enough, ensure they get access to proper sunlight. Place the Aloe vera near a North or East-facing window during the summers as it gives less intense sun.|
|Rotate||Rotate the plant every month to ensure that every portion of the plant receives enough sunlight. Otherwise, again the plant will grow sideways towards the sun.|
|Water||Water the Aloes infrequently. Watering once every 2-3 weeks is enough during the growing months, i.e., spring and summer. Wait until the top inches of the soil is dry.|
|Summer care||During the winters, give attention to the plant’s light requirements. Since the sunlight level and days are shorter than normal, you must assure that they get enough sunlight. Place your Aloe near a south or west-facing window.|
|Fertilization||Fertilize the Aloes only during the growing months to improve their health and growth speed. Avoid if your plant is growing greatly without feeding.|
|Repotting||You should repot them once every 1-2 years to rejuvenate the soil. This will prevent the soil from deterioration and erosion, thus keeping the plant from growing sideways.|
Aloe Vera plant will start to grow in the sideward direction due to various reasons. But, the primary reason is light, and it is mostly seen in indoor Aloe Veras.
They will always try to grow toward the direction with lots of sunlight, thus making them stretch sidewards.
If you are growing Aloe Vera indoors, which is growing sideways, rotate the plant to let every part of the plant receive light. For preventing it, keep them in a location where the plant can receive light from every direction.
Reference: NCBI, New York Botanical Garden, University of New Hampshire, University of Florida, Wikipedia.