What happens when you lose track of how much time you’ve spent outside, forget to reapply that sunscreen or just overestimate your tolerance to sunlight? You burn. But this reaction to the sun is not unique to humans: if overexposed to light, plants can burn too. When an aloe gets too much sun, its symptoms will resemble those of a typical sunburn: it becomes dry and turns a nice crispy color. Although an aloe is most susceptible to burning when placed under artificial light and not positioned far enough away from the hot bulb, your aloe can also soak up too many natural rays and start to shrivel when placed on a windowsill in direct sunlight. Who knew an aloe plant, being native to hot Africa, could get too much sun! And no matter why your plant begins to burn, it is important to recognize the symptoms of sun poisoning so you can do something about it. Your aloe’s life depends on it!
Why is your aloe sick? “Too much sun” is rarely the first diagnosis that comes to mind, am I right? We hardly ever think that too much light could be giving our aloe a problem, often overlooking it as a cause of sickness for a couple of different reasons:
Can An Aloe Plant Get Too Much Sun?
1. In Africa The Sun Shines Strong
The continent of Africa is no stranger to the sun! Since aloes are native to Africa, they are used to growing in a hot, arid climate created by the intense sun. It therefore makes sense to assume that your aloe can not only withstand but thrive in a lot of sun. Worrying about whether your plant is getting too much sun seems futile; your energy is better off spent elsewhere–or so it seems!
2. Aloes Thrive in Direct Sunlight
Because of aloe’s reputation as a African-living plant, it is associated with loving the sun. And plant experts fuel that belief by recommending that you keep your plant on a windowsill where it will receive direct sunlight. Although aloes can grow in slightly shaded areas, it needs a decent amount of sun to really thrive. Especially if you want to see flowers on your houseplant, you’ll give your aloe plenty of light.
3. If they Heal Our Sunburns, they Must be Immune to Getting Sunburns Themselves, Right?
Aloe is perhaps most well-known for its ability to provide sunburn relief; it is the plant that comes to your aid when you’ve stayed out in the sun a little too long and begin peeling from overexposure to the sun! But just because aloe can reduce the pain of getting a little crispy does not mean it is immune from getting too much sun itself. An aloe plant responds to too much sun just like we do: bring on that sunburn!
So there you have it: a list of myths that keep aloe-growers from thinking too much sun could be killing their plant. Sun overload is an easily fixable problem for any plant–but not when you don’t it’s the problem. Don’t let your aloe shrivel up from the sun when it doesn’t have to. Recognize the symptoms of sun overdose, and act quickly to get your aloe out of the sun and on to the road of recovery!
Let’s get one thing straight: aloes are definitely not the vampires of the plant world. While some plants are hypersensitive to light, favoring dark, shaded places, the aloe prefers to soak up that sun! The more direct the sunlight, the better. Just like other succulents, aloes are used to the severe growing conditions of Africa, particularly the bright light they receive there. So, when you are jumping from room to room in your house trying to find the perfect place for your domesticated aloe plant, keep your eye on the lighting situation. Get the aloe lighting right and your plant will feel at home. Not only will it be happy and healthy, but it might even flower for you (gasp!).
When I think of an aloe, I picture it’s long, thick green leaves and beautiful flowers. The last thing that crosses my mind? Its roots. Hidden beneath a pile of soil and a pot, an aloe’s roots often go unnoticed and under-appreciated. But aloe roots might just be the most important part of an aloe, responsible for grounding it, delivering water and nutrients to its leaves and flowers, and controlling just how much it grows. With a shallow root system (they grow horizontally rather than vertically), the aloe also has interesting roots. So don’t you think they deserve some attention and care? It is easy to assume that an aloe roots take care of themselves, as they take care of the rest of the plant, but you do have to bother with them from time to time. Add aloe root care to your normal aloe maintenance routine!
Has your once clean and tidy aloe turned into an unruly beast? What a difference from when you just brought it home! When left untrimmed for a long bit of time, your aloe can get a bit wild, those long leaves getting even longer, starting to grow low to the ground and perhaps even corkscrewing into a tangled mess. Didn’t think trimming your aloe was necessary? Think about what your hair looks like when you wake up from a night of sleeping with wet hair. Yikes, right? Gotta use a ton of products to get it looking normal again. That is what’s happening here. As your aloe plant grows and grows, you need to take some scissors to that plant. Grooming is an important part of keeping your aloe healthy and beautiful. Prune that plant!