Aloe Vera plants have long been a great tropical-looking plant you can have right at home. They offer the serene look of a succulent while also providing you with gel to use for a variety of health benefits. Sometimes these plants have problems, and a common issue is the appearance of a bad smell.
Aloe Vera Plants often give off an odor that has been described as similar to rotten onion or garlic. The scent comes from aloin or sap, and can easily be smelled when the plant is oozing or has been cut. It could also be caused by rotting leaves or roots.
In reality, nobody keeps a plant if it is stinking up their house, yard, or entryway. Yet, it is also hard to throw it out when you use the leaves for a variety of things like clearing acne or other sores and burns, or even for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh. It is important to know that an aloe plant always gives off a slight odor, but as it grows and fluctuates, the smell will often increase and decrease. There are things you can do to fix the stench if it gets too strong.
What Is Aloin?
Aloin is the yellow, sappy substance found in an Aloe Vera Plant. It is normally just inside the outer green shell and is not mixed throughout the gel interior. It is often consumed by people if they eat the entire leaf, but can be thoroughly cleaned out when just preparing the gel.
Aloin is a laxative as well, but it has not been approved by any government entities as such and is slightly unpredictable. It is also the main culprit of the awful smell that sometimes comes from aloe vera plants. The aloin tastes quite bitter and can cause a person to have some discomfort and cramping if they eat it. It is suggested that when you cut your aloe plant, you should stand the leaf up for about 10 minutes to allow the aloin to drain out of the bottom.
Reasons for the Smell
There are a variety of other reasons that your aloe plant could also be giving off a horrible smell.
Most of the time, you won’t smell the odor unless the leaves are being cut, bruised, or otherwise disturbed. The aloin will also stay inside the leaves for the most part. If there is something wrong with the plant, you will be able to see the yellow aloin start to ooze out, and the smell will be noticeable and present.
Yet, there are other times where a perfectly healthy aloe vera will start to ooze and smell. You can think of this as a self-cleanse where it begins to get rid of the excess aloin to start anew. Check the plant’s leaves and roots for problems, but if you do not see any, then you should probably give it a few days and see if it passes and goes back to normal.
Aloe plants are incredibly picky about the amount of water they do and don’t receive. Keep in mind that they are originally a desert plant, and therefore they can live with very little water.
As a matter of fact, if an Aloe plant has too much water, the roots will begin to rot and give off a musty rotten smell as the plant starts to die. Once rot root begins to take over, it is really hard to reverse, and most of the time you will end up having to get a new plant anyways. Because of this, it is really important that you are keeping track of when and how often you water the plant.
How to Prevent Rotting
To prevent your Aloe Vera plant from getting rot root or other diseases, you should provide it with what it needs to stay healthy. Those things include good soil, good drainage, and a proper watering schedule.
Good Soil – As we have stated, aloe plants need good drainage; they cant sit in wet soil. In consequence, the soil you use to grow the aloe must have really good drainage. The bigger the pieces, the more room there is for drainage— gravel and sands will allow for the most drainage. It is probably best to provide them with a mixture of potting soil, with extra sand or gravel added to provide space for the water to escape and the soil to dry. Perlite would be good to add in, or you can use any potting soil that is specifically made for cactus or succulents. These will normally provide this kind of formula.
Good Drainage – This can be implemented in a variety of ways. You can put it in a pot that has openings in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. You can also put them in a larger pot that has gravel at the bottom. Both of these options will help to allow water to drain so that the soil can remain dry in between watering sessions. You could even buy a porous pot! If you are planting it in the ground, watch to see what spot on the ground dries up the fastest after it rains and plant it there.
Proper Watering Schedule – An aloe plant almost rarely needs to be watered. As a matter of fact, in the summer and spring (the hottest times of the year) an aloe plant should only be watered once every 2 to 3 weeks. In the fall and winter, you almost don’t need to water it all. When you do water it, it needs to be watered deeply, meaning that you give it plenty so that all the roots get a small taste before the water dries up.
Aloe Vera plants will sometimes give off this awful odor, but if we have a watchful eye we can catch any problems early and help the plant to get back to smelling normally and being helpful as it reproduces and provides us with gel to help in a variety of ways.