Did you notice your aloe vera turning red when you cut a leaf of aloe vera plant to apply the gel on your face or arms because of its therapeutic effects? This can be for several reasons, and you should resolve some of these issues immediately to save your plant.
The most common causes for aloe vera turning red are excessive sunlight, overwatering, too many or too few minerals in the soil, and pest infestations. We will discuss why your aloe vera plant may be turning red and how you can revive the lush green color of the plant.
Sun Scorch On The Plant
If there are patches of red or brown colour on the aloe vera leaves, it can indicate sunburn due to over-exposure to sunlight. An aloe vera cannot handle direct sunlight for a long day if you grow it in scorching conditions, such as in the idle desert. If you have direct sunlight all day, try to move the plant to a shady place or indoors for some hours. The plants can also get sunburns if you transfer them from cold climates to hot conditions without giving them time to adjust to the new requirements.
Ways to manage sunlight exposure
If you see aloe vera turning red and the reason is overexposure to sunlight, then follow these steps immediately to save it:
- Filter the light using clothes or transparent shading nets if you plant aloe vera in the garden.
- The sunlight coming from a window can become intense in the summer. So, place the plant a few feet away from the window for indoor planting.
- In summer, north and east-facing windows receive milder sunlight than west or south-facing windows, so shift the plant or use curtains.
One of the reasons that commonly causes aloe vera turning red is lousy drainage or overwatering. Since aloe vera is a succulent, it likes little water, and the soil you use should be well draining as aloe vera never grows in standing water. It is suitable for some plants to water daily, but aloe vera prefers to avoid frequent watering.
There can be two cases of overwatering:
- You leave the place underwater and then flood it with water.
- You water the plant more often than you should
In this case, aloe vera turning red is not a good sign. When you find the cause, take immediate action to resolve it. A sign of overwatering is soft and mushy leaves.
Ways to save an overwatered plant?
- Wait to water the place again before the soil feels dry, and check whether the top 2-3 inches of the earth are dry to the touch.
- Water the aloe vera plant once every 2-3 weeks. But check the moisture level as the watering needs may differ for different places.
- Use a pot with drainage holes, and when planting in the ground, use well-draining soil.
- The plant goes into winter dormancy, so reduce watering in the winter.
Not Right Conditions During The Winter
If you try to grow the aloe vera plant during the winter, it can turn red as it needs to be dormant during that time.
Fertilising in winter and watering more is not a suggestion by experts.
Ways to protect aloe vera plant from the cold
- If you are planting aloe vera outdoors, then bring the plant indoors in the second half of cool autumn as leaves start to turn red.
- Suppose your aloe vera is indoors near a window but still getting tints of red color. Then it means it is suffering from the cold, so close the window or shift the plant to a warmer place.
- Check the room’s temperature before placing your aloe vera, and never put the plant close to an air-conditioner or a fan.
- To get the right amount of heat from the sun during winter, place the plant near a west or south-facing window.
- Reduce watering during the winter; only water you touch the top layer of soil; it feels dry.
- If you live in a place with temperatures below 50°F, then grow the aloe vera plants in pots so that you can bring them indoors during the autumn and winter.
- A rapid temperature change can also cause aloe vera turning red. So, avoid placing the plant close to a window or door that you frequently open or close.
An Excessive Amount Of Nutrients And Over-fertilizing
Overusing or using a heavy fertilizer can result in nutrients building up around the top layer of the soil of the aloe vera plant, which can be why aloe vera turns red. Fertilizers add the nutrients essential for the growth of aloe vera, such as potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
If you use heavy fertilizers for the aloe vera plant, there can be a red thin-crust residue on the top layer of the soil and some root damage.
How to fix the issue of excessive fertilizing?
- First, remove the mineral crust from the top layer of the aloe vera soil using a scraper or any other gardening tool. Then wash out the extra minerals from the ground by running water through the earth in 5 times the pot volume.
- Then wash out the excessive amounts of fertilizer and minerals from the pot by washing them out.
- Fertilize the plants carefully; aloe vera plants need fertilizing 1-2 times yearly, most probably during spring.
- When you water your aloe vera plant, use pure water rather than tap water, which contains many minerals.
Not Enough Nutrients
If you see aloe vera turning red, it can be because of a nutrient deficiency in the soil. Aloe vera plants can grow in poor soil conditions, but the plant can still suffer from low levels of nutrients in the ground. The plant needs nitrogen and magnesium to produce chlorophyll, a lack of these nutrients results in the leaves lacking green colour.
How to provide enough nutrients to the aloe vera plant?
- Carefully choose the soil before planting the aloe vera. Go for the ground that is made especially for succulents. Use one part of the potting mix and one part of the builder’s soil to make your own.
- It is good to apply a fertiliser made particularly for succulents or a 10-40-10 mix.
Not Using A Good Potting Mix Or Soil
Not using suitable soil can be the reason behind aloe vera turning red if no other cause applies to your condition.
A tip is to use garden soil as succulent; aloe vera doesn’t do well in potting mix.
How to fix aloe vera turning red because of unsuitable soil?
- Prevent the plant from getting a repotting shock by watering it for two days before repotting it to a new place.
- Use cactus soil for potting aloe vera, and if you are making your soil, add one part of the builder soil and one part of the soil mix
- You can place marble stones on top to make the plant look nice
The Plant Is Infested With Pests
Some pests, such as scales, spider mites, aphids, and Mealybugs, can remove the green color from aloe vera and turn it red, yellow, pink, or brown. The level of infestation determines what color the aloe vera leaves will turn into. Sometimes there are red spots on the aloe vera leaves due to the red tints that some insects leave behind them. You can examine the damage signs to determine whether there has been a pest infestation.
How to deal with pests?
- Spray disinfectant spray on and under the leaves, such as neem oil.
- Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol on the infected area. It will first weaken and ultimately kill all the bugs and insects, including the hard-shelled insects.
- Apply insecticidal soap on the leaves, such as Castile or Safer soap.
- Some bugs don’t prefer living in damp conditions; shower the plant with water to get rid of pests.
- Some pests like to live in wet conditions; stop watering the plant and let the soil dry out a bit, but don’t kill the plant.
- Ladybugs feed on soft-scaled bugs and aphids, so release some and eliminate the other bugs.
Frequently Asked Question
Can I revive my red aloe vera to its standard green color?
The aloe vera plant can retrieve its green color precisely as it was when you grew it after some time and care. Just read the list of problems carefully, identify the reason your aloe vera turns red, and start working to solve the problem.
Can using red aloe vera prove harmful?
The research claims that red aloe vera is beneficial for treating scrapes, burns, insect bites, and psoriasis. The antifungal element in the gel of red aloe vera eliminates dandruff, promoting overall scalp health. The minerals and vitamins in aloe vera are beneficial for soothing red skin caused by acne and breakouts.
Can aloe vera turn pink without any reason?
If your aloe vera plant is not freezing outside, it is good to grow it outdoors. If you grow it outdoors in the full sun, the aloe vera plant rarely has its lush green color. The plant usually turns bronzy-pink in color as soon as it is placed under the full sun.
Will my aloe vera turn red and die?
Aloe vera plants don’t always die after turning red. It is just a warning sign that you need to change the growing conditions for your aloe vera plant and find the exact reason why the leaves are turning red. If you properly deal with the problem, you can quickly revive your aloe vera plant.
Why is the inner pulp of my aloe vera red in color?
If you ever cut an aloe vera to get the gel and see that it is red from incised, it indicates that the plant has been overexposed to sunlight or you are growing it in poor soil.
Why does my aloe vera look discolored?
There can be many reasons behind the changing color of aloe vera. The two most common ones are sunlight exposure and excessive watering.
How to identify an overwatered aloe vera?
If you overwater an aloe vera, it is easy to identify your mistake. The aloe vera plant would have rotting roots, yellowing leaves, and mushy leaves.
Now you know how you can revive the deep green color of your aloe vera, which recently started to change into red hues. Just carefully examine the plant to identify the cause and start working on resolving the issue your aloe vera plant is facing. If you see an aloe vera turning red, it indicates an underlying issue, solve the problem and get your plant happy and healthy again.