Aloe Vera Plant Turning Brown and Soft: Causes and Treatments

Aloe Vera Plant Turning Brown and Soft
Aloe Vera Plant Turning Brown and Soft

Why is Aloe Vera plant turning brown and soft? In this post, I will be sharing the possible causes as well as the tips on how you can keep your aloe plant safe from diseases.

Like other succulents, aloe vera is easy to grow. It does not need too much attention. However, like most succulents, this plant needs something that most plants out there don’t.

If its needs are not met, you’ll probably notice some signs of neglect. One of the indicators is the changes in color. In most cases, this plant may turn into brown instead of green.

So what makes aloe vera plant turning brown and soft?

There are possible causes as to why aloe plant turns into brown and soft. The issue may be caused by any of the following:

  1. Overwatering
  2. Underwatering
  3. High Temperature
  4. High Humidity
  5. Sunburn
  6. Consuming too much fertilizer
  7. Insects or Pests
  8. Diseases

Any of these causes could potentially harm the aloe vera plant. The good news is that, there are simple ways you can do to fix the plant. If done correctly, you can easily and quickly heal the plant.

Below are the simple steps you can follow to save the aloe vera plant turning brown and soft.


Like other succulent plants, overwatering is the best way to kill aloe vera. This happens when it is planted in a compacting soil that does not provide good drainage and aeration.

But how do you know that an aloe vera plant is overwatered? Well, there are many indicators. The common of which are the development of wet and soggy spots on the leaves. In a short period of time, the leaf will eventually turn into brown.

If the problem persists, the plant will lose its leaves. Death is the ultimate price. This usually takes shortly. Root rotting increases the chances of failing. At this stage, there is nothing to be done to save the plant.

Effective intervention should be implemented before root rotting starts to increase the chance of plant survival.

Tips to save aloe vera from overwatering

The obvious solution to overwatering is reducing the amount of water and the watering frequency schedule. There are a lot of theories out there as to how to water aloe vera correctly.

What I recommend however is to apply the soak and dry watering method. This strategy involves soaking the soil until all the roots and soil get wet. Then let the excess water to drain at the bottom of the pot. Only water again once the soil is dry.

This is the great way to reduce water of the plant. The moisture in the soil determines the watering frequency thus saves the aloe plant from overwatering.

Aside from lessening the amount of water, repotting is also helpful in this case. To save the aloe vera from further damage, you can transfer it to a new pot with new soil. There you can easily adjust the water because the soil is not wet yet.

But before doing it, you need also to remove all the mushy parts including leaves and roots. Use a clean and sharp cutting tool to cut away the rotting parts of the plant. Just make sure that you preserve the healthy ones especially the roots.

The disease like this among succulent plants like aloe vera is also an indication that they are planted in the compacting soil. Fast-draining soil does not cause root rotting. Changing the soil is a good option. Never use the previous soil that caused the problem in your plants.

To keep your succulent plants healthy and safe from overwatering, use a fast-draining soil. You can make your own, or order it from a garden store. You can check my recommended succulent soil on Amazon.

Aside from using a fast-draining succulent soil mix, it is also very important to use a pot with a drainage hole and does not absorb too much water or moisture. In my experience, I did not have success with the plastic pot. Terracotta pot does a very good job for my succulent plants. You can check my recommended pot on Amazon.

Under watering

Aside from overwatering, under watering is also a threat to succulent plants. But unlike overwatering, under watering is less harmful. In fact, an under watered succulent is easier to revive than the overwatered.

However, like over watering, under watering also poses threat to succulent plants. It can also cause the changes in color in aloe vera plants. One of the signs is the tip of the leaves turning brown.

When this condition lingers, the affected areas will be hardened and shrunk. This indicates that your aloe vera is very thirsty.

Tips to save aloe vera from under watering

The quickest way to treat the aloe plant in this instance is, of course, to give it enough water. It is important to soak the soil with water thoroughly. Water it until all the roots absorb water. Again, I recommend the soak and dry watering technique.

This strategy only works though if you have pots with drainage holes. If your pot has no exit point for the excess water to pass through, do not soak the soil. Be mindful of the amount of water you give to your aloe vera plant.

Plants in pots without drainage holes are prone to overwatering which often results in root rotting. This is because the excess water will more likely to store at the bottom of the pot. This will in turn cause the changes of color in aloe plants.

It is also important to remember here that there is no single watering rule that works for all occasions. Both the water amount and the watering frequency are both influenced by external factors including humidity, season, sunlight exposure, etc.

So it is very important that you monitor your plants’ needs to be able to see what is lacking or exceeding. This way you can easily keep your aloe vera healthy and thriving.

High Temperature

Aloe vera needs sunlight exposure. But like other succulent varieties, too much exposure in high temperature could make sudden changes to the plant. One of the noticeable is the leaves turning into brown.

Most succulents can easily get sunburned when exposed to the scourging sun for long hours. It also causes the soil dries quickly. Either way, it could change the aloe plant leaves’ color from green to brown.

Sunburn is one of the most common issues of succulent plants during summer. They need special attention during this season to keep them safe from diseases associated with extreme temperature.

Tips to save aloe vera from high temperature

The quickest way to save the aloe plant is by providing shade. Instead of exposing the plant in the direct sunlight, you can give it straight indirect sunlight. This way the plant will eventually recovers from developing brown leaves.

The other thing you can do is to transfer the plant indoor. This is the safest way you can offer to aloe vera. This is an easier option if all of the plants are planted in a small or medium pot so that you can easily carry them inside.

But before transferring the plant from outdoor to indoor, you need to make sure that the pot, the soil, and the whole plant are clean. This is to avoid insects and other pathogens to go along with the plants inside.

You can read my guide on what to do when transferring outdoor plants indoor.

High Humidity

High humidity is like overwatering that could potentially harm your succulent plants especially aloe vera. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. If the environment is highly humid, succulents don’t like it.

If aloe vera, for instance, is exposed in highly humid area, you’ll notice that its leaves will droop and turn yellow. Then, if this condition lingers, those yellow leaves will turn into brown and eventually fall.

When you see this in your aloe plants, it suggests that the plant is dying. You need to do something to revive it.

Tips to save aloe vera from high humidity

To save the aloe vera from its dying condition, you need to lower the humidity level. Keep the plant from air cooler, air conditioner, or window especially during winter.

Aloe vera loves temperatures between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 55 or higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit will detriment the growth of the plant.

This is a common challenge during winter when both indoor and outdoor temperatures likely drop. Because there is no enough sunlight available, it is difficult to control or manage temperature suitable for aloe vera.

For indoor aloe vera however, you can use grow lights to lessen the humidity by providing the plants source of light. What I like about grow lights is that the heat they emit is controllable. You can decide how much heat you want to give to your plants.

Check my favorite and recommended grow light on Amazon.


Sunburn can also cause an aloe vera plant turning brown and soft. This commonly happens during summer when temperature is usually high both indoor and outdoor.

But the most affected plants are those planted outdoor. The aloe vera plant that is exposed under the scourging sunlight will get sunburned and start to turn the color of its leaves from green to red or brown.

If you see your outdoor aloe vera changing its color during summer, that’s a sign that the plant is suffering from sunburn. You need to take immediate action to save it.

Tips to save aloe vera from sunburn

The quickest treatment you can do to save your aloe vera from sunburn is to move it in the shade. The very purpose of this is to minimize the direct sunlight exposure which causes the burn.

This happens not only for aloe vera plants but also to other succulent plants. This is the reason why I recommend to have a shade for succulents. During summer, you might be needing that shade when the sun gets too hot for the succulents.

If you don’t have a shade, you can bring your aloe plant inside. This is the quickest way to save it from the sunburn. But again, this step can be challenging if you have bigger pots. It requires a lot of labor on your part. But if you really want to save the plant, you need to sacrifice a little bit.

Once inside, do not place the aloe plant near the window where the direct sunlight penetrates. Then, give it enough water to drink. With right care, eventually, the plant will recover.

Consuming too much fertilizer

Most succulents don’t need extra source of nutrients especially when they are dormant. When they get too much fertilizer, their roots will only get burned. The leaves turning brown is an indicator that an aloe vera plant is receiving too much fertilizer.

When you see this, and if you are certain that too much fertilizer causes the problem, you need to do something to save the plant.

Tips to save aloe vera from too much fertilizer

For me, there are two things you can do for your aloe plant in this situation. The first one is to flush the soil with water for several minutes. This will help to wash out the fertilizer in the soil. If you done it correctly, the plant will be able to survive and recover.

The second thing you can do is to change the soil. I did this many times to my overwatered succulents before and it worked. This is what I recommend you to do if you have the same problem with your aloe plant.

However, this technique also works in over fertilized aloe vera plant. In fact, this more effective than washing. By changing the soil, you know that no fertilizer residual remained in the pot. If possible, you can also change the pot.

Ultimately, the best practice to avoid this problem is by remembering that succulents love soil that is less nutritious. This means that even without fertilizer or extra sources of nutrients, they will be just fine.

If you are using a commercial succulent soil mix, there is a high chance that the soil already contains essential minerals for the aloe vera to thrive. You don’t need to give them extra source of nutrients.

Insects or Pests

Some of the causes why aloe vera plant turning brown and soft are insects or pets. Like other succulents, aloe plants are the all-time favorite of these tiny intruders. Some are even more vulnerable than others.

The most common insects are mites, mealybugs, gnats, and flies. Although these creatures are tiny, they can certainly bring doom to the plant if not treated.

Tips to save aloe vera from insects or pets

The quickest response to this threat is pruning or removing the parts of the plant that are affected. This is to prevent the insects from spreading all over the plant. If the infestation remained untreated, the plant could die.

 Unfortunately, every insect requires certain treatment. For instance, mealybugs and flies can be removed by washing or spraying water. If you do this technique, let the water drain in the pot thoroughly to avoid the excessive water to harm the roots of the plant.

Mites, however, requires a more sophisticated treatment. The best way I found and the quickest technique to kill them is by using miticide. I suggest that you also separate the aloe plant with mites from other plants. The reason is obvious – mites can also infect other plants pretty quickly.

Fungal infections however are easier to treat. You just need a water and alcohol solution and spray the insects with it. It works well with my plants.

To learn more, read my complete guide on how to kill fungal infections in succulents plants.


Aside from the mentioned causes, the plant disease could also be the reason why an aloe vera plant is turning brown and soft. The following diseases could potentially contribute to this problem:

·         Anthracnose

·         Leaf spot

·         Cladosporium

·         Leaf blight

These diseases are some of the enemies of succulent plants including aloe vera. These fungal diseases are common in overwatered plants.

Tips to save aloe vera from diseases

Since the root cause of these diseases is overwatering, you can reduce the chance by reducing the water you give to your aloe plant. Apply the soak and dry method I mentioned in the earlier section of this post.

When watering, it is also very important to remember that what you really want to water is the soil and not the plant. So avoid soaking the whole plant. Focus on the soil.

These are just the common causes why an aloe vera plant turning brown and soft. I am sure that there are other causes not mentioned in this post.

But the best defense is prevention. You can avoid all of these plant issues if you grow and care your aloe plant correctly. Give them what they need and they will be happy and healthy.

In this section of post, I will share some steps you can to keep your aloe plant healthy and thriving.

1) Provide your aloe plant with pot with drainage holes

Like other succulents, aloe vera plans are prone to overwatering. The best way to help your plant safe from too much moisture and water is by using a pot with drainage holes. The holes will drain the excess water at the bottom of the pot leaving nothing but the appropriate amount of moisture for the plant.

2) Provide good soil mix

A good soil mix also helps drain the excess water. Avoid using the compacting soil because it tends to absorb too much water and moisture. Choose a fast-draining soil instead. This soil does not only help drain excess water but also provide aeration for the plant.

3) Refrain from giving too much water

Overwatering is the major enemy of any succulent plants including aloe vera. It does not only cause root rotting but also other diseases. To avoid it, you can apply the soak and dry method I mentioned in this post.

4) Provide indirect sunlight for your aloe plant

Succulents do need sunlight. However, they don’t like direct sunlight. If expose to scouring sunlight, aloe could get burned. The best way to keep your aloe plant safe is to provide it shade.

5) Provide your aloe plant with appropriate temperature

Aloe plants love temperatures between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 55 or higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit is harmful to aloe plants. To keep them healthy, try to give them an appropriate temperature.

6) Refrain from giving too much fertilizer

Aloe plants don’t need additional source of nutrients especially if you are using a commercial succulent soil mix. If it is really necessary, fertilize at least once a year during growing season. If it is not necessary, do not fertilize your aloe plants.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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