Aloe Vera is possibly one of the most loved succulent plants due to its many medicinal and cosmetic benefits. This plant flourishes in almost all regions and can be grown anywhere with just a little maintenance. However, every now and then, some common mistakes can cause it to lose its usual ever-green color.
Aloe plant turns pale or into different colors for quite a few reasons. Usually, it is because of too much or not enough sun exposure, overwatering, underwatering, phosphorus deficiency, sudden changes in temperature, environmental stress, overfertilization, and nutrient deficiency.
In this article, we’ll discuss the potential causes for an aloe plant changing into different colors and also see how to remedy the errors and restore the plant to its natural color.
Aloe Plant Turning Pale
Aloe plants usually have a greyish-blue shade of vibrant green color. If you notice their green color gradually becoming pale and dull, it could be due to insufficient water, environmental stress, or too much sunlight. Let us analyze the reasons and preventive measures below.
One of the first indications that your aloe plant is underwatered is when it loses its healthy, normal color and starts to pale. If left unwatered for a longer period of time, it will turn brown and slowly begin to shrivel up.
When you first notice that your aloe plant is starting to pale, check if the soil in which it is planted is dry or moist. Typically, aloe plants should be watered once in two weeks and less frequently during winter when there is not much sunlight and heat. If the climate is extremely hot and humid, you can water it once a week after doing a touch test.
If you find the soil extremely dull, underwatering may be the reason for its paleness. Make sure you water it sufficiently (or spray it with water if that is the method you prefer) and observe it for a couple of days. If the plant starts to regain its color and look healthy again, you can be sure that insufficient hydration was the problem.
Too Much Sunlight
Similar to insufficient hydration, being exposed to too much sunlight can burn an aloe vera plant, causing it to lose its luster. Keep in mind that loss of color is one of the first symptoms of sunburn, and can later lead to other color variations if it continues.
How to Cure
- Make sure you water your plant sufficiently.
- Aloes will usually need to be watered once a week if you live in a warm place.
- Move it to the shade.
An aloe’s leaves becoming pale is one of the initial indications of an unhappy plant, so if noticed at this stage, you can revive your aloe to its former color in no time.
If you notice your aloe plant being in the direct line of sunlight, shift it to a place of indirect sunlight for a while to test if the paleness is a result of sunburn. If the paleness is cured, then continue to keep the plant in a slightly shaded area.
Aloe Plant Turning Grey
An aloe plant turns grey when it is in shock. This can occur when there is a sudden change in its environment, typically a sudden increase in sunlight. Aloe plants can survive in the sun, but you must ensure that you slowly acclimatize it instead of directly placing it in the hot sun.
If your aloe plant has been indoors for a long period of time, but you wish to shift it outdoors, that is completely possible. The only thing you need to remember is to make this sudden shift slow and gradual.
Instead of putting it out in the open immediately, expose it to a little sunlight each day by keeping it in a shaded area outside. That way, it slowly gets used to being out in the sun and will not undergo an environmental shock when it is placed outdoors.
Similarly, if an aloe plant has just been replanted, it can acquire a slight greyish tinge for a few days. This is because they undergo a shock even when they have been repotted. With time and the right care, they will soon be back to normal and lose their sickly grey shade.
How to Cure
- When changing the environment, give the aloe time to get used to the bright and hot rays of the sun.
- Place the plant in a shaded area outside your home for a few days. This will give it time to slowly adapt to the bright surroundings and will soon be able to withstand being kept in direct sunlight.
- When repotting an aloe, make sure you give it sufficient water in the beginning and then leave it alone for a couple of weeks.
- With time, the aloe should be able to adapt itself to the new soil and become normal again.
Aloe Plant Turning Orange
If your aloe plant is turning orange, it could be an indication of drought stress and root loss. Root loss generally occurs due to over or underwatering a plant, so if you’ve not watered your aloe in ages (or have been overwatering it of late), it could be due to the decreased or increased moisture content in the soil.
Typically, extreme sunburn can cause an aloe plant to take on an orange tinge, so also ensure that your plant has not been left out in excessive sunlight for too long.
Additionally, environmental stress caused by sudden heat can cause it to turn orange, so if there’s been a sudden or drastic change in its climatic environment, do consider keeping it indoors or in the shade for a while until it comes back to normal.
How to Cure
- First, check if the plant is being watered the right quantity of water after sufficient intervals.
- If this doesn’t solve the problem, consider moving the plant away from direct sunlight for a while as it can be a suntan that is causing the orange tinge.
Since we’re sure that the causes are related to the moisture content and overexposure to sunlight, it’s quite easy to rectify these errors and make the plant healthy again.
Aloe Plant Turning Pink or Purple
Some aloe plants can acquire a mild pinkish tinge or a deep purple color. Both these changes are caused by similar problems, so let’s have a look at their causes and cures below.
Too Much Sun Exposure
As with all color changes, a pink or purple color can also be a result of a severe sunburn. Though aloes are succulents that can withstand the sun, they need to be introduced to direct sunlight gradually, unlike other succulents.
Hence, make sure that your aloe is not in the scorching heat for too long, as this can sometimes be the only reason for its color change.
Your aloe may have been thriving outdoors for months together now but is suddenly acquiring a purplish tinge that was never there before. This is usually due to the increase in heat or sunlight in your area.
So if there’s been a sudden surge or drop in the climate, consider keeping your aloe plant indoors for a while until it stabilizes.
Lack of Phosphorus
Phosphorus plays an important role in the health of plants, and a deficiency of it can manifest itself in a sudden change of color. One of these external symptoms of this deficiency is the appearance of purple or pink leaves.
One of the most common reasons for phosphorus deficiency is due to the pH level of the soil. To rectify this, you can use phosphorus-rich fertilizer mixes to make sure the aloe plant gets enough phosphorus.
Phosphorus deficiency in plants is quite common, so it won’t be hard to find good fertilizer manufacturers. You can either go for a liquid fertilizer like Advanced Nutrients, which helps maintain the pH balance of the soil and also increase the overall health of a plant.
You can also invest in solid phosphate-rich plant food like Hoffman Triple Super Phosphate, which gives plants that are nutrient deficient an added boost!
Transplant shock can also be a reason for the color change, so if you’ve recently repotted your aloe plant, you can be sure that this is the reason for the purple tinge. You needn’t worry too much about transplant shock as the plant will slowly adapt itself to the new environment.
Just make sure that you water it sufficiently and help make the transition process easier!
How to Cure
- Place the plant in the shade if it is receiving too much sunlight.
- Move the plant indoors if there is a sudden change in the climate (too much sun, rain, snow, etc.)
- Add phosphorus-rich fertilizers to the soil to balance out the pH.
- Give the plant some time to readjust if it has just been replanted.
Aloe Plant Turning Red
If your aloe plant is turning red, it could signify a reaction to intense sunlight, stress from cold temperatures, underwatering, fertilizer shock, and sometimes even repotting.
Most commonly, aloe plants redden as a reaction to strong sunlight. It is believed that this reddening is a natural reaction to help protect its leaves from getting sunburned. So although it doesn’t actually signify any immediate danger, it is good to shift the plant to a shadier region.
Some aloe plants turn red during the summer and regain their green color during fall. This signifies that there’s really not much to be worried about, as long as you’re sure that there aren’t other reasons for the red coloring.
As with all plants, aloes can acquire a reddish-brown color if they’ve been under-watered for a long period of time. This is especially important if you live in a place that receives a lot of sunlight too. So if your aloe is out in the sun all day and its soil is dry and cracking, it is assumable that the red discoloration is due to dryness.
Some aloes can suffer from fertilizer shock. This usually happens when you’ve accidentally used too much fertilizer in the soil. To avoid this, only fertilize aloe plants if they show signs of being under-fertilized, and also follow the feeding instructions that come along with each fertilizer.
Though repotting doesn’t usually result in reddened leaves, we know that aloe plants do undergo stress from sudden changes. So if you’ve recently repotted the plant and then notice a reddish discoloration, you can be certain that it’s nothing to worry about and will regain its normal color once it settles down.
How to Cure
- Shift the plant to the shade if it is receiving an excess of sunlight.
- Water your aloe if you notice that its soil is completely dry and has no moisture (especially in sunny areas).
- Check if you’ve over-fertilized your plant. To avoid fertilizer shock, soak the soil for 12 hours in water and then drain it before you add the fertilizer. This will prevent the roots from absorbing too much fertilizer as it will have a coating of water around it, which will protect it.
- If you’ve repotted the aloe recently, you needn’t take any extra measures to remove the discoloration as it will fade on its own.
Aloe Plant Turning White
White Scale Infestation
If your aloe plant is turning white, it could be a result of an infestation. Scales are a type of plant bug that attaches itself to the plant and feeds off its liquid. These pests don’t move around but keep increasing in number. They live in clusters which give the aloe plant a whitish appearance. But don’t worry, these pests can still be dealt with before it’s too late!
How to Cure
- The Missouri Botanical Garden suggests mixing 1 tablespoon of insecticidal soap and 1 cup isopropyl alcohol with 1 quart (945 ml) of water.
- Spray the affected area on the aloe with this mixture once in 3 days for two weeks.
- If the infestation is just beginning, you can also dab the affected area with cotton swabs soaked in alcohol.
If you’re unsure about whether your aloe plants are infected by white scales or not, I suggest you watch this informative video below, which also gives tips on getting rid of them:
Mealybugs enjoy feeding on succulents and can often be found on aloe plants. However, they are easier to notice than white scales as these are bigger in size. The female mealybugs build their nests in colonies all over the plant, causing it to look like white tufts of fuzz on the aloe plant.
How to Cure
- Mealybugs can be removed by cleaning the leaves of the aloe plant with water and a soft cloth.
- To prevent them from returning, you may have to spray the plant with a pesticide.
- If the infestation is on a larger scale and has affected the entire plant, it is better to get rid of the plant before it spreads to the other plants in your garden.
If you find it hard to remove the infestation with water and a cloth, you can also use a solution of an organic pesticide made of rice and water to spray the infestation. Here’s a video of the entire process below:
Aloe Plant Turning Yellow
One of the main causes of a yellowing aloe vera plant is improper watering. When water stagnates in the pot of your aloe vera plant, it causes root rot. Yellowing leaves can be one of the first symptoms of unhealthy roots in your aloe vera plant.
Additionally, some aloe plants also get a yellowish tinge due to sunburn. This coloring becomes deeper and more prominent with time. So if you notice a slight yellowing of its leaves, it could also mean that it’s developing a sunburn due to overexposure to the sun.
How to Cure
- Don’t overwater the aloe plant, especially if it is kept indoors or does not receive a lot of sunlight. Not enough sunlight can make the Aloe wobbly.
- If the plant is kept out in the open and receives too much sunlight every day, try changing its position to a shady region and note if there are any changes in its color.
Aloe Plant Turning Brown
Brown coloring on an aloe plant can be indicative of a number of problems. Let’s go through these in detail below.
Overwatering or Underwatering
Generally, incorrect watering can cause aloe plants to acquire a brownish shade. This could be because the plant isn’t receiving sufficient water and is beginning to dry up, or that it receives too much water and its roots have begun to rot.
An easy way to know the difference is by observing the leaves of the plant. Usually, you’ll be able to see brownish spots appearing on the leaves before it eventually turns brown. This occurs because of overwatering the plant.
When underwatering the plant, you’ll be able to see the leaves curling inwards and looking lifeless, along with the browning of leaves. This indicates that the moisture content in the succulent is extremely low.
Based on these differences, you can figure out if you’ve been over or underwatering your aloe plant.
Aloe rust is a plant fungus that affects succulents. However, this only occurs in brown or black circles and does not spread all over the plant. If you notice brown spots or circles on the leaves, you can be sure that the plant has the fungus.
If you notice the bottom of your aloe plant looking brown and unhealthy, it could be due to root rot. The only way to prevent root rot is by watering the plant the right amount of water and making sure the moisture isn’t stagnating in the pot. This will prevent the roots from rotting and spreading to the leaves.
In addition to this, make sure your pot has a drainage hole, as that will allow the excess water to drain.
Other general causes for aloe plants turning brown could be sunburn, climate shock, fertilizer shock, and repotting.
How to Cure
- Make sure you aren’t overwatering or underwatering the plant.
- If the plant has root rot, immediately repot the plant to help cure it.
- Make sure the plant is not left in the scorching sun as it can get sunburned.
- Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole as that will prevent the plant from being overwatered.
- If the plant has aloe rust, keep the plant in direct sunlight and avoid overwatering.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Plant
Apart from the various color discolorations, there are other symptoms you can have an eye out for to prevent the succulent from getting worse. Here’s a list of symptoms that indicate an unhealthy aloe plant.
- Plants changing shades and losing their original color is usually indicative of an unhealthy or stressed plant.
- When an aloe plant is underwatered, it generally has dried and withering leaves. Sometimes the leaves tend to curl inwards or outwards too.
- If the aloe has droopy or very thin and unhealthy leaves, it could be indicative of nutrient deficiency.
- If the leaves are mushy and brown, you can be sure that the plant has been overwatered.
- White and grey discolorations could also indicate an insect infestation, especially if there are bumps on the leaf.
General Causes for Aloes Changing Color
- Too much sunlight: Most aloes tend to develop a tan or sunburn when exposed to too much sunlight for long periods of time. To avoid this, it is better to shift the plant to a shadier area when it appears to develop a slight tan. Grey, orange, yellow, red, and brown are some of the usual colorations that occur due to too much sun exposure.
- Insufficient water: When aloe plants have been underwatered, it reflects on its color and external appearance. Apart from having a withered and dry look, it also can turn pale, orange, or brown when it does not receive sufficient hydration.
- Too much water: Overwatering an aloe plant is one of the most common reasons for an unhealthy coloration to take place. Aloes are succulents and do not require much water to survive, so it is important to ensure you do not water it more than needed. Yellow and brown are some of the common indicators of an overwatered aloe plant.
- Transplant shock: When aloe plants have been repotted, they tend to undergo a certain amount of stress, which causes them to change color. Though there are not any typical color indicators for this problem, you can be sure that if your aloe changes color right after it has been transplanted, it is most likely undergoing a period of transplant stress.
- Environmental stress or shock: Sudden changes can cause environmental stress on the aloe plant. This includes the sudden shifting of an aloe plant that was previously indoors into the hot sun. This gives the plant no time to adapt to its new surroundings, resulting in external appearances of stress.
Aloes that acquire a grey or orange tinge usually indicate environmental stress.
- Fertilizer shock: It is better not to fertilize aloe plants unless they show symptoms of nutrient and phosphorus deficiency. Adding too much fertilizer can often result in fertilizer shock, causing the plant to change color. Red aloe plants can be indicative of this shock.
- Insect infestation: If an aloe plant acquires a white layer or white dots, it is most likely a white scales or mealybugs infestation.
- Aloe rust and rot: Aloe rust and rot can both result in your aloe vera acquiring a brownish tinge. While aloe rust is a type of fungus, aloe rot can be avoided by not overwatering the aloe plant.
Basic Care Tips of Aloe Plants
Most of the discoloration in aloe plants occurs due to the same reasons, so following few measures can prevent your aloe from discoloration and other problems.
- Water your aloe plant once in two weeks in normal climatic conditions. You can water your plant less often when it’s winter.
- Give the aloe time to adapt to new surroundings, especially direct sunlight, when moving it outdoors for the first time.
- Move it into the shade if it gets a sunburn.
- Avoid underwatering your aloe when it’s summer and very hot.
- Keep an eye out for aloe rust, fungal infections, and other infestations.
- Use fertilizer if you notice a deficiency in nutrients.
- Move the plant indoors if it becomes too hot or freezing cold outside, as temperature fluctuations affect aloes.
This article gives a detailed account of the various causes of discoloration in aloe vera plants. As you may have noticed, general care and proper watering can help you avoid most of the problems that lead to discoloration.
The main takeaway from this article is how important it is to water your plant adequately, protect it from harsh sunlight, and give it time to adapt and acclimatize itself to new surroundings.