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How to Cut an Aloe Plant

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Aloe vera can be used to soothe scrapes, sunburns, and more. But in order to access the wonderful cooling gel, you need to know how to cut the plant without ruining it. 

This article will walk you through the essentials of cutting aloe plants. 

To cut an aloe plant: 

  • Use a sharp garden knife and cut close to the stem.
  • Let the yellowish sap drip out. 
  • Rinse the stem with water. 
  • Remove the top piece of skin with a serrated knife.
  • Repeat on the reverse side. 

Now that you understand the basics of cutting aloe, let’s take a closer look at how to cut a plant without ruining or killing it, how to use aloe gel, and different cutting techniques. 

Does Aloe Vera Regrow After Cutting? 

Once you cut the leaf off an aloe vera plant, it will not grow back. Rather, the plant will replace cut stems by growing new ones. 

When cutting an aloe plant, it’s important to cut as close to the stem as possible. That’s because aloe leaves seal themselves (and may turn brown) at the location where they’re cut. 

In other words, if you cut the middle of a leaf, you won’t be able to extract any more gel from the plant. However, if you cut near the stem, the plant will grow a whole new leaf that you can use in the future. 

How Many Aloe Leaves Can I Cut at Once?

gardener cutting aloe vera plant in a pot

It’s important to note that while a plant can regrow leaves, you shouldn’t remove too many at one time. The exact number of leaves you can safely remove without harming the plant depends on its health and size. 

In general, if your plant has 8 to 12 leaves, you can cut 2 to 4 off. 

How Long Do Aloe Vera Leaves Take to Grow Back? 

Growing a new stem takes three to five months

Actual growing times may differ, depending on the size of the plant and its general health. 

New leaves grow faster if more than one has been cut at a time. 

How Do You Cut an Aloe Vera Plant Without Ruining It?

As long as you choose leaves from a mature plant and follow the steps below, you’ll have no trouble cutting an aloe vera plant without killing it. 

  1. Select a leaf from the outer section of the plant that’s thick and healthy. 
  2. Sterilize a pair of scissors or shears by wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Use the scissors or shears to cut a leaf as close to the stem as possible.
  4. Hold the stem over a bowl or sink and let the yellowish sap drip out. 
  5. Wash and dry the leaves, then remove the prickly edges with a knife.
  6. Remove the top layer of skin with a serrated knife, flip over, and repeat.
aloe vera gel in bowl and some slices on the table

What Do You Do With Aloe After You Cut It? 

After removing the top and bottom layers of the plant, you can easily remove the inner gel. Once you’ve discarded the outer parts, cut the gel into slices. 

Use the gel immediately or store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Alternatively, you can freeze the gel for up to two months. 

What Is Aloe Used For? 

Aloe vera gel has a number of health benefits. Some of its many uses include: 

  • Soothing sunburns and bug bites 
  • Improving digestive health 
  • Improving oral health 
  • Clearing acne
  • Treating canker sores 

How Do You Use Aloe? 

When using aloe vera gel topically (i.e., to soothe sunburns or bug bites), apply the gel directly to the affected area and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Reapply if necessary. 

To get the most out of aloe’s moisturizing benefits, apply it to the skin for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water and pat dry. 

If you’re using the gel to improve digestive or oral health, you can blend the gel into a smoothie or mix it into your favorite beverage. 

Are There Any Concerns When Using Aloe? 

Aloe vera gel on finger

In general, aloe vera gel is considered safe to put on your skin or consume

Still, it’s important to test the aloe on a small patch of skin before applying it more liberally. To do so, apply a small amount to the inner arm and wait 24 hours.

Aloe may interfere with certain medications, so talk to your doctor before using it if you have any concerns

How Do You Cut Aloe for Different Uses? 

There are many uses for aloe, but it’s important to know how to cut the plant for what you hope to use it for.

Cutting Aloe for Gel 

Cut a leaf close to the stem, wash it, and remove the outer layers using a serrated knife. Cut the gel into slices or cubes. Apply the gel immediately or store it in the refrigerator. 

Cutting Aloe for Your Face 

Follow the instructions above, but make sure to rinse off the gel before applying it to your face. 

It’s also important to do an allergy test on your inner arm to make sure you don’t suffer a reaction. 

When you’re ready, apply the gel to your face in circular motions, rinse with cold water, and gently pat dry. 

Cutting Aloe for Hair 

woman applying cut aloe vera leaf on the strands of her hair

To cut an aloe leaf for use on your hair or scalp, follow the directions above, then use a spoon to scoop out the gel. 

Apply the gel directly to your scalp or mix with an oil (olive or coconut work well) before applying. Let the aloe sit for an hour before cleansing your hair with a mild shampoo. 

Cutting Aloe to Replant 

It’s possible to use cut aloe to start growing a new plant, but this method may not always work, so be advised. 

To cut a leaf for replanting, use a clean, sharp knife and remove a leaf near the base of the plant. Place the leaf in its own pot filled with cactus potting soil and keep it slightly moist around the cutting. Wait three weeks before examining the base of the cutting for any root growth. If roots are present, continue keeping the soil moist until the plant is firmly anchored in the soil, then you can treat it like your other mature aloe plants.

If after three weeks no root growth is present, discard the cutting and try again with a cutting from closer to the stem. You can also dip the cutting in rooting powder to increase the chances of root growth. 


Even if you don’t have much of a green thumb, it’s difficult to kill an aloe vera plant when cutting it. All you need are the right tools and a willingness to learn. 


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