The garden is an odd, exciting place. It is a realm where the known and the unknown come together- a habitat in which plants veer from their ordinary course of behavior on occasion to venture into what is not normal.
There are several different examples I could cite- plants are rarely as passive as they first appear. They creep, dig and climb- they sometimes emit smells to attract or warn; they change color, grow thorns, and have evolved chemical responses to external stimuli.
A plant altering its color is usually a temporary change, although it can sometimes display permanency. The reasons vary with color and plant type.
Why is my Aloe Vera plant turning pink?
The most common reason for an aloe vera plant turning pink is excess sunlight.
When an aloe plant comes in direct contact with sunlight for an extended period, the anthocyanin( a flavonoid responsible for pigmentation) contains darkens. It leads to a pink/ red color, which gradually turns darker with time, if not remedied.
There are, of course, other reasons for the plant turning pink. Inadequate watering can sometimes lead to a change in color.
Other common reasons include an extremity in temperature ( too hot or too cold), a change in soil pH, excess salt in the soil, etc.
The following list explains the above.
The commonest of every cause that is to follow, aloe plants turning pink is an oddly human way, an indication of sunburn.
Aloe vera is famous for its delicate leaves, which have on them a waxy coating. This coating, when directly exposed to the sun, acquires a pinkish tinge that progressively darkens.
If the aloe vera plant turns red, it is considered an extreme case of sun exposure.
Usually reversible, one must also exercise caution in how much light they expose their plant to. That means too much light could cause irreversible sun damage.
Aloe vera plants do best in temperate conditions, with temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 degrees celsius.
They have a high water content, and the excess heat dries up the soil- resulting in an inadequate transfer of water via the stem to the leaves and branches.
It, combined with inadequate watering and general neglect, shows up in a changed leaf color- a clear sign of disruption in the nutrient flow.
It is always a factor that needs correct measurement; an excess of water ( or the lack of it) can cause a color change.
Flooding is a real problem for aloe vera plants. It causes the roots to turn soft and begin to rot, leading to discolored leaves.
If the problem continues to persist, spots show up. They darken over time. A lack of water also causes the color change, with the leaves drying out and turning an unhealthy shade of brown.
Aloe mites are insects that target aloe vera plants primarily. They fester on the leaves, concealed at the base in hidden crevices, and induce mold growth.
The leaves turn pink first and then brown or black- an indication that the mites are sapping the plant of requisite nutrients.
A phenomenon plants exhibit upon being transplanted; is often the cause for discoloration of leaves. A transplant shock can have one of a few different triggers- a sudden change in temperature, too little water, a root structure that requires recovery time, etc.
As with all other living things, plants, too, are susceptible to diseases. The two most common diseases plaguing aloe vera plants are Anthracnose and bacterial soft rot.
The first is a fungal disease that transmits through water and reacts to sultry, humid weather. It manifests in dark spots that grow in size before turning into pink or red patches.
As the name suggests, bacterial soft rot is a bacterial disease caused by rotting roots( a natural consequence of overwatering) and leads to an accumulation of water in plant parts. It causes discoloration and flaccidity.
A side-effect of overfertilization, salt in large quantities is not suitable for the soil. Aloe plants can sustain only a moderate degree of salinity.
An excess causes the soil to dry up, leading to insufficient water transmission. The salt also travels- up the stem to the leaves and branches. It affects the regular composition of cell membranes and leads to a pink hue.
Think of roots as suppliers- the essential components that facilitate motion and delivery. A damaged root structure is quite literally the ‘root’ of all trouble.
How to fix the aloe vera plant turning pink problem?
There is no one way to solve the problem. There are different solutions, each applicable to a particular trigger.
Always remember to shield your plant from the direct sun. Aloe vera plants prefer shade and cool, unfiltered light.
They also have a daily requirement of between 6 and 8 hours, following which the leaves are liable to get sunburned. If you happen to place your plant on a windowsill, it might be a good idea also to install blinds.
The same logic applies to an extremity in temperature. It would help if you avoid too much heat and can fix it by frequent misting and watering.
In such a situation, the soil must be adequately able to drain itself- an accumulation of water leads to flooding, which consecutively leads to rotten roots.
A good way for estimation in this regard is to only water an aloe vera plant if the top inch of soil is not damp. If it is, it is not yet time.
These are the basic requirements you need to take before, the likeliest problems to cause discolored leaves.
If one is to delve deeper, it could damage the root system. Now, this could either be a consequence of a transplant shock or a case of damaged roots.
If the former, make sure to perform the transplant with precision and patience. Try and extract as much of the original roots as possible, and take care not to disturb the rootball.
Water thoroughly post-transplant and simulate an environment that will aid the plant in recovering as quickly as possible.
If the root structure is rotting, take the plant out of its container very carefully, and snip off the parts that exhibit darkening or appear dead. Replace the plant.
Note: It is wise to allow a plant enough space to grow. Tiny containers often result in stunted growth owing to a minimal space for the roots to inhabit.
Coming to a pest infestation, the first thing that you need to do is identifying the problem. Once you successfully detect the problem area, use an insecticide to sanitize the area.
It may take a while to take effect. Early morning and evenings are the recommended time window- a natural recommendation for too much heat during the day makes the liquid evaporate faster. Be thorough for faster results.
Diseases tend to be curable, with a few exceptions. You can treat fungal infections with fungicides. Bacterial soft rot, unfortunately, has no permanent cure.
The best way to stop the spread of disease is to identify it early, followed by disposing of the infected roots. It is also contagious, so make sure you do not dispose of them near other plants.
Aside from these tips, it is also prudent to maintain around the plant an environment of stability—consistent temperature conditions, the right amount of fertilizers, the correct watering- on schedule.
Keep the plant out of the way of cold drafts, supplement the soil with mineral mixes on occasion- and you are on the path to nourishing the healthy development of a plant.
Is Aloe Vera safe for use after it turns pink?
Usually, yes. The answer does depend on the exact shade of pink, but a pink aloe vera plant poses no threat. If a result of sun damage, it is essentially unchanged except that it is now slightly dried out.
Lookout, however, for browning and discoloration that is a result of disease, pests, or rotting roots. They make the natural state of the plant go awry and might be harmful if applied or ingested.
On an ending note, an aloe vera plant turning pink is a common and frequently recorded phenomenon. It espouses no cause for alarm but instead serves as an indicator for some anomaly. If remedied, the color change has often shown itself to be reversible.