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Aloe Vera dark spots

L Evve
2 months ago

Hello-
I took these aloe vera plants from an outdoor garden and brought them home to be in a pot yesterday. I noticed both have some dark dots shown on the pics. Any idea what this might be or how to avoid and fix it? Miami FL

Comments (6)

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    2 months ago

    Looks like a physiological disorder called oedema. Because the leaves on your aloe are so succulent/ fleshy, there might be some mold or fungi growing on the wet lesions. Something I wrote about it:

    Oedema

    Oedema (aka edema) is a physiological disorder that can affect all terrestrial plants. It occurs when the plant takes up more water than it can rid itself of via the process of transpiration. The word itself means 'swelling', which is usually the first symptom, and comes in the form of pale blisters or water-filled bumps on foliage. Under a variety of circumstances/cultural conditions, a plant's internal water pressure (turgidity) can become so high that some leaf cells rupture and leak their contents into inter-cellular spaces in leaf tissue, creating wet or weepy areas. Symptoms vary by plant, but as the malady progresses, areas of the leaf turn yellow, brown, brown with reddish overtones or even black, with older damage appearing as corky/ scaly/ ridged patches, or wart/gall-like bumpy growth. Symptoms are seen more frequently in plants that are fleshy, are usually more pronounced on the underside of leaves, and older/lower leaves are more likely to be affected than younger/upper leaves.

    Oedema is most common in houseplants during the winter/early spring months, is driven primarily by excessive water retention in the soil, and can be intensified via several additional cultural influences. Cool temperatures, high humidity levels, low light conditions, or partial defoliation can individually or collectively act to intensify the problem, as can anything else that slows transpiration. Nutritional deficiencies of Ca and Mg are also known contributors to the malady.

    Some things that can help you prevent oedema:

    * Increase light levels and temperature

    * Monitor water needs carefully – avoid over-watering. I'd heartily recommend a soil with drainage so sharp (fast) that when you to water to beyond the saturation point you needn't worry about prolonged periods of soil saturation wrecking root health/function. Your soil choice should be a key that unlocks the solutions to many potential problems.

    * Avoid misting or getting water on foliage. It slows transpiration and increases turgidity.

    * Water as soon as you get up in the AM. When stomata close in preparation for the dark cycle, turgidity builds. If you water early in the day, it gives the plant an opportunity to remove (for its own needs) some of the excess water in the soil.

    * Put a fan in the room or otherwise increase air flow/circulation. Avoid over-crowding your plants.

    Al

  • L Evve
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks Al, as usual!
    Is this condition specially the fungi or mold move unto other plants that are in close proximity?

    Your description makes sense as these were in a rectangular pot were MANY aloe vera plants are growing like easily 50 plants, over crowded and with no to much soil and collecting rainfall

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  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    2 months ago

    Is this condition specially the fungi or mold move unto other plants that are in close proximity? Oedema is a physiological disorder that does not involve a virulent pathogen, so it doesn't spread from plant to plant. Any fungi/ mold that might have entered the picture are opportunists taking advantage of the long term wet conditions associated with the water-soaked lesions caused by Oedema. They need an extended period of moist conditions in order for the fungal/ mold spores to germinate. On plants that don't have oedema and the associated wet lesions, fungi and molds would lack an element essential to infection by a pathogen, so they wouldn't be an issue unless humidity levels were extremely high and/or you were misting regularly.

    Below you'll find something I wrote about how diseases infect plants, if you have interest. It was originally posted to a thread about compost, but the principle is still valid insofar as what you are witnessing:

    Diseases

    There are two categories of plant diseases that affect plants. “Abiotic” diseases have no pathogen, and are generally caused by any of a number of cultural factors. Excess water retention in container media is one of the most frequent cause of abiotic disease(s). Since there is no pathogen, abiotic diseases are not infectious. Cultural factors like light, temperature, soil chemistry/soil structure, air pollution, pesticide/herbicide residue, insect herbivory, ….. can individually or collectively cause abiotic diseases, or, even though not infectious, set the stage for “biotic diseases”, which involve living pathogens. In this case, the OP asks about the infectious/fungal/microbial pathogen, powdery mildew. Fungi are the most common pathogen affecting plants in our gardens, but bacterial and viral pathogens (even though there's a question re whether of not viral particles are living OR microbes – not really applicable to this topic.

    Plant pathologists often describe the disease process using a 4-sided figure called the disease tetrahedron (think “pyramid – 3 sides + the bottom”). Each side of the tetrahedron represents an essential part of the infection process. There must be a virulent pathogen (capable of infecting the plant) that is genetically capable of recognizing its host. Either the environment must be conducive to the development of the pathogen, or the pathogen must be able to stress/weaken the plant. The 4th requirement is the time required for diseases to develop and spread. Whenever conditions are such that any one (or more) of the 4 requirements is missing from the equation, there is no immediate threat.

    Since the best medicines are prophylactic, the grower who makes sure plants are healthy and not stressed is ahead of the game. Biotic diseases are better able to overcome the natural defenses of plants weakened by stress that occurs when the plant is forced to deal with cultural conditions near or beyond the limits the plant is genetically programmed to deal with.

    Circling back to the disease tetrahedron, we can see compost that contains the virulent inoculum provides 2 of the 4 essential sides needed for a disease to develop – environment and inoculum. Time, the third essential side will not likely be on the side of the grower, so you can't use that to your advantage. We know there will be potential hosts, but not whether or not the hosts will be susceptible to the pathogen, or weak enough for the pathogen to infect the host.

    Al

  • L Evve
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Can edema be reversed? I mean can I get rid of the dark spots or burnt marks?

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    2 months ago

    trying to fix this very minor tissue damage is akin to trying to love your plants to death ..


    there is simply no reason to do it..


    but if you insist.. then you would remove.. or prune off.. any damaged leaves ...and frankly by that point.. it would seem ridiculous to throw the whole plant out of balance form wise.. for a little boo boo ..


    99.909% of peep looking at that plant would not even notice the stuff you want to fix ..


    also.. you stressed them by digging and potting them.. and then more stress by bringing them in the house...


    imo.. that is enough stress for the next 3 months.. just water properly and leave them alone.. well they settle down to the new circumstances ...


    it really isnt time to be stressing them more by fixing that which is not broken ...


    ken

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    2 months ago

    Can edema be reversed? I mean can I get rid of the dark spots or burnt marks? Sorry, but no. Healing is a restorative process occurring in animals, during which cells are replaced or repaired in their same spatial position. Plants are incapable of this type of healing. As such, they are generating organisms as opposed to animals being regenerating organisms. In plants, the closest thing to healing is when the plant generates new callus tissue which roles over damaged tissue from the outer edges inward. In the first image below, you see a large white wound on a Japanese maple destined to become a bonsai tree. In the second image, you can see how callus tissue has formed at the outer edges of the wound and rolled over the wound inward. The wound hasn't healed, as you can see by the small spot in the center of the wound; it has only been covered, and the tissue (callus) is different than the bark outside the wound boundary. This type of 'plant healing' occurs on branches/ stems/ roots of all vascular plants, but not on the leaves.


    A thought about the idea that one can "love a plant to death". It doesn't make sense. There are only degrees of proper and improper care, and the degree to which care is proper or improper depends on the cultural conditions we provide plants under our care. Mother Nature programs our plants so they tolerate a varying range of conditions. The houseplants most commonly grown usually tolerate a wider range of conditions than those equally attractive but grown less often. Plants are happiest when all cultural conditions are in 'the sweet spot'/ optimum. As conditions become closer to the limits the plant is genetically programmed to tolerate, stress can occur. Stress in itself is not a serious problem unless it limits the plant from producing more energy than it takes to to keep its systems orderly. When the plant is producing more energy than it needs, it creates space to store the surplus food/ energy, which is why/ how plant's grow. When a plant is using more energy than it can produce, stress turns to strain, which IS a serious adversity compared to stress because it always leads to death of the organism unless corrected.

    In short, all this concern over stress and 'loving our plants to death' is much ado about nothing. Our job is to provide either the cultural conditions which allow our potted plants to realize as much of their genetic potential as possible or as we determine to be reasonable; and, the sooner we make those changes, the better is is for the plant. Waiting an arbitrary amount of time for our plants to 'settle down' or 'acclimate to their new home' is a bunch of faldara.

    Al

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