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Why Does Aloe Vera Smell Like Onions – The #1 Reason

Aloe vera is a very common cactus-like plant that is available in almost every part of the world. People have used aloe vera for thousands of years for its wide variety of benefits. Studies have shown that aloe vera is effective in treating various skin diseases.

People who use aloe vera in their daily life routines might notice some weird smell coming from their aloe vera plant. Since most people think that this smell resembles that of an onion, they might wonder why does aloe vera smell like onions?

This article focuses on what a healthy aloe vera plant should smell like and is there something to be worried about if you are also going through the dilemma of why does aloe vera smell like onions.

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Aloe Vera – via Wikimedia

The Smell Test

Aloe vera has evolved to survive in inhabitable conditions. This is the reason why such plants are used to bad care routines. To determine whether an aloe vera plant is smelling bad or not, you just have to look if its natural scent is offensive to your nostrils or not.

One of the common ways to check if an aloe vera plant is being taken care of is by smelling it and checking what it smells like.

Does Aloe Vera Smell Good?

Most people want those flowers in their garden which smell pleasant. If you want to plant aloe vera because of its fragrance, then you might be mistaken.

You will only like the smell of an aloe vera plant if you are okay with the smell of an onion. Although an aloe vera plant is not supposed to smell good, still it should not give off a strong pungent odor.

However, the odor of aloe vera should not be strong enough if the plant is not in any kind of distress.

What Should Aloe Vera Smell Like?

Aloe vera belongs to the plant family Amaryllidaceae. Onions, chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic belongs to the same family. A common property of all the plants that belong to the Amaryllidaceae family is the onion-like scent. This onion-like scent is most evident when its latex is harvested by cutting its leaves. 

What Does Bad Aloe Vera Smell Like?

It is a harsh reality that an aloe vera plant is not supposed to smell good. However, it still should not give off a strong pungent odor. If your aloe vera is smelling bad, you should know that something is wrong with the plant.

An aloe vera plant that has gone bad smells like strong garlic. It might be in a product that contains aloe vera that has gone bad or the aloe vera plant is experiencing stress conditions. You should start looking for the reason to ensure your aloe vera plant is thriving.

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Aloe Vera Plants – via Flickr

Why Does Aloe Vera Smell Like Onions?

Here are some different reasons which can be the cause of your aloe vera plant smelling bad:

Root Rot

A plant might be experiencing some serious rot issues if it is smelling bad. A very common cause for an aloe vera plant to smell like onions is root rot. Root rot is a serious problem if it is left untreated.

It starts affecting the plants from the roots and then spreads upwards, leaving the aloe gel to become mushy and giving off a strong bad odor. Rot root needs to be identified quickly as it can destroy the aloe vera plant in no time.

A very major cause of root rot is overwatering. Aloe vera is a succulent plant species that grow in hot and dry climates. They need little or no water except rainwater. They don’t prefer being watered like other normal plants.

Since aloe vera plants are habitual to growing in water-scarce environments, they only need to be watered once every three weeks. If you are watering your plant more than that, there is a chance that your aloe vera plant is likely to develop this problem.

Another common symptom that plant shows while developing root rot is the yellowing or browning of the plant stems or leaves. If no change in color is observed, then it is advised that one should remove the plant from the pot to look for the state of its roots.

Different Types Of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plant has many different types which look very similar to each other. A type of aloe vera plant known as Aloe Vera Chinensis is known to produce a bad rotten smell in its normal conditions.

So if you have bought this plant mistakenly due to its similarity, there is a chance that it might stink in its normal conditions. There is nothing to worry about.

Cutting The Leaves While Harvesting

The bad smell might come from your plant if you try to cut its leaves while harvesting. Cutting your leaves from the middle instead of harvesting the whole leaves release a yellow sap from the site. This yellow-colored sap can be the reason for that stinky smell around that plant.

Damaged Leaf

The stinky smell coming out of your aloe vera plant might be due to any damaged leaf present on the plant. The leaf may be damaged while harvesting or repotting which is likely to give a bad odor.

The only way to confirm this is by looking at your plant thoroughly. If you can not find any damaged leaf, the smell would be the reason for any other cause.

Bacterial Or Fungal Infection

When an aloe vera plant is attacked by any bacterial or fungal infection, it might cause your plant to stink. The microorganisms start feeding on the leaves which results in the extraction of aloe vera pulp. This causes the plant to smell bad.


The onion-like smell coming from your aloe vera plant can be caused by any of the above-mentioned reasons. This article explains in detail why does aloe vera smell like onions?

Depending upon the type of aloe vera plant, it can be a completely normal or, on the other hand, a life-threatening situation for your plant, so act accordingly!