Aloe neglect. If these plants were children, they'd be wards of the State by now and deservedly so.
Let's view a few crime scene images.
The victims in question here are a young Aloe broomii, to the left, which has been knocked over in a too-small pot at some stage and stuffed back in halfway. This has caused it to send out a spiral of adventurous moisture-seeking roots which is a typical response to hardship by this tough species.
Please don't judge me.
Below centre is a bit of a different story- a young Aloe harlana which has just outgrown its pot, a great sign. I really like this (in NZ) difficult-to-source species and am looking forward to seeing it develop into a nice plant. There's a lot of healthy, normal root development going on here and that's an extremely gratifying development. To the far left is the same little harlana from underneath, showing the stone I'd used to constrict the big drainage hole in this pot completely engulfed by new roots. Ka pai!
> Soil: I use a proprietary cacti and succulent mix plus this large grade of pumice, usually a half and half mixture unless it's a small or delicate plant in a little pot and then I cut back the pumice.
I did the same thing for the broomii since it was chugging along nicely despite the rough treatment. It's a hardy plant and appreciates a good root run. If you're dealing with a damaged or more water-sensitive species, be conservative and choose a smaller pot than this so that you're not sitting any tender roots in a mass of damp, vacant soil too long. Certain death, my friends.
< I like to fill the pot til just below the root/leaf union, and then to top up around the base of the plant with pure pumice. It's a fraught area for many species, especially those low to the ground and in the habit of hanging on to the dead leaves beneath their rosettes. In a damp winter or overwatering situation it can become funky town in no time, harbouring a nice dose of basal rot.
< Same procedure as before. A shallow course on the bottom of the pot and careful filling all around the roots, then a good tap or shake of the pot to make sure the soil's worked all the way down and there's no gaps. > I broke off one of the small pups from the base. I'll let its stump dry for a week or two, then just push it into the upper layer of pumice where it will put out roots in a few weeks, forming a new plant.