We all love the opportunity to acquire free plants, so when nature hands them to you on a platter it’s only right to make the most of them.
Here’s a succulent pup I came across lying forlorn on the decking back in the Summer. At that point it was just one leaf, probably knocked off it’s mother plant at some point. I popped it into it’s very own terracotta pot with a mix of multipurpose compost and horticultural grit for good drainage and held my breath!
In a very short space of time it has rooted well and is growing happily. I’m pretty sure it’s Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’ and am thrilled at the prospect of having another of these fabulous plants to add to my ever growing collection.
This gallery contains 3 photos.
Here’s another beautiful Aloe which I have yet to add to my collection. A. polyphylla is a stemless Aloe with an amazing spiral arrangement of leaves giving it its common name of Spiral Aloe. Spiral phyllotaxy is common in the … Continue reading
Aloe vera growing commercially
Aloe vera belongs in the Liliaceae family, is a well known succulent and probably best known for its medicinal properties but did you know that there are about 325 species in the genus ranging from perennial herbs to shrubs and trees?
They come from South Africa, Madagascar, Tropical Africa, Arabian Peninsular and the Cape Verde Islands. There is a huge diversity of form within the genus making Aloe spp. desirable as architectural garden plants in arid and semi-arid climates. Despite this diversity the cultivation of the majority of the Aloe species is surprisingly similar. They will tolerate depleted soils with low fertility and require high light levels.
I have two specimens namely Aloe ferox, Cape Aloe and Aloe striatula, Haw. Since I live in a temperate climate I will need to treat my Aloes as glasshouse plants, bringing them in before the frosts arrive. The ideal winter temperature for them is 7-10 degrees centigrade so an unheated room will be fine. When I brought them home from the nursery the first thing I did was to pot them on into terracotta pots using a mixture of John Innes No. 3 for mature plants and horticultural grit (at a ratio of 3:1). They need a mineral based growing media which is free draining. You can also add a small amount of organic matter such as moss peat or leafmould but not to the extent where its breakdown might slow down drainage which needs to be sharp.
This little beauty, under the right conditions can grow to 3m in height! Mine’s got a long way to go. It comes from Cape Province, South Africa, hence it’s common name, Cape Aloe.
Aloes should only need to be repotted every 3 to 4 years (in late winter or spring) so it’s important to plant them firmly and in the right media. During the summer when all risk of frost has passed they can go outdoors in a sunny position. Watering should be carried out when the potting medium is almost completely dry and only then should you drench the soil and then wait again for it to dry out. During winter the potting media should be kept dry but not arid so only minimal and infrequent watering is necessary. When the pot is full of roots a liquid feed can be given. Scale insects and mealybug are the two most likely pests you’ll encounter.
A. striatula is a shrub reaching 1.75m in height. It comes from Cape Province (South Africa) and also Lesotho.
So today the inner plantaholic got the better of me.
Whilst at the garden centre a few days ago I came across Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’ and mustering every ounce of willpower walked away empty handed with the memory of it burning brightly in my mind.
At the same time, I’ve been wanting to renew the planting in a large clay container which has been overlooked since we moved house. So, taking inspiration from a facebook fan page ‘The Succulent Perch’ I grabbed my purse and gave in. Here’s what I came home with :~
Crassula ‘Tresco Seaspray’
Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty
Here’s what I did next …
Base for the pot …
Turf removed and wood base slightly sunken and leveled.
Pot positioned and level checked.
Aeonium left in pot because it will need to come indoors for the winter. Top-dressing of pea gravel applied.
Just need to develop the planting around the pot next spring but a good start to a succulent focal point.