Growing Aloe Polyphylla in Hot Climates
I just received a small Aloe Polyphylla grown from seed at the UC Berkeley botanical gardens. I live near Sacramento where we get triple digit heat with nights barely below 70F. I've done as much research as I can on how to mitigate this. Has anyone had any luck growing in these conditions? Any tips on soil composition, fertilizer, water frequency, sun levels, and heat protection?
Below I have some information on what I'm doing and some pictures.
------My AP Stats
Pot: Double potted in two large terra cotta pots. There's a layer of sand in between the two pots.
Soil: 1/4 Garden Soil (Miracle Gro), 1/2 Sand, 1/4 Lava Rock 3/8". 2" of wood chip mulch on top.
Heat Protection: I've wrapped the bottom and sides of the outer pot in a few layers of foil. I also made a nifty donut cap of foil for extremely hot days. I've been taking temperatures on hot days and the middle of the soil stays at 75F and under, the soil towards the top of the pot gets to 82 on a triple digit day.
Water: My drainage feels inadequate. It takes 4-5 days for it to dry sufficiently. I'm afraid of rotting the poor guy. But I'm more afraid of uprooting it to supplement with more gravel\lava and harming the plant.
Fertilizer: Can I lightly fertilize like I do with my succulents? I typically fertilize once every other week with a 1/3 strength mix of 10-10-10 and ammonium sulfate (this is the source of nitrogen and acidity). I'm wondering if this will ruin the spiral shape or just help speed along the process.
Sun: It gets full morning sun with filtered (alternating 50% shade\sun) for the rest of the day.
Photo 1: Double pot setup
Photo 2: Full satellite foil wrap setting when it was 103