Don't know how I keep it ticking...

TT, zone 5b MAJuly 8, 2013

...but I do. Probably shouldn't say anything. Every winter it shrinks down pretty significantly no matter where I keep it. Garage...sunroom...south window...seems not to matter.

Then, spring rains come and poof!

This summer has been pretty hot, too. I have put it in an afternoon shady spot on those blistering days...we had 95 or better 5 days straight last week. Past summers I would bring it inside during heat waves, but I have decided not to baby it as much. Watering it regularly, too...

Anyway, makes me darn happy while it lasts!


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It looks very happy in that picture, Tom!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:35PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

For the brain dead less knowing people like me, especially, might you tell me the name of your magical plant? Thx


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:56AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Oops, sorry about that! It is the enigmatic... at least for me...Aloe polyphylla.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Hey Tom...Now today feels like the end of summer although refreshing!

That plants fills out that pot so nice. I love it:-)


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:07AM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

So Tom, during the winter months you severely decrease watering as with A. plicatilis and this is why it "Shrinks"? Just trying to understand the culture, but s you said, "Enigmatic".

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:39AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Thanks, Mike.

Enigmatic, as in I am not always sure what it wants from me. The first winter I had it, I kept it in an unheated garage and pretty dry. Had a decent amount of lower leaf senescence and bounced back somewhat during the following growing season, but not as vigorous as I had hoped. Last winter, I kept it in my sunroom with HID lights...where it also had a significant amount of lower leaf senescence. And, it kind of balled up a bit. There, I watered it more frequently.

I repotted it into a somewhat freer draining mix. Put it outside and, after a few of our soaking rains, it totally revived. It is probably smaller than it really should be in its third growing season with me, but it looks pretty happy right now.

So, along with my plicatilis, I water it pretty frequently. I keep it tilted in its pot surrounded by other plants that shade the pot...and move it into the shade (with my plic) when it really heats up.

This winter, not sure yet where it will spend its time...maybe I should send it on an all expense paid vacation to the Kingdom of Lesotho!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:23AM
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This is great because I feel exactly the same about mine. I've had it for about 4 years. The first year I almost killed it by leaving it in the black plastic pot which cooked the roots in the sun. I repotted it in a big clay pot and kept it in the shade for the next couple years. That was okay except that I didn't tilt the plant so it was a hassle to keep water out of the rosette. AND THEN!, it became infested with mealies. I couldn't tell until it was almost too late because they were all underneath. This time (about 14 months ago) I repotted it in a small plastic pot, cut one side out of the pot and tilted the plant, propped up in another pot. This has given my little friend a smooth recovery and I think we'll try another repot in the Fall. I'm going to duplicate this idea with a clay pot, hopefully get some size on it for once!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:28PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Ryan -

Yours looks good! Very interesting pot configuration - great idea.

It looks like it is a pretty good size. But, sheesh! Talk a about insult to injury...mealies to boot?

Post a pic when you have your new pot config going, please.


This post was edited by tom_termine on Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 19:12

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 7:10PM
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T - the reason it shrinks for you every winter is because the roots die back easily with this plant. Whenever I have repotted mine in the early spring, I notice that a significant amount of the root mass is dead. As the weather warms, new roots quickly grow and the plant perks up.

I believe that submerging the pot in the ground for as long as possible is the best way to maintain healthy roots. Storing it in a garage, cellar or sun room will inevitably lead to fluctuating temps in the root zone, which will lead to root death in vulnerable plants. Monocots especially are susceptible. WIth Palms, aloes, cycads and other monocots, when the root tip is damaged the entire root all the way to the base can die. With dicots, root damage just leads to branching further up.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:15PM
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TT, zone 5b MA


If I remember correctly, you bury the pot in full sun in the summer, and garage it in the winter on the dry side, correct? As a result, you are saying you get less root die off - attributable predominately to the buried pot? Don't you still get that temperature fluctuation in the root zone when you dig it up for storage?

I have not buried my pot during the growing season yet...mostly because I don't really trust any particular location (critters, mostly). Where do you site yours?


    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:00PM
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I do get root loss overwinter, roots are not nearly as resistant to temperature extremes as the above ground parts. I keep it buried as long as possible but still for those 2 months it's in the garage, the damage is done. Luckily new roots grow fast. But root loss also makes plants vulnerable to rot, so keep that in mind.

I am more and more convinced that the fluctuating root temps in pot grown plants does more harm than any other environmental variable. It weakens plants which leads to rot. It's not overwatering or cold temps as much as weak roots that lead to rot.

While submerged it is situated in full sun, on a tilt so water doesn't accumulate in the center. I have never seen any insect or other pest do damage.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 6:42PM
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