Sunday, September 5, 2010

Diminished Aloe

I should have paid closer attention.  The first sign was the tips at the center of some of the aloe rosettes started to darken and shrivel.  But new leaves emerged from underneath.  So my worry level subsided.

But leaves started drying up at the base, and more started decaying at the center.  Then a gentle tug would completely remove a cluster, exposing the rot underneath.

I needed to have taken action sooner, but instead I lost almost all of the rosettes on my Short Leaved Aloe (Aloe brevifolia).

Apparently, the soil was retaining water.  Perhaps the screen I had placed over the drainage hole had gotten plugged.  Perhaps the Aloe was not receiving enough sunshine to dry it out.  Perhaps the clay pot, which has thicker than normal sides, was insulating the plant so well that our recent heat wasn't drying it out.  But the most likely culprit was me watering the plant too much.

It was difficult to actually touch the soil to verify dryness as the thick, tight leaves of the plant filled the pot.  Though it was only lightly watered every 1-2 weeks, it was obviously more than it needed.

Fortunately I was able to find at least one stem that seemed to still be hardy.  Will need to let it dry some before I attempt to re-pot.  Hopefully, given time (and less water), it will return.

Planted in Pots:
Aloe arborescens 'Variegata': A "Gotta Get" find at the Austin Cactus & Succulent Show; will try to post some additional pictures of this beautiful specimen later.


  1. I have a fear of growing succulents for just that reason. I just know I'll over care for them! At some point I'm going to have to get over this because they are just so beautiful. The previous post with the three in your re-purposed pots are gorgeous!

  2. Oh I am so sorry, I feel your pain. This is exactly what happens when ever I try to plant a sexy succulent in the ground here. Even when I think I've managed to provide it good drainage. I'm sending you good wishes for the surviving plant to dry out and live on!

  3. Oh that has happened to me so many I have agave and aloe hidden all over the property so that I will forget about them...because I overwater them. Hopefully the little guy will survive...looks like you've done your best....I have a 50/50 success rate with the survivors...good luck:)

  4. Whimsical: Thanks; I like the candle pots - will have to see how the metal handles the heat.

    Danger & Rohrerbot: This is my first Aloe rot - so I've been reviewing everything I've been doing (though its the same as I have done in the past). As shade does "grow", I'm wondering if the aloes are getting less sun and thus retaining more water. But thanks for the survival wishes!