Thursday, January 22, 2009

spending time with the aloes and their descendents

The last two weeks we have been potting up our aloe plants (equal parts of sand, vermiculite and compost). The aloes came as most plants arrive in my classroom ... donations or we borrow a piece when someone asks us to repot one of their plants, or we grow it from seed. The latter has not been the case of the aloes. So, when I decided to sell some aloes this week to folk around the school, I was curious to see how much a person who buys plants would pay (please don't hate me for my roomful of plants which came by way of seed or donation). A very non-exhaustive search found that I was in the wrong line of business. Artificial aloes get a much better price. I was amazed at how cheap the real plants were, but then thought about how they self propagate.

The aloe above is looking rather healthy. To keep all my aloes this green I need to rotate them away from the light stands to the sun, which I accomplish by placing them into our one south facing window (and they stay green as long as they are not touching the window on cold winter nights). As this page of info indicates, they do not like to be in subfreezing temps. The aloes below were my introduction to their diversity, a wonderful discovery.

My main concern for the aloes is over watering and plants in two of the pots showed some sign that we had over watered. Some rotted roots, some black areas on leaves, and that stress may be why they were the only aloes in the room that had scale insects. We scraped off the pests, then cut off the sad looking parts when we potted. We also did a test spraying to see if the insecticidal soap would damage the aloe. For now they are isolated from the rest of the healthy plants. As far as the healing powers of Aloe ... I am convinced and use the inner juices to touch up any time I burn myself in an unmindful moment.

I wish I would have a sunny place for one in my house, so I can buy one of my own plants


Martha said...

Here in northeast Oklahoma, we annually have 70 days with 90 and above temps. Aloe has to be moved into the shade here in the summer.

I lost my big aloe to an unexpected freeze one night.

Love that one on the bottom.

Gail said...

I loved that Wayne...wishing for a sunny spot in your house! The aloes are beautiful! gail

Anonymous said...

My grandmother always kept this natural burn remedy in her kitchen window when I was growing up.

tina said...

So, just how much did they sell for? I would think $3-$5. Maybe I am a bit low. I love aloe. My father in law gave me a start a few years ago. I lost that one so I got another one, now it is doing okay. They go under the house in the winter, come out in the spring and spend the summer outside-waiting by the pool to soothe sunburns.

Wayne Stratz said...

Martha--- not a very convincing reason to move to OK

Gail--- I tried to grow an aloe here and it looked more like a spider plant.

pg--- I might have to bring a small one home, not that I ever have an unmindful moment in which I burn myself.

Tina--- I sold them for $5.00... they all had leaves over 12" long. I saw several 8" aloes for the same price so I thought it would be a good deal.

Xan said...

Aha! The little plant my S in law gave me is an aloe! Now that I know what it is, the poor thing is doomed, as my aloes always die.

Wayne Stratz said...

Xan--- thanks for the visit. you leave me with mixed emotions... glad that I helped with the ID, sad that I have doomed the plants.