Ask a Question forum: Indoor Aloe and Coleus questions

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Name: Mana
Graubünden, Switzerland
AWeid
Sep 2, 2016 9:04 AM CST
Hello! I'm new around here, and in need of help. For the record, I'm one of those beginners who somehow manages to keep her plants alive, but doesn't really understand much beyond keeping them watered and in whatever light they need.

A month or so back my sister-in-law moved and gave me about a dozen of her houseplants. So far most are doing pretty well, but I have my concerns about an aloe vera and a coleus plant. My sis doesn't know much more than I do, so when I ask for her help I don't get much to work with.

The aloe came to me all jumbled up in a single pot, and because I'm not much of a green thumb, I figured this was normal/okay for whatever species it was. But I'm starting to have my doubts since some stalks are turning yellow. What do I need to do to make sure it stays healthy?

And after looking around on the internet, I think the other plant is a variety of coleus. Recently it's started to get rather droopy. I do know that my sis-in-law allowed the flowers to bloom without pinching them off, and after reading I gather that's not ideal? But yeah, it's getting droopy and unhappy and I'm not sure what to do.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I appreciate any help you can offer :}

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[Last edited by AWeid - Sep 2, 2016 9:08 AM (+)]
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Sep 2, 2016 9:26 AM CST
Welcome! AWeid.
I suspect you may be overwatering, certainly the Aloe. It likes a very dry environment.
The Coleus has gotten very leggy and I am inclined to say to cut it back pretty hard and let it grow new shoots.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 2, 2016 9:35 AM CST
AWeid said:allowed the flowers to bloom without pinching them off, and after reading I gather that's not ideal?


It's good to pinch off the flowers so the plant can put energy into making foliage instead of seeds.

It looks like maybe your Coleus was not getting enough light.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 2, 2016 9:43 AM CST
I'd also suggest you need to buy a little bit of soluble fertilizer and give at least the Coleus some food, dissolved at half the strength it says on the box. It's very pale and leggy and as greene said might benefit from being closer to the window.

Aloes like it hot and dry. Put it near the window and only water it about every 2 weeks. Oh, and make sure neither of them are getting cold a/c air blowing right on them.

If you'd let us know what part of the world you're living in, that would help us to help you. Fill in your profile with your location, would you please? Changing light conditions with the seasons, relative humidity and other stuff affects even indoor plants.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Mana
Graubünden, Switzerland
AWeid
Sep 2, 2016 10:27 AM CST
Thanks a ton for the advice and welcome, everyone! I really, really appreciate it.

I water just about all my plants whenever the top inch or so of soil dries out. Which is about once a week for the indoor ones. I'll definitely cut back on these two at least. Though I do have two other aloe plants - one inside, one outside - and both of which are doing great visually. Should I cut back on watering all of them (the aloes)?

I'll move the Coleus closer to the window.

And no worries about A/C. It doesn't stay hot here for long enough to really merit installing A/C units, so most Swiss don't have them (if you're wondering why I'm not on a Swiss gardening forum instead, it's because I'm an American expat).

I'll look into fertilizer for the Coleus. And I probably sound like such a newb, but what does 'leggy' mean? I assume it means it's growing out and 'upwards' too much and not filling out?
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 2, 2016 10:33 AM CST
Yep, plants often get leggy when they are struggling to reach sufficient lighting. In addition to the window you might add a lamp to supplement the lighting. I just use an old desk lamp especially in the winter months when the "real" sunlight is not very strong.

Here is my $2 thrift store desk lamp. Even with extra light my seedlings became leggy. Moving the light closer to the plants helped.
Thumb of 2016-09-02/greene/73c751

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Sep 2, 2016 10:37 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 2, 2016 10:49 AM CST
Mana, when we say "leggy" plants it means they have very long stems and not very many leaves. Your Coleus should have about 10 times as many leaves as it has. By the way, the Coleus can take a lot more water than the Aloe can. Mine here just happily survived a tropical storm, 3 days of rain, let's see, something like 40cm. of rain fell here yesterday alone. As long as they are growing well, and have good drainage they can handle lots of water.

So, the Aloes can dry right out because they are succulents and store water in their leaves, but the Coleus should never dry out. I'd water it a couple of times per week and even more often in warm weather.

Everyone is welcome at garden.org and we have members and contributors worldwide. We are not an "American" garden site as we used to be named "All things Plants" which I still maintain was a much more inviting name. We always home more Europeans will come and play with us. Gardeners are gardeners everywhere and we can all help each other.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 2, 2016 2:17 PM CST
On aloe's... I wouldn't do nothing different with your 2 orginal aloes if dar doing well.
The gnarrly one ! Maybe to much water ?
But he is mainly in bad need of being transplanted. Needs fresh soil. Same pot is ok. Soil 1:1 potting soil and washed sand or aquarium gravel. Put peice of window screen over hole in bottom of pot.
Get imagative with him ! I'd cut all thoughs babies off him. Put 1.2.or 3. In the fresh soil pot. Start da others somewhere .in or outdoors or give em away. ????
My indoor one gets water every 6 weeks. Bottom watered. My outside one (huge!)
20+yrs old. I only water him a couple gallons.a few times a summer. And its hot and dry hear all summer. He basically survives on winter rain. I probably dont need to water at all. I just feel sorry for him cause its so....; Im so hot. 😬.
Bottom watering is important esp. 4 catus an succulents. 20 minutes in water up to allmost top of pot.
If you need a lite 4 your leggy plant. Get a grow lite bulb. Welcome! I tip my hat to you.
😎😎😎

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