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Jan 9, 2017 12:15 AM CST
I have inherited a fairly large potted aloe vera plant and I have a few questions about it.
1) it is very top heavy and unless I prop it up it will flop over. When I examine the 'trunk' of the plant it appears that the older leaves have dropped off over the years and have left quite a long (5") and fairly skinny 'trunk' sticking out above the potting soil. (I mean that the bottom leaves of the plant sit about 5 inches above the soil line.) It is unsurprising that this skinny trunk cannot support this heavy plant. Can I do something about this? There is space in the pot for me to bury the trunk in more potting soil, but I don't know if that's a good plan or not- would it encourage rot?
2) The bottom most leaves of the plant are in a bad way, they are sort of mushy and at the place where the leaf meets the trunk the leaf has browned and shriveled. It looks to me as if the plant is killing those leaves off and is healing the wound and eventually these leaves will drop off. Is this normal aloe vera behaviour or is this something I should be concerned about? Should I remove these leaves, or shall I let it be to do it's thing.
Finally, it's the winter in Canada at the moment and it's kept inside. I imagine it's dormant at the moment so is it best to wait to take action?
Jan 9, 2017 9:49 AM CST
A picture would be most helpful if you could take one and post it here.
A few things come to mind up front...
1. Your plant may not be aloe vera but another aloe (there are 500+ species and they can be easily misidentified).
2. If it is Aloe vera then the stem at the bottom is fairly normal with advanced age. Do not bury the stem. Ideally you can wait until an offset pops up at the side of the mother plant (which is almost inevitable given enough time) and then eventually allow the baby to replace her. Otherwise do your best to stake the stemmy plant. In the garden these longish stems tend to grow sideways and the plant sort of sits up at the end with no problems.
3. The gradual loss of lower leaves is part of the aging process. If they are soft or visibly rotten then something else may be going on. Otherwise I'd just let them be. You can actually cause more harm by removing a half-dead leaf instead of letting it go dry first.
4. Given mild conditions (like room temperature for some or most of the day indoors) your plant will grow year round, if it gets good light and regular water. But be careful with the water if the plant is not getting a lot of light (which for practical purposes would be a position right by a sunny, unobstructed south-facing window this time of year). Try to water when the soil is going dry, which might take a couple of weeks depending on the size of the pot and the local conditions. I would wait until the spring to try any serious intervention, to be on the safe side.
Jan 9, 2017 10:37 AM CST
|Hello tanukib, I used to live in Canada, Winnipeg specifically, and had some of my succulents too. I don't water them very often during our winter time indoors, I keep them on the drier side. But I do keep my blinds/curtains open for them, at least that is one thing we had quite good then, lots of sun in winter, and thankfully our windows are big windows so lots of light coming in, unless there is a blizzard of course. Try to protect the plants from being too near the windows though, I remember my windows would ice up, as the baseboard heaters are right at the base of the windows.
I do not know if you have access to pumice, maybe add more pumice at the very base of the plant. That way the base and leaves are not sitting in soil if it is staying too wet. Just remove those mushy leaves if it is already such, twist it off if you can and dab some cinnamon and allow to dry and callus. Lower older leaves also naturally die out, a natural part of the plants growth. Then new leaves form at the center, or it may be directing its energy slowly to new pups at the base eventually.
Most succulents are happiest at temps in the 70F to 80F (21C to 26C) so they naturally slow down when the temps they prefer is not prevalent, so there is less watering required.
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