Saturday, June 03, 2006

If you want to kill an aloe do it with water, it is not easy to kill an aloe with drought.

The photo above left of Aloe Glauca, an aloe with a beautiful blue rosette, was taken close to two months before the photo on the right. There was a good rain shower two weeks after this photo (left) was taken. Then a month passed and the winter rain arrived with days of rain on and off. The photo above right was taken some 8-10 days after the winter rain began.
After the first shower nothing happened visibly but that rain shower and short interval is necessary for the roots to start swelling out and to get ready for the long wet periods that follow the winter rain.
In the few rare years where the winter rain started without a few preceding short showers we always lost some aloes due to rot. If an aloe is water sparingly but evenly all year round, it seldom rot. If the aloes have a long dry period, especially if the dry period is through a hot summer, watering should be started slowly.
On the photo above to the left of the aloe is Tylecodon. which sent out leaves at the first sign of rain and to the right of Aloe glauca in the background is Aloe ramosissima. It seemed quite all right when it was dry but now that it doubled in size it is obvious that it was shrivelled a lot.
Note on the drought photo how the aloe leaves fold over thus protecting the centre growing point of the rosette.

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