This year showed that even the hardiest of aloes struggle with a bad UK winter. So I am always on the look out for aloes that may survive. A few years back I found a cross between the two hardy aloes; a. striatula and a. aristrata. This was it in August of 2009.
I heard that sadly it was not as hardy as either of its parents, but thought I would try anyway. The first winter it went in the cold frame and came through without any problems. Over the summer of 2010 it got very leggy and as the main plant could no longer support its self, I removed the offset for backup, allowing me to test the main plant a bit further.
Typically we had a terrible winter and almost all the plants suffered, so it was no surprise that the main plant did not look great having been left under a simple rain cover. This was it this morning:
At first glance things do not look good, but actually there are lots of little bits of good news when you look closely:
Yes there are one or two new pups, which given how often I get asked if I have a pup going, will please a lot of people. However it does need cleaning up and checking the main stem I found a bit of rot starting in the middle which had to be removed as soon as possible. Even without the top, the pups will grow quicker left where there are for a little while longer. So it was a simple case of cutting the top off and removing all the lower leaves and fnally checking there was no rot left.
I will leave the top part to stand for a few days to dry off and ensure there is no sign of rot. I don't really have many tips for growing succulents, but this is one I do use. When potting up top cuts do not water them. There is a temptation when potting up to water, but resist, leave the plant to settle in for a couple of weeks and then give a little water, increasing each time you water.
Sadly even though all the plants suffered this winter, I doubt this would survive our normal winters totally unprotected. Although on the plus side, it will come back strongly from the roots so at least you will have lots of plants to swap for something that may be winter hardy.