Saturday, 3 March 2012
It looked glorious all summer and then autumn arrived, and I suddenly wondered where on earth I was going to store it. It was too big for the house and the shed, the only option was to build a cold frame and hope it would cope with some harsh treatment. It did, flowering again next spring which confirmed that many aloes are tougher than we give them credit for. The next three years were all fine, flowers every spring and looking great all summer. Then we had the winter of 2010/11 and for the first time it was damaged. I had got so used to it getting through winters without problems, that i didn't think much of the damage as it seemed to be growing again.
Then last weekend I found this. All the lower leaves are dead and the plant is only being supported by the cold frame. It was one of those horrible moments when you reach towards the plant, hoping for the best but knowing perfect well what you are going to find. I felt under the leaves and sure enough the trunk was soft. Having been caught out once I couldn't leave it again and giving it a gentle tug, the top came away in my hand.
The trunk had obviously rooted last winter, but the surprise was the roots that had grown through the rot to allow the plant to keep going.
Sadly the rot would only continue if left unchecked, so I had to remove all the dead leaves and get back to health trunk. I had to remove a lot, but finally I got back to good health stem.
Not quite the large, dramatic plant it was a couple of summers back.
What is left has been placed on a wire rack while the base dries off. in a couple of weeks, if it warms up, I will place it in very light soil, on heat and leave it for another couple of week. Then i will start to water it, adding a bit more each week. If everything goes according to plan, it will be well rooted by the end of summer.
I hope it will forgive me for my shocking treatment. Hopefully this will be the last winter I have limited winter storage space and they will have less of a fight to stay alive from now on.