Wednesday, 6 June 2018

You know what they say: never throw a succulent away.

So back from the usual winter off-line, a bit later than usual this year. There are good reasons not least an amazing long holiday in Cuba. An actual holiday, not work, or a short break between busy times. That is for another post, as a belated report on winter damage is required.

The London winter was long, wet and with several longer cold spells.  The main succulent bed was relatively unscaved and is already looking good again.

The main damage was not here but in the new mixed bed where I was testing an agave x-nigra and an aloe polyphylla.  I choose a great year to test them and stupidly didn't cover them at all.  The nigra is gone, the centre aloe polyphylla rotted.

The photo above was taken in April, I have been pulling out any loose leaves, and removing any sign of rot.  As you can see bellow, it does not look pretty.

So as the this post title suggests there is a general rule that you never throw a succulent away. I have tried before a propagation method called coring: you cut the growth point out and this forces offsets from the centre.  It tends to be used to propagate rare or variegated plants. Looking at the aloe, the similarities were obvious.

The aloe was not the only plant damaged like this.  The large bowl of variegated agave filifera

The core of the medium sized plant also rotted, so as with the aloe, it was a case of removing rot, damaged leaves and taking the centre back to a clean state.

So a month later and there are already signs of several new plants growing from the core.

As these develop the other leaves will slowly be removed to provide more space. This agave tends to clump, so it will be left to get on with it.

But I know you don't really care about he agave, what about the aloe polyphylla?

There are definitely signs of new growth which is really interesting.  I was kicking myself for not protecting the plant in the forcast bad weather, so a clump of aloe polyphyllas would be a far better result than I deserve. 

So yet again, that basic rule proves to be true.  Never throw a sucuelnt away!


  1. Maybe it should be never throw a core-damaged variegated succulent away. I toss out plenty (A gazillion Agave lophanthas) or I'd be drowning in them.

    Someone came along and kicked out the center of an Aloe 'Moonglow'; the center produced five rosettes and I was able to root the kicked out center as well.

    Your main succulent bed looks marvelous!

    1. Yep good point. I am going to do a post on what plants are your weed succulents, as I am being over run with agave bracteosa.

      The method does seem to work on many succulents, even better if you get to keep the center.

      And thank you.

  2. Good to see you posting again. Having visited recently, the garden is looking great.

  3. Could be Aloe mite (Aceria aloinis) on the polyphylla. I lost mine that way.

    1. No, we don't tend to get hat in the UK, or at east it is VERY rare. Thankfully. This was just winter rot. The babies are growing at amazing rate.

  4. Welcome back! How did your Comptons fare over winter? Still trying to understand these in California weather.

    1. They did fine, all sailed through in an unheated greenhouse. It seems to be one where you have to figure out what it likes in your location. I can see it struggling in California.