Those darn wannabe geophyte things

Joe Shaw
Sun, 16 Jul 2006 17:01:41 PDT
Hi Gang,

I purchased seeds of Aloe cooperi a few years back from Silverhill Seeds. 
The seeds germinated easily, and the plants have grow well, so well that I 
gave some away.

In the beginning, I was not sure what to expect, and kept the plants in a 
position that was not sunny enough.  I was sure they would die with the 
least provocation.

However, they did survive, and I potted them up to 2-gallon containers are 
year ago (or so).  I put in lots of scoria, perlite, and very coarse sand. 
The plants hardly blinked when temperatures dropped to 23 F for an hour or 
two in the past 2 winters (about -5 C).  They certainly did not lose their 
leaves; in fact they never lose their leaves, perhaps it is just not cold 
enough or dry enough here.  The leaves reach to about 24 inches in length, 
and may get a bit of tip damage in winter, but they don't die back.

This year the plants are tall, leaves over 24 inches, and the biggest plant 
has 4-5 leaf clumps; the scape reaches higher than the leaves.  They don't 
make seed unless I hand pollinate them; I think they are lacking the right 
bird or insect.  What keepers!  The flowers are not exactly super gorgeous, 
but growing aloes outdoors in Houston is not a usual occurance.

I have some more seedlings coming on (2 years behind), and some A. ecklonis 
and a few other things.  I don't know if fungicides are helping, but I have 
always provided myclobutanil for the outside aloes, the seed grown Aloes 
from Silverhill.  I use the Spectracide lawn granules/meal and put it over 
the top of the soil (they grow in pots), several times a year.  Maybe they 
would do OK without fungicide, I can't say.  However, from experience 
growing cacti here, I take no chances with plants from arid climates.



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