artemergencies
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Neophyte Gardener in Need of Aloe Advice

My neighbor gave me some aloe that she pulled from an over-crowded pot. I'd like to plant it in the ground. How do I prepare the soil for the best chance of success?

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Kisal
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Aloes are desert plants. The soil will need to be mostly sand and grit, with perhaps the addition of some very fine gravel. It should drain very rapidly.

If your starts were growing in full sun, and have roots of their own, then it's okay to plant them in full sun. If they were growing in partial sun or shade, or don't have roots yet, then I suggest that you first plant them in pots and keep them in a partially shaded area. As soon as they develop roots, you can slowly recondition them to living in full sun, before you plant them in the ground. It doesn't take them long to develop roots. Potting them to allow them to grow roots is not be necessary, of course, if you don't intend to plant them in full sun. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

artemergencies
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Thanks for Aloe help!

Thanks for the quick reply. They have really long roots. At least I assumed they were roots. They are thick-ish an about 7 inches long. Does the sand and grit soil apply to all succulents?[/i]

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Kisal
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Really only to desert succulents. There are also jungle succulents ... epiphytes ... that grow in coarse organic debris that has collected in various pockets and crannies of trees. The organic material drains very rapidly, however, just like the sand and grit in which desert succulents grow.

Succulents of all types, whether they grow in very arid regions or in jungles, store moisture in such places as their thick leathery leaves, their stems, and their roots. Because of this, they tend to develop rot and fungal infections if they are exposed to water for too long a time. They can take a lot of water at a time, like the drenching downpours in the deserts, but they can't tolerate it very often, and it has to drain away quickly.

Whether growing in a desert or the jungle, the hot air quickly evaporates excess moisture from the surfaces of the plants, and the rapidly draining substrate prevents the roots from remaining wet too long. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

GermanStar
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Aloe aren't too picky about soil, lots of sun, decent drainage, little to moderate water. Once they settle in, they may quickly get out of control by spreading runners profusely. Her overcrowded pot may become your over-crowded yard within just a couple years. :wink:
Last edited by GermanStar on Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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I've got a Aloe plan alsot. It isn't solid. It is wobling everywhere. Is this normal? I baught it a month ago at a greenhouse where I work.
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Kisal
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Sounds like it might be leggy and weak, from lack of sufficient light. JMO.
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Green Mantis
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When they get big like that and wobble, what can you do to stop that? Do you cut the plant back a bit?? Thanks, Something I have always wondered!

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Kisal
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If it's an aloe vera, you can reroot it. (Some of the other species are difficult, if not impossible, to get to root.) Cut the stem about 2 inches below the lowest leaves. You will notice a thin, papery skin. That must be removed from the stem, so the new roots can emerge. Allow the cut end to air dry, away from direct sunlight, for about 24 to 48 hours.

Select a clean pot that has good drainage holes, and fill it with a soil mix designed for cacti and succulents. Wet the soil well and allow all the excess water to drain away. Then make a hole, insert the stem of the aloe, and firm the soil around it. Rewater it a bit to settle the soil around the stem.

Depending on the size of the aloe, you might need to provide some support for it until there are sufficient new roots to anchor it in the soil. I usually just use a few smooth rocks, setting them around the base of the plant, so it doesn't fall over. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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