Saturday, April 7, 2012

Aloe Vera plant has baby!
Twice transplanted aloe
Last summer I bought the cheapest aloe plant I could find and it's been transplanted twice since then.  It stays outside and gets watered once a week or week and a half (or when it seems to begin to dry out).  It gets partial shade due to the screen cage that covers the pool area.    These plants do not like frost, so it gets brought in close to the house if we get a frost warning.  These are typically considered houseplants like so many others we've been talking about lately.  Many of the plants we talk about can and should be brought outside for the summer months.  It was not until I put my first aloe plant outside for the summer in Florida that I realized the more mature plants produce flowers that hummingbirds love.  My flowers were a pale yellow color.  During the colder months, you can bring it back inside if you have hard frosts.  The websites I checked told me this was a zone 10 - 11 plant again.  I've grown these plants for over 30 years as houseplants.  I never bothered to buy aloe vera cream.  It's easier to just reach for the plant and break a small piece off.  It heals itself quickly as all succulents do being 95% water.  There are couple of things to keep in mind when repotting your aloe vera.  First, choose a wider pot rather than a deeper pot.  These plants do not have a deep root system and as you can see in the photo above they spread out quite a bit and get quite heavy.  I've had more than one aloe plant get big and heavy enough to knock my pots over and had to transplant them for this reason.  Second, add a fair amount of perlite  to the soil and use clay pot instead of plastic to help with the moisture drainage.  Aloe plants can be propagated either by seed or by separating the baby plants from the mother plant after they are several inches tall.  
Cimbidium Orchid
Shin Shiang Diamond 'Sun Cattleya
Do you remember that freebie orchid I got?  Well, it's bloomed?  In fact, we have 2 flowers!  I've had cattleyas for a year and never ever gotten them to bloom and this little sweetheart is flowering!  I did a little research and the next thing to try is more light.  So, I've moved them all to a little brighter location.  We'll see if this helps.  The cimbidium orchid is just about open after dropping several buds instead opening.  Another one, I need to do some investigation on to see what I'm doing wrong with.  The phalanopsis orchids are soooo much easier.  You just keep them dry and out of the sun.  Feed them once a week and you're golden.  These other orchids get a little more complicated as move along.  

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