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Aloe help

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
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Jun 28, 2014
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Last year, I found this aloe "starfire".
I love the color of this plant, but it
Looks exactly the same as the day
I bought it. It hasnt grown at all. Anyone have
Any suggestions on how to finally get this one growing?

Humididty 40%
Light 15-18 hours daily
Temps 70-80
Watering like a cactus.

snouwg.jpg







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Is it getting night-time cooling? Succulents tend to grow best at HL Nep conditions 70-80*F days and 50*f nights, minus the humidity and heavy watering. Don't forget to fertilize it too, use bloom formula with low nitrogen levels (the "N" from NPK) because a lot of Nitrogen makes succulents leggy and weak.

Edit:
Now that I see a pic I think there's something wrong with your plant. The leaves should unfurl and not remain curled like that. Either it's not getting enough water to expand fully or it's got some sort of virus or pest, it should not look that way.
 
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NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
836
Location
Zone 5
Is it getting night-time cooling? Succulents tend to grow best at HL Nep conditions 70-80*F days and 50*f nights, minus the humidity and heavy watering. Don't forget to fertilize it too, use bloom formula with low nitrogen levels (the "N" from NPK) because a lot of Nitrogen makes succulents leggy and weak.

I grow these on my cacti shelf. THe house generally has a slight temp drop at night, (not sure if thats sufficient) and I will occasionally use "Grow more cactus juice" 1 7 6.
 
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Now that I see a pic I think there's something wrong with your plant. The leaves should unfurl and not remain curled like that. Either it's not getting enough water to expand fully or it's got some sort of virus or pest, it should not look that way.

It is possible it has root mealies. Try uprooting it and checking for white cottony puffs below the soil surface. At this point uprooting to check is not gonna set the plant back any.
 
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NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
836
Location
Zone 5
Now that I see a pic I think there's something wrong with your plant. The leaves should unfurl and not remain curled like that. Either it's not getting enough water to expand fully or it's got some sort of virus or pest, it should not look that way.

It is possible it has root mealies. Try uprooting it and checking for white cottony puffs below the soil surface. At this point uprooting to check is not gonna set the plant back any.

Thanks swords, ill try that. I have a creeping feeling that its also a water issue. I only water
My cacti about once or twice a month. Could the pot size also be a problem?
 
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I would say it's doubtful the problem is pot size but anything is possible.

I would not water my succulents more than one or twice a month, depending on temps and how fast the pot goes totally dry. Be sure you are using very pure water when watering succulents because if you use water with sodium or minerals in it and the roots dry out completely as they should, any minerals in it will crystallize over the roots and then the plant will not be able to absorb water from the roots, no matter how much you dump on it. And you can't cheat by keeping them moist because they will just melt down.

If you want to increase watering without risking over-watering at the roots and having the plant turn into a pile of green slime, mist it with distilled, R/O or rainwater. It will absorb what it needs from the leaves and the rest will safely evaporate. You can do that every day until it fills out. Be sure to do it in the beginning of the day so it has time to evaporate and doesn't sit wet all night.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
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I would say it's doubtful the problem is pot size but anything is possible.

I would not water my succulents more than one or twice a month, depending on temps and how fast the pot goes totally dry. Be sure you are using very pure water when watering succulents because if you use water with sodium or minerals in it and the roots dry out completely as they should, any minerals in it will crystallize over the roots and then the plant will not be able to absorb water from the roots, no matter how much you dump on it. And you can't cheat by keeping them moist because they will just melt down.

If you want to increase watering without risking over-watering at the roots and having the plant turn into a pile of green slime, mist it with distilled, R/O or rainwater. It will absorb what it needs from the leaves and the rest will safely evaporate. You can do that every day until it fills out. Be sure to do it in the beginning of the day so it has time to evaporate and doesn't sit wet all night.

Im definately going to try this to see if it will help. I heard that winter watering is a bit more
Edgy and should be taken with care because aloes undergo a slight dormancy. Is this true?
 
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Yes, all cacti & succulents have dormancies at some time of the year since they only come from temperate areas with seasons. In growth periods I would water every 2 weeks and once a month when they are in dormancy. Sometimes not at all on things like Conophytums until they break dormancy.

You'll need to find out which season Aloes are dormant in - find out where yours is from.

I grew African succulent species mostly (mesembs, aslepiads, stapeliads and andromischius). Some succulents are dormant in our summers and some are dormant in our winters. It depends where they are from.

African species are going into their growing season now (during our winters) and the American species should be in dormancy now.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
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Yes, all cacti & succulents have dormancies at some time of the year since they only come from temperate areas with seasons. In growth periods I would water every 2 weeks and once a month when they are in dormancy. Sometimes not at all on things like Conophytums until they break dormancy.

You'll need to find out which season Aloes are dormant in - find out where yours is from.

I grew African succulent species mostly (mesembs, aslepiads, stapeliads and andromischius). Some succulents are dormant in our summers and some are dormant in our winters. It depends where they are from.

African species are going into their growing season now (during our winters) and the American species should be in dormancy now.

I know that this plant is a complex hybrid, however parentage is not listed or even mentioned.
It seems there is only one site that details anything about this plant. Looks like the original
Breeders went off the grid years ago. Theyre saying that the origins are from Madagascar and it has a winter bloom time.
Thank you swords, great info and you may have saved my sad plant..
Guess its time to get gardening.
 
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Underwatering. Media too coarse. If there's no water, there's also no feeding. Nutrients need to dissolve in water before plants can absorb them. Aloes are generally pretty responsive to water and nutrients.

Sand/perlite/turface/gravel/potting soil is good.
 
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Your aloe is not taking up water because night temperatures are too high. Most succulents are CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism) plants. Simplified, this means that they shut down metabolically (and can't use water and nutrients effectively) if they don't cool down at night. I would recommend nights in the 50s like a highland Nepenthes.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
Joined
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Messages
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Your aloe is not taking up water because night temperatures are too high. Most succulents are CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism) plants. Simplified, this means that they shut down metabolically (and can't use water and nutrients effectively) if they don't cool down at night. I would recommend nights in the 50s like a highland Nepenthes.

Really? You and swords are the only people that have mentioned that. Every other article
Ive read just says that they tolerate low temps but dont need it.. Should I have this guy
Bunk with the highlanders at night?
 
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Your aloe is not taking up water because night temperatures are too high. Most succulents are CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism) plants. Simplified, this means that they shut down metabolically (and can't use water and nutrients effectively) if they don't cool down at night. I would recommend nights in the 50s like a highland Nepenthes.

CAM photosynthesis primarily involves gas exchange and the opening/closing of the stomata. If there is an impact upon hydration and nutrition, it's probably negligible. Generally, succulents will opportunistically uptake as much water as they can, whenever they can.

I have grown probably hundreds of CAM plants (succulent and non-) outdoors and in greenhouses in Georgia summers. Night temps often exceed 70F. Never had a problem with dehydration. Temp drops are good for CAM plants, but it doesn't have to be drastic. 10-15F night drops are sufficient. Succulents do not need highland conditions.

Generally, most aloes will handle light frosts. I have taken some down to mid-20s and usually lose them there. Cold tolerance in succulents is tied to a few things:
1) how dry they are, which in turn affects the amount of water in their cells
2) nutrient and carbohydrate concentrations in the cells, which act like antifreeze
3) wetness of the media, which if frozen can expand and crush roots
 

DragonsEye

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I do not quite agree with Kevin with regards to the media being too coarse. That should be quite doable (thought a bit finer would be okay as well). However, I fully agree with him with regards to yours needing watered more often. The coarser the media, the more frequently one typically needs to water -- particularly during hot, dry days.
 
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I do not quite agree with Kevin with regards to the media being too coarse. That should be quite doable (thought a bit finer would be okay as well). However, I fully agree with him with regards to yours needing watered more often. The coarser the media, the more frequently one typically needs to water -- particularly during hot, dry days.

You're right that coarse media is certainly acceptable if the plants are watered more. However, the reason I dislike extremely coarse media is that it doesn't hold very well onto nutrients. You end up not only having to fertilize more, but you waste a lot of the fertilizer, too. And additionally, as you mentioned, coarse media gives a significant threat of drought shock during a hot summer day.

Ultimately, up to individual preference. I prefer to only check on my stuff once or twice a week.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
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Given the other crisp looking leaves on neighboring plants, I was going to suggest underwatering. Are the white rocks top dressing or the potting medium?

Crisp? Its a cactus garden.
And I bought the plant like 2 years ago, feeling around it seems like
Its all potting medium
 
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Top of frame, red circle. And the others like it.


That's what I mean by crisp.

What kind of cactus is that?

Sharpchick is right. The Plectranthus has leaf drop from being dry, the aloe is dry, and the wavy cactus (a "Brain Cactus" or Stenocactus) is also quite flattened to the ground because it's lost some water.

This is a fantastic situation though! It means your stuff is healthy and not rotting. Underwatering is much better than overwatering. Very easy to adjust. Give em a few spritzes of water and they'll plump back up in no time.
 

NemJones

I Am the Terror Of the Night!
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Update: Yea sorry, things are a bit crispy now that you point it out. To date, Ive never killed a cactus by watering as you can see haha.
However, Im still trying to balance between overwatering and underwatering. That catnip plant is very crisp in some areas, very fluffy in others.

Ive been working on the aloe heavily, and the leaves are starting to finally uncurl.
Brain cactus and others will be my next work.
YTrOiux.jpg
 
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