Bad Plant Mom Adventures
Someone's having babies!
No. Not me. My aloe plant. This is my climbing aloe, Ophelia. I named her that because I am terrible with plants, and much like the character in Hamlet, I knew she was probably going to die but I hoped she wouldn't. And a year later, here she is, having babies! Aloe plants are succulents, so they are used to growing in areas where drought is common. This means they don't seed or flower much- these actions require a lot of water and resources. Instead, they propagate, or clone themselves. In the photo you can see a "pup" or a baby, growing at the very top of the mother plant, off the initial stem.
When I first got Ophelia, I was told that she was supposed to start propagating, but nothing happened- I think it might have been a lack of maturity in the plant, or maybe she didn't have the correct soil. The first time I re-potted her last fall, I used regular plant soil. Then I re-potted her a couple months ago and bought some soil designed for succulents, and chopped her down a little after that, as she was getting tall and twisty from not enough sunlight.
Now she's having babies, and the mother plant seems to be struggling under the weight of all of them. The babies seem much plumper and healthier than the leaves of Ophelia. She was also starting to look a little awkward- you know how in the late stages of pregnancy there's a little bit of waddling involved? If Ophelia could walk, she would be waddling. So I cut off a bunch of the babies and researched how to propagate aloe plants. Almost all of the websites talked about how aloe pups shouldn't be removed until they had their own roots- which was weird, because climbing aloe pups don't form roots. After a little more digging, I found out that there are a ton of different types of aloe, and propagating climbing aloe is a little different. This is where I needed some luck. I cut off some of the babies and dug out tin cans to pot them in (since I have a bad habit of getting excited about things and spending a ton of money on them, I decided to make this new venture as cheap as possible).
Using a screwdriver and a wrench (I have bought at least 6 different hammers and can never find them when I need them) I poked some holes in the bottom of the can for drainage. Aloe plants do not like having their roots wet- I actually lost part of Ophelia when I went to Europe and had a neighbor watch her, as she got massively over-watered. The rest of her survived though! So now we provide lots of drainage.
I had a ton of succulent potting mix left over from the last time I re-potted Ophelia. I also stole some rocks from outside my apartment complex to ensure that there's extra drainage. And so that I didn't have to use quite so much of my potting mix, as it's the only thing I actually paid for in this entire process.
Filled up the cans with the rest of the potting mix.
And then plopped the babies in the soil.
It was at this point that I was starting to doubt myself- could it really be this easy? Do I really just walk away and let them do their thing? The internet said not to water them, so.... I guess I'm not going to water them.
Now I have five new pots with five new aloes that I am hoping will grow roots. Plants seem kind of magical to me. And like magic, I'm never quite sure of what the outcome will be. I'm supposed to water them in a week after they've had a chance to grow some roots, and if they have rooted, then I'll decorate the tins with some scrapbook paper and give them away as gifts. Maybe keep a couple if they stay cute, since Ophelia is looking a little scraggly these days (seriously, my plant is a better mother than I am).
I have also discussed being a bad plant mom in my Black and White Challenge Reflection Post if you'd like to hear about my other plant...issues.
Photos and words are property of Sunravelme