How to keep aloe tree in shape?
The leader in the healing properties of aloe vera is still inferior in popularity to the simple, almost invulnerable aloe tree. Even its popular name "agave" indicates that the plant can withstand almost any care and is very durable. But aloe tree is rarely seen in the list of the most decorative species is not accidental. To keep it in shape and not grow huge spiky giants, you need to know some secrets. Basically, it all comes down to a specific plant formation.
Aloe tree - not the most decorative of the genus
Aloe tree is hard not to recognize. It got its name for straight, strong, woody shoots on which oppositely narrow fleshy leaves are located. Their xiphoid shape is somewhat masked by an arcuate bend, meatiness, cartilaginous teeth with spikes. Leaves do not die until 4 years.
Flowering aloe tree at the end of winter in the room is a rarity. The reddish, drooping flowers in the tassels at the top of the shoots bloom only under ideal conditions and at a considerable age. But just the ideal conditions are that aloe tree-like in the room, as a rule, is unattainable.
Most often, aloe tree is grown without any control until it becomes a disheveled, neglected, strange giant. Then, propagating it, replace it with a young plant.
Without containment, the stems easily rise to a height of more than a meter, do not branch, creating the appearance of a neglected, unattractive savage. To prevent the loss of compactness is very simple. This does not even require effort, but only the desire to make care even more minimal, on the verge of negligence. In this case, measures must be taken to form.
Basic requirements of aloe tree
Requirements for the conditions of an aloe tree-like, able to survive almost any stress, are more than modest. Manipulating with care, you should still adhere to the minimum requirements for a plant:
- Any temperature is suitable for aloe, if only the indicators do not fall below 0. They grow well both in coolness and in heat. If you provide aloe vera with a cold wintering - from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius - the plant will completely stop growth and will not lose shape so rapidly in winter. But even without formation, this measure will extend the period of preservation by the plant of compactness.
- Aloe is photophilous. It needs to be kept only in the framework of diffused-sunny and sunny places, because even in partial shade the stems stretch faster and produce lateral shoots worse.
- Aloe tree must be rotated in relation to the light source. It develops unevenly and sloppy, only if its light dependence is not taken into account. Turn the pots every 2 weeks, clockwise, shifting 60 degrees.
- Heavy pots are needed even by compact aloe vera trees. After all, the plant weighs a lot due to the fleshy leaves and the thickness of the shoots, and the capacity should balance the ground parts. It is best to plant aloe tree in ceramic pots.
- Aloe tree usually does not get sick, but you need to monitor the purity of the plant by regularly rubbing the leaves from dust.
Aloe patience is worth experiencing more often.
Aloe is not accidental in ancient Arab countries was considered a symbol of patience. The enviable vitality, unpretentiousness and ability to withstand droughts in aloe trees are truly legendary. And these are its qualities, if you do not want aloe to grow rapidly and always remain in control, it is better to experience it.
Of course, there is no question of not caring for the plant at all or keeping it in extreme conditions. But some tricks in the care will reduce the growth rate and easier to form plants.
Begin by selecting a container: to contain the aerial part, you need to pick up a pot commensurate with the size of the roots, giving them a small space for growth. The maximum diameter of pots for adult aloe is 18 cm.
Soil for tree aloe in no case should be nutritious and “ordinary”: the poorer the soil, the slower the development of aloe. Even a substrate for succulents and cacti is not the best option.
To further reduce the fertility of a fairly moderate soil, add inert additives to the soil - from brick chips, expanded clay to perlite and vermiculite. And be sure to add a portion of charcoal. The drainage level for aloe tree should be at least 6 cm.
Watering aloe tree-like is minimal. Even in the summer, when the plant is actively growing, watering should remain moderate. But constant stress and prolonged drought in the summer can both restrain growth and lead to the loss of attractiveness of outlets.
Therefore, it is better to use another strategy - to allow the soil to dry out almost completely or completely, but not more than for a few days, and irrigate with a small amount of water. In winter, watering is very rare - once a month - or even refuse it.
In the first year after planting or transplanting aloe, it is better not to feed tree-like at all. Further limited to minimum procedures. It is enough to spend 2 or 3 top dressing in the summer with fertilizers for succulents and cacti.
Aloe transplant is not worth it every year. A soil change is carried out only when there is no other way out and the roots appear in large numbers from the drainage holes.
Formation is the key to aloe vera decorative
If you do not take additional measures for regular pruning and containment, aloe tree-like even with the recommended care measures in 3 years will grow to 1.5 m, not pleased with the view of the long, leafy bottom, gradually losing attractive shoots. And then there will be only one way out - rejuvenation or replacement.
Fortunately, pruning on aloe is a kind of harvest of medicinal leaves:
If you remove the most healing lower leaves, you can make room for the development of side shoots from the sinuses, which instead of boring "sticks" will form interesting bushes.
Aloe-tree with a covered bottom of the shoot looks like a kind of succulent "palm", and the development of new branches slows down the growth of the main ones. It is worth starting to remove the lower leaves and form the trunk as soon as the main shoot rises to a height close to optimal - from 15 to 30 cm.
With side outlets, you can do more dramatically - they should be “cleaned” already at the level of 5-10 cm. Of course, side shoots harm healing properties. But not enough to sacrifice the decorativeness of the plant and remove them immediately, as some reference books advise.
If the central or large lateral shoot begins to seem too massive, it can be safely cut to the first branch or removed completely, making it possible for the remaining branches to develop more freely.
In the form of a "group of palm trees" aloe tree can remain attractive for more than 10 years.
If the old aloe is out of shape
Launched, overgrown, disheveled aloe, which did not help to be compact in a timely manner, should not be given a second chance: plants that have already lost their shape are indeed easier to replace. Aloe tree is one of the easiest succulents to grow.
The main method of reproduction and the simplest option for restoring a bush damaged from a decorative point of view is cuttings. The tops of lateral straight or central shoots, not too old, with a branch diameter of about 1 cm, are cut in the plant.
The choice of thin young twigs is not the best solution, because in a tree-like aloe, the power of the initial shoot is surprisingly proportional to the strength, beauty and rate of tillering of a new plant.
Cuttings need to be cut according to general rules - with a sharp, clean blade, in one motion, peeling 5-6 cm of the lower part of the stem from the leaves and drying the cuttings from 1 to 2 weeks. The remaining leaves should not be injured.
Dried cuttings are planted immediately in individual containers: the pots are filled with soil, spilled slightly and the entire exposed part of the stem is immersed in a small hole, filling the cuttings with sand.
The lower leaves are used as a guide and support, reliably setting plants on them. But if the cuttings are asymmetric, you can install small supports.
It is better to root aloe cuttings under a hood, with regular ventilation. For rooting aloe, enough heat and scattered light. As soon as young leaves begin to grow, the plants are transferred to a permanent place.