Friday, September 28, 2012

Question for the Hive Mind: Aloe variegata

It got cold here (officially 35F / 2C in Iowa City) last Saturday (22 Sep), so I'm currently in the throes of trying to reintegrate the plants that got to summer outside into the plants that didn't. This is, of course, wreaking merry havoc on the collection, spreadsheets, husband, and myself: it's like solving a Sudoku while having to live inside it.

Slightly before this happened, though, one of the three Aloe variegatas I had outside went all weird on me, and I'm unsure about the reason why, so I thought I'd pitch it to y'all. That, and I didn't have anything else to write about today. (Enormous photo backlog. I'm working on it.)

The weirdness.

Alternate angle.

This only happened to one of the three plants, and only the Aloe variegatas. It happened before the freeze, though we'd been getting cold nights for a while prior to this. (The Aloes would have been left outside in the garage if it was going to be above 55F/13C at night, and brought inside otherwise. I believe I was pretty consistent about this.) Since coming inside, some of the bleached and shriveled areas have dehydrated, but it doesn't appear to have spread any. There are no signs of any pests that I'm familiar with.

My guess is cold damage, but since I've never actually seen this before, I'd appreciate it if someone could either confirm this or offer an alternate theory.


CelticRose said...

Looks like cold damage to me. It's common around here (Phoenix metro area) to see agaves and aloes with leaves looking like that after a cold snap.

Anonymous said...

For sure weather related. The damage was exacerbated by the ridiculously tiny clay pot. Protect the roots, protect the plant. Indoors, that pot may have sufficed. But when you put these guys outside for the summer, nestle the small pot inside a larger one and back fill with a light potting mix. This serves as insulation against heat,cold, drought and flood (rain).

Might I just add how much I admire you? Whenever I'm stuck at work, I think 'What would Mr.S do?' And then I scrap ('scrap' meaning 'toss in the dumpster' for those of you not in the industry) the poor plant, because, hard-hearted old bitch that I am, I lack your sweet and gentle nature. :)


Utsikt mot Lurfjellet said...

Have you checked really, really carefully, with a magnifying glass, for thrips? These little buggers (!) sometimes seem to have happy hour on some of my plants, to my great dismay! It might also be sunburn, but the damage on especially one of the leaves reminds me of something a gang of thrips might have caused...

Liza said...

Hmmm,I haven't seen damage like that before, but my gut says it's either sunburnt or cold weather damage. It just doesn't seem like a water issue. If the plant was thirsty, the leaves would react differently, the lower ones turning brown, then crunchy. It could be overwatering, but that seems unlikely in a hot Iowa summer. Pests seem unlikely as well, they don't attack like that. Interesting problem. My guess is that once the plant is indoors, and you've cut off the damaged parts, you'll have a healthy plant again.

Good luck, and keep us posted! Sorry I wasn't more helpful. Sometimes I see Sansevierias with that kind of damage, and it's from overwatering. But those are indoor plants, not ones who have been outside all summer.

Ivynettle said...

Nothing to say about the aloe, but:

": it's like solving a Sudoku while having to live inside it."
Best. Description. Ever.

I'm a little torn, on the one hand I want it to get cold so I can clean up the balcony, on the other hand, I dread having to fit everything back into the bedroom... and several plants are full of scale, which will mean spraying, spraying, spraying, making even more of a mess than just moving the plants inside already makes. Bah.