A simple plain plant with fleshy, long, prickly leaves on a crooked trunk was probably found by every Soviet grandmother in the house. Later, this flower, which everyone knows as an agave, was considered a relic, so they tried to get rid of it. But in vain! After all, the agave, with all its unpretentiousness, still acts as a home doctor. But in order for the flower to be able to help, it needs to be properly grown and learn how to cut only the necessary leaf plates. Therefore, today we’ll talk about how to care for the agave and what this plant is like.
Aloe arborescens (Aloe treelike) is the scientific name for the agave. The plant belongs to the Asphodel family. His homeland is the hot African countries: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Somalia, Ethiopia. Here, aloe looks like a tree, growing up to 3-5 m in height. Being a plant capable of retaining water well in its leaves, aloe feels comfortable in deserts and semi-deserts, on rocky soils.
In addition to tree species, shrubby, herbaceous aloe are found in the natural environment. They also grow in the form of vines. In addition to Africa, the plant spread to Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula, the American continents. Aloe has taken root in the southern regions of Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia. As a cultivated plant, aloe trees are grown in many places of growth. The reason is in beneficial properties. Traditional medicine has long recognized them, so the agave is grown on an industrial scale and used for medical purposes and in cosmetology.
In the conditions of home breeding, this is a low tree up to 1 m in height, it can cluster. The plant has a branched root with a gray-orange color. The higher the plant, the harder it is to keep its trunk in a straight position, since the leaves of the agave are very fleshy, juicy, reach 20-30 cm in length, give a lot of side shoots. Leaf plates have sharp spikes along the edge, an elongated stem-embracing shape with a gel-like substance inside. The color of the leaves is from greenish-bluish to dark green, they are covered with a waxy coating. In the absence of water, aloe is able to save it by closing its own pores in leaf plates.
In Arabic, alloeh translates as "brilliant and bitter." Anyone who at least once tried juice or tincture with aloe could be convinced of this. To the question why the plant received the unofficial name of “agave”, there is an answer: the whole point is in the belief that succulent blossoms supposedly once every 100 years.
In fact, the flowering and fruiting of the agave occurs every year or every year, but only with careful care.
Agave throws a whisk or brush, the inflorescences have the color of orange or sun, coral, and sometimes white. Peduncle height is 20-40 cm, with a simple tubular perianth. Dropping bells are attached to thin pedicels. After flowering, the fruit remains in the form of a trihedral box with numerous grayish-black seeds. At home, the flower can live up to 20 years, while not only providing household members with useful juice and pulp, but also reducing the number of bacteria in the house.
What is the correct name for a flower - aloe or agave? The answer is simple: the agave is one of the multivariate species of aloe. It's just that in the house a frequent guest is another popular species - aloe vera (real aloe). This plant has practically no trunk, and its leaves are directed upwards. In all other respects, the difference is insignificant: more fleshy leaves have aloe vera, and the true aloe overtakes the agave in its healing properties.
Unfortunately, on some sites and forums you can find information that aloe vera (present) and agave are the same Mexican species. This is not so: agave belongs to the Asparagus family, the genus Agave, aloe belongs to the Asphodel family, the genus Aloe. Therefore, these are different plants with similar properties. Aloe vera is widely used in cosmetology and medicine. There are still not many domestic species that do not have pronounced medicinal properties, but are much brighter in appearance.
- Aloe motley is a plant with a tiger color and a very short stem.
- Descoingsey is one of the smallest species.
- Spinous - stemless plant with white spikes on the surface of the leaf.
- Rauha - light spotted leaves from the bright sun turn red-brown.
- Hedgehog - got spines along the edge of the sheet. With age, they become almost black.
- Juvenile is a mini aloe with triangular leaves.
- Squat - a highly branching plant with vertical, prickly leaves at the edges.
- Folded - a powerful aloe with a cloven trunk, which in nature reaches 5 meters in height.
The centenar cannot be called a beautiful flower: spread out, with thorns along the edge of the leaf. To plant aloe, you need to take care not only of a place for a flower, but also of a pot and earth mixture. It is believed that the best flower pot is ceramic, breathable. It should not be too large, otherwise the plant will be engaged in the cultivation of roots, not greens. You can plant the agave in a ready-made mixture for succulents with the addition of crushed charcoal and pebbles. The mixture can be prepared independently: use 1 part of leafy soil, 2 parts of turf, 1 part of sand and 1 part of humus. It is worth adding charcoal and small minerals, but peat is not worth it.
Sometimes, intentionally or accidentally, the plant loses its tip or lateral shoot. If desired, such a piece without roots can also be planted. To do this, it is cooled for several hours (or days) on the lower shelf in the refrigerator, thus slowing down the vegetative processes and allowing the place of breakage (cut) to dry. In the prepared moistened soil, the stem is deepened with a pair of leaves 1-2 cm into the ground. To root the stem faster, it is covered with a glass or polyethylene cap to maintain a constant temperature and humidity. Every day, the flower is ventilated and moisturized.
The cap is removed when the plant has started to grow and new leaves have appeared.
To grow a medicinal plant at home, you need to know the rules of care, which include: watering, top dressing, maintaining the required temperature, lighting.
- Watering aloe vera properly does not flood it. The desert plant is watered not more than once a week in summer, and even less often in winter. Since there are much more roots than earth in the pot, the water rushes directly into the sump during surface irrigation. Therefore, many recommend pouring water there, thin roots are able to absorb moisture through drainage holes. After 30 minutes, the remaining liquid is poured. Water should be at a temperature of 20-25 degrees. Aloe need to be sprayed in the evening when the sun's rays do not fall on the leaves. Occasionally give him a shower to wash off dust from wide leaves.
- Lighting: the agave needs light , without it the leaves will become soft, turn pale and stretch. The flower feels comfortable on the windowsills of the sunny side of the house. In summer, the plant is often taken outside and even transplanted into the ground during the warm season. Although not everyone approves of this method, because if rainwater gets in, the leaves may get burned.
- Temperature: in the summer, the temperature is considered to be the optimum temperature of 18-25 degrees, which is why they try to take it outside, because in many houses these indicators are much higher. In winter, 10-14 degrees are enough.
- During the cultivation of the agave, it is regularly fed. But they do it from spring to autumn once a month. For this, poorly diluted mineral complexes for succulents are used. In winter, flowers do not feed, otherwise they will stretch.
Important! Anyone who grows a plant for the sake of juice and pulp should know that the healing properties appear in the lower leaves only 3-4 years after planting.
If the plant was bought in a peat pot, then it is recommended to leave it in this form for two weeks so that the flower can adapt to the new growing conditions. If the pot of another material is filled with a nutrient substrate, then it will suit the plant throughout the year. Young aloe is recommended to be replanted once a year in late spring. At the age of 2-5 years - once every 2 years, the formed flowers - once every 3 years. It is important not to overdo it with humus - succulents do not need too fertile soil.
To transplant a flower, a 5-centimeter layer of drainage in the form of pebbles, crushed brick, expanded clay is necessarily laid out on the bottom. Soil is used for succulents or cacti. In the case of self-production of soil mixtures, 4 parts of universal soil and 1 part of coarse river sand are taken.
Next, perform the following steps.
- The substrate is watered with warm, settled water.
- They make a hole in it. Pour some sand into it.
- Insert a seedling, gently deepening the roots. Sprinkled with earth mixture.
- If the plant is large, it is best to immediately tie it to a support.
- It is advisable to cover the flower with a polyethylene cap, leaving a ventilation hole above the ground.
- Put the plant on a sunny kitchen windowsill.
- Remove the cap after the appearance of young leaves (after 2-3 weeks).
An adult plant is carefully shed with water the day before the transplant. When transplanting the pot overturned. An earthen lump is removed from the old pot and transplanted into a new one on the drainage layer. The distance between the earthen lump and the walls of the pot is covered with an earthen mixture. With any type of transplant, the appearance of young leaves suggests that the plant has taken root and has grown.
Before rooting, it is very important to water the flower sparingly; seedlings do not like excess moisture.
Agave is not very difficult to propagate. There are several ways, simple or more complex - you can choose depending on the desire and experience with plants. Aloe tree propagates:
- by seeds;
- lateral processes;
- young shoots (children).
The longest way. They begin to plant seeds in late February - early March at an ambient temperature of + 21 degrees. For sowing using a flat low container with a substrate for aloe. The soil is evenly watered, seeds are laid out on the surface and sprinkled with sand 1 cm thick. Before emergence, the container is covered with polyethylene. Without opening the film, a greenhouse effect is created under it, so the earth does not require watering.
Shoots should appear after about 3-4 weeks, they are regularly sprayed with water. After regrowth of 3-4 real leaflets, seedlings should be planted in 5-cm cups. In summer, plants can be grown in a street greenhouse, making sure that seedlings do not receive a sunburn.
As you grow, you need to monitor the size of the pot: if the flower grows slowly, then transplant it in a year or earlier.
Reproduction is carried out on the same principle as planting with the top of the plant. The sheet is cut from the trunk, sprinkled with crushed activated carbon to disinfect the cut line and left for several days on a napkin in a shaded place to dry. After 4-5 days, the leaf is planted in the ground. The bottom of the pot must be covered with drainage. The substrate is prepared typical for aloe. The sheet is stuck in moist soil to a depth of 5 cm at an angle of about 30º and covered with a cap (polyethylene, jar). Rooting should occur in about 3 weeks, during which time the plant is regularly ventilated and watered several times.
The cap is removed after aloe gives young shoots.
Of the lateral process, a new plant is most often grown. The reason is that the side shoots are constantly growing, they need to be removed in a timely manner, and also because it is a simple and quick way to get a new plant. A shoot of 7-8 leaves is cut from an adult flower and dried for 4-5 days. The principle of landing is the same as the apical. But the leaves should not get into the ground, otherwise the children will sprout from them, which will thicken the plant. Or the lower leaves need to be cut and bare the trunk to the depth of planting.
Or sprinkle the soil with small pebbles and put leaves on them. Rooting time is about a month.
Kids (root shoots)
For seedlings, you can use children, on which there are 3-4 leaves. They are sedimented from an adult plant with a sharp knife, so that the children separate with the roots. Prepared drainage and soil are watered and wait 30 minutes until excess water drains into the sump. The shoot is planted to a depth of 1 cm. The first decade is watered a little every day.
After about a month, new leaflets should appear, which means that the seedling has taken root.
A flower can meet three serious problems:
- insects are pests;
- fungal diseases;
- careless handling of the plant.
Aloe pests include spider mites, thrips, scutellum or pseudoscutum, mealybug. In all cases, it is important not to start the plant at the first sign of atypical spots, cobwebs, wilting plants. Pests are controlled by insecticides. For prevention, the leaves of the plant are wiped with an alcohol towel, once a month they are bathed in the shower. But when the first signs of any disease appear, the flower needs to be quarantined: set aside as far as possible from the rest of the plants.
With a severe defeat from the flower, healthy parts are removed and transplanted into new land using a new pot. But the agave is not such a rare flower to take risks and cut off part of it for reproduction. It’s better to get rid of the diseased plant altogether. The most common fungal diseases are dry rot, in which the trunk blackens, leaves lose turgor, and dry. But the disease begins with drying out of the roots, therefore, with the manifestation of external signs, the flower is already deeply affected.
With root rot, the leaves become smaller, the tips turn yellow first, and then the whole leaf. Gradually, the trunk of the plant rots and falls. You can save the top and grow a new flower from it. But it should be remembered that in the pot where the flower grew, there is a mycelium: experts advise throwing this container away. Or you can try scalding the pot several times with boiling water.
The cause of root rot is the overflow of the plant. From the same leaves may turn yellow. Leaves curl from lack of moisture and general care: wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, feed the plant. The tips of the leaves begin to turn yellow and dry, if the plant is crowded in a pot, it has not been transplanted for a long time. Also, flower growers may encounter the following problems when caring for a century:
- the plant stretched out, turned pale, the leaves fade - it lacks light;
- the flower grows poorly, the leaves are soft - the soil composition is incorrectly selected;
- when using a juice extract, the expected medicinal properties are not observed - a young leaf is selected that has not yet reached a length of 15 cm and does not possess these properties, you need to cut the leaves no earlier than three years of age in winter or spring, when the number of active components in the leaf plate is maximum.
How to transplant Agave, see the video below.