Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Vacation from the Sun Room

A few days ago I moved some of the agaves taking almost permanent residence in the sun room out into the patio. I thought I better give them a break from being cooped up inside all the time and let it have a taste of fresh air and unfiltered sun.


Agave pedunculifera (?)
They've all done well actually from being taken indoors and staying in for months on end. Despite that I felt that they could do with a few days stint outdoors in the summer as I've also noticed that they were developing some 'permanently under glass' stress. Before things get worse I moved them out and this should do the trick and revitalise them.


Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'
Under glass they were starting to dry out faster than I could give them water. Usually they are fine with the little dribbles but frequent watering I give them but they do suck up more during the growing season. Drenching was needed but as you can imagine that's a tricky thing to do in an indoor situation.

Plus they were gathering dust, dirt, debris and they could do with a shower which will be possible and convenient to do if they are outside.


Agave weberi 'Arizona Star'
The most important reason though was that some of them were showing signs of scale infestation. I find succulents permanently under cover tend to be more prone to this pest. Outside I can treat and descale them before it even gets to full on infestation territory, and prime them back to a better condition, ready to be shifted back indoors later on.


Agave 'Cornelius'
Even the Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' in our kitchen is having time outside, but only for a couple of days
Since going outside I've been giving them lots of showers (by nature and me) and they are looking better for it. Not only do they look cleaner but their rootball will get thoroughly rehydrated too as I suspect they may have dried out a bit prior to their move outside. 


Looking much more butch but even more bendy - Agave attenuata
Another thing that I needed to do was to sort out the two Agave attenuata by the doors. They've done reasonably well too but instead of growing upright they continued to grow on an acute lean. I like the fact that they are growing and gaining trunk length But I would have preferred if they grew upright, or at least a bit more upright.


They looked silly billy leaning like this
So what do now...


It rained really hard today which gave them a good shower!
Be brave and do what needed to be done. I chopped them both and repotted them by burying some of the existing trunk. They should re root and hopefully this will set them off to grow upright.



I had to cut off some of the lower leaves in the process and they look a lot smaller now (for obvious reasons). I'm still not sure whether I like the way they look now, more likely because I miss them looking stockier with a long trunk but I'll get used to it.They'll look for the better eventually by giving them this treatment now.


Convention says that you have to let the cut part callus first before repotting  it but I just slashed and shoved it in fresh potting mix straight away. In Madeira they root Agave attenuata cuttings in buckets of water, not something you can do with other agaves. It's one of the agaves that are easy to re root and I've done this a few times, cut and shove into soil and they do just fine.

Touch wood, I hope these re root and re establish. If they don't and they rot and I'll let you all know and you can tell me off...

Mark :-)

30 comments :

  1. Love your Agave collection. they really do love a vacation out of doors. I've always been an impatient sort and not waited for succulents to callus before rooting. Most times they do just fine. Love the white tile and white pots

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    1. Thanks Deanne! I think if some succulents will receive favourable conditions while they re root the likelihood of them being fine down straight away after being cut is high.

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  2. Most houseplants do enjoy a summer vacation outside, a good shower and a nice root ball soaking! Your agaves will be invigorated and ready to beautify your indoor space again!

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    1. It's their prep for winter I suppose Peter :) the lower leaves were crinkling a bit, hoping the extra hydration will plump them up again .

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  3. Good luck with the attenuata. They are fairly forgiving. I envy your 'Arizona Star'!

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    1. Thanks Denise! It's a lovely agave :)

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  4. Funny Tamara and I were just talking about A. attenuata today and how crazy wild they grow in places like Hawaii and Santa Barbara, CA. I like the long twisty or bent trunks growing out in the landscape but can understand why you'd want them to be a little less rangy inside your home.

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    1. I quite like them being bendy too Loree, only thing is they were encroaching floor space. Hopefully they'll grow upright this time!

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  5. The cut and shove into the soil method sounds like an excellent way to get a plant to root. They'll be fine - you won't be getting told off by us! I love the way that indoor plants always look so happy in the summer garden. My problem is remembering to take them back indoors again. If only they would adapt to incorporate a temperature alarm to remind me.

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    1. Thanks Sarah :) it's probably not about forgetting but putting houseplants back in is a recognition that winter is looming, which most of would love to deny :))

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  6. Love the Agaves. Think they are some of the best exotic foliage plants and you have some really great ones.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They are Cher. Agave attenuata are one if my favourites!

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  7. What strikes me most about this post is how healthy the agaves all look, dry or not! (Since I don't grow them I don't have much to compare to though...)

    The best thing about this post: take the first photo and caption it "our garden in 2014", then take the second-to-last photo and caption it "our garden in 2054" -- it looks like the future! Very 2001 (the movie, not the year) and that's meant to be a compliment. :)

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    1. Thank you Alan! Really pleased on the way you described the internal shots. I liked that film and compliment well taken :)

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  8. Great post! Good idea chopping those Agave! All plants love you so they will do fine!

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  9. I'll be interested to hear how the Agave attenuata so after their adjustments. Those I have planted in my side yard all lean out as well.

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    1. We hope they do fine and re root quickly Kris. Them leaning out wouldn't have been an issue had if they sent off shoots as well to fill up the top part instead on a head of foliage at the tip of a leaning trunk.

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  10. For indoor Agaves those look really, really good. You are growing them very well. (As they deserve!)

    The pedunculifera looks like a hybrid, like it has something else in the mix besides pedunculifera. There seem to be more than a few Agaves in the UK and Europe that are a little different than anything we see here.

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    1. That's is very possible Gail and won't be surprised if that was the case. With a lot of agave enthusiasts here perhaps unique hybrids and variations have made its way in the succulent circuit here.

      I'm really pleased they've done well. They were on the cusp of showing distress but I think their stay outside for awhile will rejuvenate them nicely.

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  11. Your Agave attenuata look much better now, but I can imagine the courage it took to give them such drastic treatment! You have a wonderful collection of succulents. They will enjoy their visit outdoors.

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  12. That's a bold move, Mark, but I bet it works well. I doubt you'd do anything to your plants that they couldn't cope with. ;) The tips you pick up on your travels have served you well! I've moved my lemon tree outside this summer; it had been indoors (on the stairwell outside my flat which is like a greenhouse) for months but got sticky whitefly all over the leaves, probably due to having 'indoor stress' and the leaves were showing signs of interveinal chlorosis; after feeding and more than a few showers, it's looking much better now. The rain and fresh air are benefitting all our plants!

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    1. Thanks Caro! It's amazing how well some indoor plants respond to a few days or weeks vacation outdoors. Glad to hear you lemon is on to recovery now :)

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  13. I laughed so hard at the photo of both attenuata leaning so hard. You're so brave (and smart) to whack them back.

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    1. They did look silly leaning hard like that indoors Heather, it was like my only option was to cut and stick them upright so I can keep them where they are :)

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  14. OK, I've got to get an Agave pedunculifera just so I can learn how to pronounce it!

    Great collection. I'm particularly partial to Agave weberi 'Arizona Star', which I have been eyeing myself for a large pot in our backyard.

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    1. It'll be a fine choice I can imagine Gerhard, for that large pot in your backyard. And it'll have the space to sprawl away a bit and look even more attractive :)

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  15. Your plants are pulsing with health as usual. Our miniature orange tree always gets a vacation in the garden. It's amazing how it perks up, within hours it seems. It also has scale insect - what do you use to get rid of scale? I've picked them off with a pin in the past, but it's a long, tedious job.

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  16. Nice Agave collection !!
    I am not sure your A. attenuata will grow vertically for long time ...I think attenuatas grow naturaly on cliffs, that why they always want to grow more or less horizontaly in greenhouses (like in my little one !) resulting difficulte to deal with the lack of space ...it would be interesting to hear from them some day in a new post.
    Sincerely
    From 2 boys gardening tropical way west of the Francophone Belgium

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