Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shhh…my aloe is sleeping

Yes, it’s a slow news day. Except for one tidbit. Before today I had no idea succulents could become so exhausted by day-to-day living. The drag of photosynthesizing and being watered on a weekly schedule was too much for my poor aloe who abruptly decided it was nap time.

aloe sleeping, jade plants jealous

Now being a person who generally has difficulty falling asleep, I admire those who are able to go from fully conscious to deep, dreamless sleep at the drop of a hat. Unless that person is driving, in which case my admiration turns to naked fear. My late grandfather once very nearly drove my brother and sister and I into a river in Canada because he quick-started a nap during the drive from Oregon to Alaska. (I saved the day with my lightning-quick thinking in the form of a piercing shriek.)

This talent of near instant sleep is not only possessed by grandfathers. My early morning carpool consists of 6 children, 1 trombone, 3 ukuleles, 1 viola, 1 clarinet, and 1 unkempt grown female. Guess which is me? Hint: not the trombone. One of the boys can be asleep by the time I turn off the interior car light, put the car in motion, and pull out into the main road. And he even snores.

Apparently, my humdrum houseplant took a page from grandpa’s book. Granted, it had put on a lot of growth in the last year. (Something about repotting after 6 years in a Smurf-sized pot.) In fact, it was getting a little out of hand with pups sprouting all over the surface. Other than that, obedient and quiet. Then, timber! Rock mulch and soil everywhere. A poor bystander in the form of a variegated jade plant was even beheaded on the way down.

I noticed a problem as I was fumbling around trying to set it aright without busting off the chunky top portion. The scrawny stake used as a prop was both too short and too sharp for the task. It had pierced the aloe in several places which were oozing and said ooze caused the stake to slip.

I tried to lean the plant against the wall. No dice. So back down to the floor it goes until I figure out how to support a wide, tall, top-heavy plant. The stalk (trunk?) of the aloe is not strong enough to go without support. But something about a tomato cage in the living room says tacky. Am I right?

My 7 year old noticed the plant and asked,”What happened, mommy?” Never one to miss an opportunity to fib to my children I answered, “The plant is sleeping. It’s really tired right now.” The kid didn’t bat an eye. Quiet, everyone, the plants are snoozing.

Update: I used the tomato cage idea. The aloe is still alive but missing a few leaves and nursing a nasty grudge.


Ideas for waking up an aloe? Do you think it was sleep-deprivation or crutch rejection?


Sue Garrett said...

Did you use the sap to soothe you at this upsetting time i.e. finding a decapitated innocent bystander?

biobabbler said...

You are completely cracking me up. I love this. Great way to interpret plant behavior. =) I may have to borrow that.

Becky said...

In my experience aloes always reach a tipping point. How they can get so big with so little dirt and just water is curious. Looking at your sleeping aloe I have to wonder ahem... how it stayed up as long as it did!

Christine B. said...

What a splendid idea! Will aloe sap also heal the furrow developing on my forehead from looking at the mess, I wonder?


Christine B. said...

Well, I always say you can laugh or cry about things. I may cry if I forget the plant is laying there some dark night and step on it...ouch!


Christine B. said...

But once they've tipped, then what? I suppose I should back off feeding it with water from the goldfish aquarium. Too much fish fertilizer for it's own good.



Cute. I wonder how many months Mr. Aloe sat there precariously on the verge of narcolepsy.

I envy your child and the Mr. I too don't fall asleep too easily these days. At bedtime that is. At any other time I have no trouble at all. Stay warm!

College Gardener said...

I just repot mine into increasingly more massive containers to counterbalance its top-heaviness. It has become a bit hard to manage but it is still one of my favorites because I just find it so endearing that with minimal care it just happily grows and grow.

Marguerite said...

Water from the aquarium! that's freaking brilliant. Almost makes me want to get some fish. I have no tips for the sleep deprived aloe but understand the dilemma. My own aloe is trying to crawl sideways out of its pot. Perhaps it wants to climb up the stairs to a warmer environment..

Christine B. said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Grace. Only a third of the carpool children are mine, snore-boy not included!

As for falling asleep, I think my occasional bedtime insomnia has something to do with surfing the net on my ipad in my jammies. Just ruins me....


Christine B. said...

I had thought of that option, but was stymied by the lack of pot choices in winter in Alaska. Our options aren't even that great in summer.

I do love my aloe, though. I don't seem to be able to kill it, and there aren't that many houseplants in that category.


Christine B. said...

I use the aquarium water in summer to water my containers on the front porch and it works like magic. Our lone goldfish seems to produce plenty of fertilizer, maybe that has to do with the kids feeding him so often. But he's such a beggar! He spits gravel out noisily to get our attention when we walk by his tank.

And if my aloe makes it to the stairway, I'm calling the Guinness Book of World Records.



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