Aloe Vera and other succulents

I have a modest collection of succulents, including some thriving aloe vera from Freya and Brian’s garden in Stanthporpe. They’re so easy to grow and take no fuss at all.

Aloe vera is an essential plant for any herb garden, as it’s just so easy to grow. You just basically chuck a bit in a pot and pop it in a sunny spot. And if I ever have the poor luck of pulling something out of the hot oven anytime soon, I’m almost guaranteed of burning my hand, so a little aloe vera can help. Although I haven’t had a chance to try this out yet, as David likes to do all the cooking at the moment, which is just great of course! Apparently you can break a leaf off and use the clear juice from inside to rub on the burn to give relief. This plant is the major ingredient in the aloe vera gels I used when I got sunburnt when I lived in the territory. You know, back in the days when I didn’t have a vitamin D deficiency!

This jade money plant is very special. It was one of three plants left by my grandmother, one went home with my mum, one with my aunty and I got the third. I think my mum’s plant has been eaten by her pet peacocks! I haven’t done anything to this plant, just the occasional light fertiliser, and it prefers full sun. These plants are considered to be lucky for prosperity, due to the shape of the leaves, which is said to resemble coins and money.

I’m not sure if a ponytail fern is technically a ‘succulent’, I don’t think it is, but I keep it in the same area because it prefers the same conditions – full sun and not too much water or fertiliser.  I used to have a big ponytail plant in Darwin which I bought as a tiny plant in 1990, and carted it around for nearly 15 years so it grew quite big. In the mess that became my life when I left, I think my ponytail plant ended up in the garden of my friend’s house which she sold during that period of time. This plant I have now is a special consolation, it’s a pair bound together and they have actually produced an offspring which now has it’s own pot.

The other succulents I have are plants that have kind of ‘migrated’ to our potted garden, and thrived, most coming from Dave’s mum’s garden. These plants are very hardy, and other than the aloe vera and the jade money plant, I don’t even know what they are! They seem very prolific too, taking to a new spot without any fuss at all. Sometimes, I simply put cuttings  and shove it in a pot with the other succulents, not even bothering to plant it in, and it still takes! Our other plants which need more care have decided they would not grow in pots that are too dry and hot with too much sun, so I have shoved some of these succulent cuttings in there to fill the fallow spot!

I am also trying some small cuttings of these in two bonsai pots I have, and they seem to be going well. I planted a tiny piece of jade money plant that broke off last year into the green bonsai pot, and it’s slowly growing and will make an attractive bonsai plant. I will have to learn more about repotting bonsai at some point, as the roots will become bound. The root ball will need pruning at some point, hopefully later rather than sooner!

If anyone knows any common names for these other plants, please let me know! These cosmetic plants I tolerate in our potted herb garden, only because they are so very easy to grow, take no fuss at all and fill empty fallow spots where other plants won’t grow.

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