The Cactus Flower

Weekly Photo Challenge:Flowers

I have an Aloe garden in my backyard, and this year one of my Aloe bloomed. When it bloomed 2 years ago, I learned that this is how they reproduce. After it dropped its pods, I discovered several baby Aloes taking root!  My garden area has doubled since 2009.

This year I wanted to make a pictorial of the Aloe’s life cycle, to share it with my fellow bloggers and readers. I suspect most people don’t have an Aloe plant in their yard to watch themselves.

Big Momma
Big Momma is the Aloe that started it all

My oldest and largest Aloe, “Big Momma”, started growing a stick-like projection shooting up from the center.

Aloe Soon To Bloom
Big Momma Grows a Stalk, with four flower stems!

 

Ready to flower
Flowers begin to bloom open after a couple weeks

A new development this year -the stalk was weak and the four flowers were heavy, so there was leaning. Leaning is normal in the “giving birth” phase because the Aloe wants to drop pods as far from her as possible. But Big Momma was leaning before the flowers matured. Unfortunately, all four were positioned over the cement.

Doesnt Look Good
Whoops!

I dared not try and prop up the stalk for fear it would snap and all would be lost. I would have to be Big Momma’s mid-wife and deliver the pods to the garden soil or they would hit the cement and not become babies. I was going to be keeping an eye on things anyway, as I photographed Big Momma’s progress.

Lacy Petals
When a flower matures, it’s petals have a lacy “hem” and start to blush purple. So gorgeous!

The flower petals do not last more than a week or two. They soon begin to dry up and seed pods start to grow.

Droopier And Drying Out
Droopy and Drying, but still pretty

Two more weeks and the seed pods are growing and taking nourishment from the petals. The petals dry up and drop off.

Flowers going to seed
Flowers morphing into pods
Pods
Pods left behind to “give birth” to baby aloe plants!
Over the Cement
Big Momma nearly ready to give birth

At the point where the pods were beginning to open was when I bent the stalk to lean over the garden area. I can’t find that photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

It seemed to take forever for anything to change. Meanwhile, the ground cover I planted on the non-Aloe half of the garden began to take over the entire backyard. It was growing out of cracks in the sidewalk and hid nearly every Aloe from the sun.

Ground Cover Gone Wild
Can only see Big Momma over the wild ground cover taking over the garden!

Today’s gorgeous weather inspired me to rip out the ground cover and hunt for babies! This takes a helluva lot of time when it is growing under and around spiny cactus, believe me! I am only 1/5th of the way finished, but I stopped to take a photo of the baby I uncovered so far.

Baby Aloe Uncovered
Look who was hiding under the flowers! She will grow a lot faster now that the sun can reach her!
Last Years Babies
Also finding a couple 2009 babies that are looking good!

Well, that was close to a 3-month process. I’m proud that my attention span allowed me to complete this little nature pictorial.

Hope you enjoyed it 😉

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3 thoughts on “The Cactus Flower

    1. They LOVE the sun and plenty of room to spread out. Even though they are cactus, they like being watered once in awhile. Good luck, and don’t be disappointed if you start with a young plant. It takes years before they can grow a stalk!!

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