Apartment Garden Blues (Blog): Too Many Plants

Aloe vera pups transplantedI don’t think I’m the only balcony gardener who runs into trouble when it comes to acquiring too many container plants. You can start out small and quickly go overboard. It’s very easy to collect too many plants, but how do we let go and get rid of the extra? It’s easy to suggest selling or giving away your plants on Craigslist, giving them to someone you know or just throwing them out, but there’s something inside of me that makes it very difficult to let go.

While it’s difficult for me to part with most of my plants, there is one plant that I no longer have trouble with. My aloe vera plants are so prolific on my balcony that I’m constantly picking out pups and marveling their tall flower stalks and orange tubular flowers (which attract hummingbirds!). My problem before was that I couldn’t throw away the pups, so I planted them into their own containers. Big mistake! Those containers quickly filled up, and I ended up with a third of my balcony space dedicated solely to aloe! In such a small space, that’s definitely overboard. And as I was planning my garden for this spring, I decided I had to do something so I could make room for more plants of different types (and not just aloe).

So here’s what I did. Because aloe has so many uses, I knew people could take it and harvest it for whatever they wanted to use it for. After chatting with a few people, most of my excess aloe vera ended up going to my mother-in-law, who mixed it in with her hair conditioner. To harvest aloe this way, peel off the outside of the leaf, and mix up the goopy insides with your conditioner in a blender. Now I have a lot less aloe (thank goodness!), and I know to just say NO to transplanting any more aloe vera pups!



Alexandra Martin is a professional writer from Southern California who grows vegetables, herbs, lots of aloe vera and one giant Boston fern in her balcony garden. She also grows dracaena, pothos and English ivy indoors. She loves traveling and birdwatching in addition to gardening.

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