Six On Saturday: 16.01.21 Frost, Disease and January Flowers

This week we were greeted with a rare and unexpected ground frost which took us by surprise. While it is common to have minus temperatures down in the valley, where we are upon the cliffs, not so much! We’ve just gone back into COVID lockdown but as we’ve become a pair of hermits it does not really affect us. Ho hum …

1. Frost!

Given the arctic temperatures and above-average snowfall in other parts of Portugal, I should have been following the weather more closely in our area. My poor Madagascar Cactus Palms (Madge) do not respond well to low temperatures. In fact, the recommended min temperature, according to the plant label, is 12C

Trying to protect plants from frosty nights

Luckily, they are in a sheltered location so apart from big Madge (acquired in 2017) losing quite a few leaves, I think she survived. The following nights I draped the cactus palms in mosquito nets and a fleece pillowcase. Note to self: I need to invest in some fleecy material.

Madacasgan Cactus Palm lsoing its leaves after frost

Little Madge, purchased in August 2020, seems a little more hardy.

Pachypodium Lamerei

2. Agave Attenuata

At the end of October, the Agave attenuata finally decided to flower. The flower shoot, now nearly 7ft tall reminds me of nature’s equivalent of a doner kebab.

Agave Attenuata

Closeup of flowers. The bees love these!

Agave attenuata in flower

Sadly, the mother plant dies once it has flowered.

3. Sickly Euphorbia Lactea – White Ghost

Thursday I was horrified to discover that the couple of small dark marks on my white ghost euphorbia I noticed a couple of weeks ago had spread into strange blackish-brown areas.. I did some research on the net and drew a blank.

Euphorbia Lactea - ghost Euprhorbia with black/  brown marks on.

Friday morning I was horrified to discover whatever was ailing the plant was spreading rapidly. Still puzzled as to the cause I decided to spray it with rose-clear and isolate.

Euphorbia Lactea - ghost Euprhorbia with black/  brown marks on.

Does anyone have any idea what is causing this? I am now wondering if I should just call it a day, take cuttings and move on.

4. Meerlo Lavender?

This started as a small cutting and the roots escaped and has now taken root in my bird of paradise pot. When you touch the leaves it smells disgusting. Apparently, it is meant to deter mosquitoes. It seems a happy plant so I will cut away the plastic pot so it can grow uninhibited. Certainly brings a new meaning to ‘taking root’.

Meerlo Lavender flowers in January

Meerlo Lavender flowers in January

5. Red Euphorbia Milii – Crown of Thorns

Apart from a few brownish leaves, the plant seems relatively unscathed by the recent frosts. I featured the Euphorbia Milii back in May 2020 and it was flowering then!

 Red Euphorbia Milii - Crown of Thorns in January

Love it”

 Red Euphorbia Milii - Crown of Thorns in January

6. Crassula ovata – Jade Plant

My Jade plants ( have several) seem happy in sun or shade. Maybe this would be another option to consider for the Buddha waterfall rockery, rather than the ladder fern to add height?

Crassula ovata - Jade Plant flowers in January

That’s it for this week. Why not pop over to Mr P’s blog to check out other Six on Saturday bloggers from around the world?

PS if you do have any idea as to the cause of the demise of the Euphobia Ghost please let me know as it appears it is spreading to my Orchids!

25 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: 16.01.21 Frost, Disease and January Flowers

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  1. Such an amazing group of happy plants! I hope the Euphorbia heals up from whatever it has going on. It looks like an infection, or maybe moisture damage – I’d poke it to see if it’s squishy.
    Do you have any major planting projects once the frosty season is over?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Scott, no it’s not squishy and the soil was not wet as it is undercover. As for major planting, no, it’s more reorganising and repotting and general maintenance. Oh, and I want a proper raised herb garden.


  2. Wow, that Agave flower looks like the tentacle of a giant creature coming out of the ground! And now I finally know what jade plants look like in flower – very pretty – I have lots in the house here, I can’t stop myself from taking cuttings, but of course it’s not warm enough for them to flower!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those euphorbs are very susceptible to rot. Those that are variegated with white are even more susceptible than those that are not. They often get watered more than necessary, or get soaked by rain. My recommendation would be let the soil get dry between watering, although you are likely already doing that. Unfortunately, it can not recover from the damage that has already happened. It can grow beyond it, and provide more stems for cuttings later.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It probably started some time ago. By the time it becomes evident on the exterior, rot may have been proliferating within the fleshy interior. Will it be kept in a warm situation for now? Warmth may promote vascular activity, which inhibits decay somewhat.


  4. I had heard about a lot of cold and snow in Spain with the records in Madrid but I didn’t know about Portugal… Amazing agave attenuata flower !!
    also have one of the stems of my euphorbia trigona which has the same spots (probably rot) but it has stabilized. I left it because it is firm to the touch and not soft). Otherwise the solution is to cut below,to soak the wound into water to “stop the milk”, to let the wound heal and the plant will divide and give new shoots. Keep us posted about it…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Fred. I removed the plant from the pot and the soil is not damp. It has been in the same location for a couple of years so environmentally nothing has changed. The only new additions are two orchids, and I have just noticed they have some black spots on the leaves. Sigh…

      The weather here is strange… from wearing thermal,under ware during the day and a Woolley hat we are now sitting in the garden in t shirts… and could even wear shorts …

      So if the black spots don’t seal and heal I need to lop off unaffected pieces soak in water and then replant.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you need to cut under the affected pieces, and remove them, soak the healthy pieces ( the top ) during 15 ’ in water and then replant them 24h later. And where you cut the main stem, you can also stop the flow of sap by soaking the wound in water. Cinnamon powder is good to heal and disinfect the wound.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s incredible. And the flower spike keeps growing. At least it is not overhanging the drive which would have caused a big problem. We will see re the white ghost. There is never a dull moment on piglet’s plot! I am sure we never had so many pests and diseases in the uk.

      Liked by 1 person

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