How to grow and care for Gasteria Plants Indoors

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Gasteria Plants

Gasteria carinata

Botanical name: Gasteria spp
Family: Asphodelaceae
Sufamily: Asphodeloideae
Common names: Ox-tongue, Cow-tongue, Lawyer's Tongue, Mother-in-law's Tongue

Gasteria Plants Description

Gasterias are recognizable from their thick, hard, succulent "tongue-shaped" leaves and hence their common names Ox-tongue, Cow-tongue, Lawyer's Tongue and occasionally Mother-in-law's Tongue.

Gasteria's leaves are arranged in two rows forming a fan-like shape and as it gets older an untidy rosette is formed.

Usually, young Gasteria plants have flat strap-shaped leaves in an alternate (spiral) pattern, with each leaf arising at a different point (node) on the stem.

Gasteria Plants Flower

Gasteria flowers

Gasteria inflorescence

Gasteria's inflorescence is also unique with their curved, stomach-shaped flowers hanging from inclined racemes (the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and newest flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit).

This characteristic inflorescence has given this genus its name Gasteria. "Gaster" is Latin for stomach. The plant only flowers when mature after about 2-4 years.

Gasteria Plants Origin

Plants in the Gasteria genus are mostly native to Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and extends into the far south-west corner of Namimbia and the Lebombo mountains of Swaziland.

Gasteria plants are extremely difficult to divide into species as each plant can be highly variable depending on its location, its soil and its age. As many as 100 names have been listed. Current studies tend to agree that there are between 16 and 23 species.

Gasteria Plants Varieties

The leaves in Gasteria plants may be warty like in Gasteria verrucosa or smooth like in Gasteria maculata.

The color of leaves in Gasteria plants vary from dark-green to light-green. Some are spotted with light shades of green or grey-green.

Many hybrids have been developed like, Gasteria bicolor which features thick, flat leaves with striped patterns.

Some common varieties include;

1.Gasteria disticha

2.Gasteria baylissiana

3.Gasteria rawlinsonii

4.Gasteria brachyphylla

5.Gasteria pillansii

Buy beautiful and healthy Gasteria Plants from Etsy.

Gasteria Related Plants

Gasteria genus is closely related to the genera Aloe and Haworthia. The species of these genera are known to hybridise relatively easily with each other.

Gasteria Plants

Gasteria baylissiana

Gasteria Plants Care Indoors

Gasteria Plants Light Requirements

Gasteria Plants grow best under bright light with some direct sunshine. A few feet away from a south- or west-facing window is ideal.

Avoid exposing your Gasteria Plant to too hot sunlight before acclimatizing it, as it can get sun burned. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Gasteria Plants

Water Gasteria Plant thoroughly during the growing season, when the soil begins to dry out.

Water the plant very infrequently during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Avoiding wetting the center of the rosette as it can lead to rotting of your Gasteria Plant. Watering from the bottom is a better option.

Water the Gasteria Plant with water that is at room temperature water to avoid plant shock. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Gasteria Plants

Average warmth temperatures from 18-290C) are ideal for Gasteria Plant. The sudden change in temperature between day and night is excellent for the growth of this succulent.

Humidity for Gasteria Plants

Gasteria Plants have no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for your Gasteria Plant.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Gasteria Plants

Feed Gasteria Plant monthly during the growing period with a water soluble fertilizer as they are slow growing and therefore do not need frequent feeding.

Withhold feeding for your Gasteria Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Gasteria Plants

Repot Gasteria Plant only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Use a shallow rather than a deep pot for your Gasteria Plant as they have shallow roots.

The pot for Gasteria Plant should be only 1 size larger than the previous one.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

The best soil for Gasteria Plant should be sandy or rocky soil as it drains easily inorder to avoid soggy soil which can lead to rotting of the plant.

How to Prune Gasteria Plants

Pruning Gasteria Plant involves removal of dead or diseased leaves. Cut the leaf at the base with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to detach it from the stem.

Avoid excessive injury to your Gasteria Plant to minimise fungal and bacterial infections.

How to Propagate Gasteria Plants

Gasteria Plants can be propagated from offsets (pups) which form at the base of the plant.

How to Propagate Gasteria Plants from offsets (pups)

Select an offset which has several leaves and carefully seperate the offset from the mother Gasteria Plant by cutting with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.

Allow the Gasteria Plant offsets to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before potting to prevent rotting.

Plant the Gasteria Plant offset in free-draining soil and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Water the Gasteria Plant sparingly, only when the soil is dry to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to rotting.

Gasteria Plants

Gasteria pillansii

Gasteria Plants Problems Indoors

Gasteria Plants leaves wilted and droopy

Underwatering is the cause of wilted and droopy leaves your in Gasteria plants

Immediately water your Gasteria Plant thoroughly and it should perk up. Never allow the soil to dry our completely, maintain it moderately moist.

Gasteria Plants brown soft spots

Leaf spot disease is the cause of brown soft spots in Gasteria Plant.

The occurence of the disease is enhanced by poor air circulation. Ensure that there is proper air circulation for your Gasteria Plant.

Gasteria Plants wilted and discolored leaves

Overwatering during the cold season is the cause of wilted and discolored leaves in Gasteria Plants.

Water your Gasteria Plant sparingly during the cold season and always allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings.

Gasteria Plants rot at the base followed by yellowing and shriveled leaves

Basal stem rot disease due to overwet conditions is the cause of base rot followed by yellowing and shriveled leaves in your Gasteria Plant.

Avoid overwatering your Gasteria Plant during the cold season and reduce watering significantly to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Also, use a fungicidal solution ocassionally to water your Gasteria Plant to prevent infection.

Remove and discard the infected parts of your Gasteria Plant to prevent spread to the rest of the plant.

Gasteria Plants pests

Common pests in Gasteria Plants are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Gasteria Plant toxic?

Gasteria Plants are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow in the home.

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