Gasteria is a relatively rare, Aloe-like succulent whose G. verrucosa species goes by the unfortunate name of “ox tongue.” Perhaps even more unfortunately, the plant is named for the sac-like shape of its flowers, which are supposed to resemble a stomach (get it…gasteria?). The genus is native to South Africa, where they grow in lightly shaded conditions with excellent drainage. As a result, they are adapted to relatively lower light conditions than some more well-known succulents and are good houseplants.
Depending on the species, Gasteria leaves are often marked with interesting patterns and coloration. The G. verrucosa species also has wart-like protrusions on its leaves.
Growing Conditions for Gasteria
Light: Bright light, but not direct sunlight. These grow in similar conditions to Haworthia succulents. White or yellow leaves usually signify too much sun.
Water: Water evenly and generously in the summer, letting the soil media dry out between waterings. In the winter, reduce watering to every other month, but do not stop watering. Never allow water to collect in between the leaves.
Temperature: Warmer summers but cool in the winter (down to 50 F). During warmer weather, your gasteria leaves might turn a lighter, brighter color or the plant might flower with small, colorful sac-shaped flowers.
Soil: Use a cactus mix or very fast-draining potting soil mixed with sand.
Fertilizer: Fertilize during the summer growing season with a cactus fertilizer.
Don’t feed during the winter.