Botanical Name — Gasteria pseudonigricans
Common Name —
Plant Family — Asphodelaceae
Gasteria pseudonigricans is endemic to the flat mountainous areas in the Western Cape of South Africa. They can be found growing under shrubs in their natural environment and reach the height of 6 inches. Gaster in the genus name, is the greek name for stomach, which refers to the shape of the flowers.
- Gasteria pseudonigricans likes light shade to shade, but will take direct sun part of the day. Some direct sun can cause the leaves to turn a reddish color.
- Avoid intense afternoon sun which can sunburn the leaves.
- Gasterias prefer warm temperatures. Between 70 and 90 ºF is ideal. They will decline in consistent temperatures below 50 ºF.
- Water thoroughly during the hot summer months. Let the soil somewhat dry out between waterings. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Cold temperatures, low light and wet soil can lead to root or stem rot.
- Gasteria pseudonigricans grows best in a fast draining soil mix. Use cacti or succulent soil, or amend potting soil with sand or pumice up to 50% to improve drainage.
- The plant sends out tall spikes with small stomach shaped flowers in the Spring.
- Gasterias do not require much fertilization. They will benefit from a light boost of nutrients once a month during the spring and summer seasons when they are actively growing. Feed them with a balanced fertilizer diluted at a quarter to half strength.
- Gasterias are easily propagated by leaf cuttings or offshoots. Cut the tip of the leaf off and let callus for a couple of weeks. Place cutting in a gritty cactus/succulent mix to root. Can take a few months to grow roots.
- Most common problem is root rot due to overwatering.
- Gasterias are very robust plants and rarely fall victim to diseases or pests. The most common infestations experienced by these plants are scale. Scale can be an aggressive pest, but it can be controlled effectively by treating the plant with a diluted neem oil solution two to three times a week until the scale is eradicated. For small-scale infestations of scale pests can be physically removed using a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Very little maintenance is required to keep these plants happy and thriving. They prefer to be root-bound and so can live in their pot for several years before repotting. When repotting, choose a planter that is 1 to 2” larger than the current planter.
- Gasterias are non toxic to pets and humans.