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GASTERIA croucheri

Image of Gasteria croucheri

Maureen Gilmer

Family

Aloaceae

Botanical Name

GASTERIA croucheri

Plant Common Name

Gasteria, Natal beestong

General Description

The succulent foliage clumps of Natal beestong are grayish green, relatively large and attractive, but the flowers are only subtly pretty and not as stunning at those of other Gasteria species. It is native to the eastern Cape of South Africa where it naturally exists on rocky hillsides, cliff faces with sandstone rock formations and rocky valleys, often under the cover of scrub and open shrubs. Like most Gasteria, it is slow-growing and forms pleasing clumps of plantlets over time. This species usually comprises no more than eight rosettes in a clump.

The aloe-like rosettes of this pretty succulent are comprised of spineless, pointed leaves of deep grey-green with subtle spots. In spring, larger rosettes produce spikes of long, dangling flowers of coral-orange with gray-green mouth tips. The drooping blooms are visited by sunbirds in Africa and hummingbirds in the Americas. Flowers yield to fleshy seedpods that release large, black seeds.

The key to growing gasterias is fast-draining soil that isn't particularly fertile. They take very well to container culture and are popular subjects for bonsai pots. Under dry conditions and bright light, the leaves may take on attractive red tones. Growers produce gasterias in clumps or as individuals depending on the species. Faster growing sorts appreciate frequent division. Withhold water in the winter to prevent rot while plants are dormant.

As a cultivated specimen, this Gasteria fares best as a houseplant, greenhouse plant or in a frost-free rock garden.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    13, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    8"-15" / 20.3cm - 38.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange, Yellow Green, Coral

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, SpottedMottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No