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Description: What this plant is? It was labelled as “Gasteria gracilis” but its true identity is still to be confirmed.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gasteria gracilis group
Gasteria gracilis (ash-grey type) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
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Cultivation and Propagation: They are of easy culture and can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants, or in outdoor rockeries.
Growth rate: They are relatively fast-growing plants that offsets freely to form small clusters quickly.
Soil: It is tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefers a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A non-acid soil is ideal. You can grow a plant in a 10-15 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Exposure: Need light shade to shade, but will take full sun part of the day. (with some sun exposure the leaf develops a nice reddish tint and remain compact) During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet.
Watering: During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Wet soil quickly causes root and stem rot, especially during chilly winter months. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Low ambient humidity is always needed.
Feeding: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength.
Hardiness: During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Frost hardy to -1°C (Or less).
Pest and diseases: Rot is only a minor problem with Gasteria if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. Incorrect watering, poor drainage or too much shade can lead to attack by pests and diseases. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Remarks: Gasterias are best planted in a shaded and airy part of the greenhouse, and not too close to the glass roof or sides of the house as the plants can overheat during hot spells.
Propagation: Gasterias are easily propagated by the removal of offshoots or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. To propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf and let it lie for about one month, giving the wound time to heal. Then lay the leaf on its side with the basal part buried in the soil. This leaf should root within a month or two, and small plants will form at the leaf base. They can also grown from seed.
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