Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Basic care for Gasteria?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Feb 15, 2017 6:07 PM CST
Are these like Aloe?

I was wondering if they like to be cramped in pots similar to cacti or do they need a lot of room for the roots?

Do they get no water during winter, and do they enjoy full sun?

Will miracle gro soil for cacti be fine potting medium?

Is it ok if the leaves get wet?

Can I pull off small offsets so I only have one plant?
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Feb 15, 2017 6:08 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 15, 2017 6:21 PM CST
Hi Keith, in my area, I leave my gasterias outdoors year round, rain or shine. I just make the media very well draining adding lots of pumice or perlite to my cacti soil. I don't like using miracle gro soil since they put some water retentive stuff in it. Not good here when it rains, will make media too soggy than needed. They do enjoy full sun to a point, but in our area, since we get too crispy hot and dry, some shade in the afternoon will be better. So I try now to put a taller plant that can take the sun and heat in front of it to shield it from too much sun.

I adjust container size as needed, as typical with succulents, they are slow growing. I use shallow and wide containers instead of deep containers.

If it makes offsets, sure you can pull them off carefully, but I prefer them making a nice colony in my container as long as there is still good space.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Feb 15, 2017 8:55 PM CST

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Yes, they are like aloes. They are close cousins and enjoy the same care. Try to match the pot to the size of the plant, roughly, plus a little extra space. And expect growth to slow dramatically if a plant is extremely pot bound for a while. A bigger factor in my experience is how you manage the offsets, which have the potential to outcompete the mother plant when you leave them growing together. I prefer to strip out all the offsets on a regular basis (like once a year maybe).

I water my Gasterias like my other succulents, when the soil is going dry. They all get regular water in winter (our winters are mild). Normally I restrict the exposure so my Gasterias get less than half a day of sun, but their needs will vary. Use a fast draining mix (like the bagged cactus mix plus an equal amount of rock). I like 50% pumice for these plants.

The leaves get wet when it rains and it's not a big deal. You don't want them to stay wet, but given good light and proper airflow, that should not be a problem.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 15, 2017 8:59 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 15, 2017 9:18 PM CST
They are like aloes to a certain extent, but I find Gasterias more tolerant of colder conditions at least to 30F, but best kept dry and given very good airflow around and very well draining, gritty media, so if it rains at that low temps, it gets to dry out as fast as possible.

Aloes suffer big time once temps start going below 50F, they like to be kept on the warm side. So it is often placed in a warm dry spot indoors but with good bright light access.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Feb 16, 2017 11:00 AM CST
Tarev, I think that depends entirely on the type of Aloes you grow. There is a huge range in climate conditions where you can find Aloes that will grow from the really tropical ones that indeed are very shy of anything below 50F to plants that grow at much higher elevations that go cross-eyed so to speak when temperatures exceed 85F on a regular basis.

Here in the greater Phoenix heat island, I am lucky to not go below freezing very often anymore, but it goes near freezing quite a lot every winter and the aloes that I have all of which are outside in pots or in the ground are just fine. Some go a little reddish-brown, while others go bright red, but that is a normal response and a huge part of their charm. The few times it has gone considerably below 30F, some plants have gotten some damage, while others took it just fine. The important factor was that those plants were all dry. Below freezing and wet is a recipe for disaster.

Only big thing, which also affects the Gasterias is that flower stalks are by far not as resilient as the plants themselves, but there are notable exceptions to that too.

Keith, I think you are getting a lot of good advice from both Baja and Tarev. Given that your winters are way more severe than anything we collectively experience, the main message should be wet + cold is bad. If you keep your plants inside and warm, with as much light as you can give them, I am sure they would enjoy some water during the winter, as heating can dry out plants really fast. However, those plants should be in pretty fast draining soil and you should just monitor your soil moisture carefully, if the T's go down quite a bit at night you do not want those plants to sit in wetness very for very long. If you have successfully wintered Aloes before, Gasterias should not be that big of a challenge.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 16, 2017 11:29 AM CST
Just watch your micro climate there Keith. I know you get much longer and lower temps during your cold period than we do here. So what we do here which seems rather simple basic care, you may have to tweak just a bit more on your side, Aloes and Gasterias enjoys lots of bright light, hopefully you have a good window you can position them till Spring arrives.

chris0653h
Oct 23, 2017 8:36 AM CST
Thank You! I agree

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