G. armstrongii is one of the slow growing and rarer
Gasterias with dark green leaves.
It contains some of the most handsome
individual clones of any species.
Scientific name: Gasteria armstrongii
Restricted to a
comparatively limited coastal region mainly in and around Humansdorp,
Eastern Cape Province.
grows on a rocky soil with conglomerate or quartzite sandstone, this
plant can be exceedingly difficult to locate in habit in fact the leaves
are more or less horizontal and when the whole plant is at or below
grade, the surrounding soil begins to cover up the plant!
Taxonomy: Gasteria armstrongii has for a long time been
just considered a "kind" of nitida (G. nitida var.
armstrongii) but it is very different indeed from the typical
G. nitida. Nowadays the taxonomist Ernst van Jaarsveld has
decided, by virtue of DNA studies, that armstrongii is a
species in its own right. Seedlings of G. nitida appear
much the same until they produce erect pointed leaves
Synonyms: Gasteria nitida var. armstrongii
In: Aloe 29(1): 12, 1992
Common English Names include:
is a distinctive
neotenic miniature succulent with short, rounded and thick
distichous rosettes of two to four leaves up to 10 in diameter. Old
specimens cluster naturally with new plants around the original. It is
very slow growing.
and succulent up to 12 mm in diameter, with little branching, and
endowed with the ability to
contract, physically pulling the plant down into the ground during
Distichous (grow in two planes only),
dark green to nealy black that can take maroon-red colouring in full
strong, compact and thick that lie flat to the ground and have a rough,
bumpy, tongue-like appearance, leaves in nature rarely more than 60 mm
in overall lenght. Sometimes with prominent paler tubercles or warts
that may develop with age. Tip somewhat retuse, obtuse or truncate.
Margin entire or slightly tuberculate. Often the leave has a deep
V-shaped proximal depession.
The inflorescences are smaller up to 50 cm tall and unbranched but bear
20 mm long flowers. Flowers 20-25 mm long, pinkish-red,
for about half of the perianth length. Perianth tips yellowish-green..
Blooming season: Summer.
Fruit: Oblong about 25 x 8 mm wide.
NOTE: This specie
has been widely selected and hybridized and nowadays many clones are
available most of which were developed in Japan.
Gasteria armstrongii has
short thick rounded leaves, that are dark green with many paler coloured
tubercles giving a reptilian impression.
Cultivation: They are slow growing but
long-lived plants of easy culture which makes them a good
houseplant and can be an excellent subject for the beginning
gasteriaphile (it 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) 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) They
are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefer a very
porous potting mix to increase drainage. During the hot summer months,
the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. The plants are
fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced
fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength. During the winter
months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Frost hardy to -1°C (Or less).
Propagation: Gasteria is easily propagated by
the removal of offshoots or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. To use
It should stay intact in the post though every head will have its own
root system and it could easily be split for propagation.
propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf and let it lie for about one
month (e.g. in a cool window sill), 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. Young plants
can be harvested the following season. They can also grown from
seed. Seed should be sown during summer in sandy well
drained soil and preferably protected from full sun. The seedlings are
slow growing and can be planted out in small containers when they are
large enough to handle. The soil should preferably be enriched with
compost. They react very well to a liquid organic fertilizer.