Ox Tongue/Gasteria verrucosa
This Gasteria is distinctive from most of the others in that it has raised white dots on its leaves, which give it a very rough feel. The slender dark green leaves grow to about 13cm (5in) long in a fan shape, and the plant produces green and orange flowers on long slender stems in the Spring. It is attractive and very popular as a houseplant.
Gasteria are not quick- growing, but they are very good natured and tolerant plants and are seldom killed by neglect.
This succulent is quite tolerant of temperatures down to 5°C (41°F) if kept fairly dry. Like most plants, it will benefit from good ventilation, but not draughts.
The Ox Tongue requires a bright situation at all times and will grow happily in most windows.
Water the Ox Tongue well during the Summer, allowing theto dry out before watering again. During the Autumn and Winter, the plant should be kept fairly dry, being given only enough water to prevent it from shrivelling badly. Casteria verrucosa will soon rot if kept wet at low temperatures.
This plant is a native of very arid areas and will benefit if grown in a dry atmosphere.
Feed this succulent regularly every 1-2 weeks during the Spring and Summer, using afood or one recommended for tomatoes at about half strength.
Allwill do best in a well-drained com- post containing about one third grit. Repot at least every two years.
Because Gasteria verrucosa is slow-growing, it is an ideal subject to include in a cactus garden, requiring much the same treatment as. It is taller-growing than many species, having the leaves pointing upwards rather than producing the more typical dense mound. Because of this, it makes a useful specimen to plant at the back of a cactus bowl to give a different form and texture.