Aloes have certainly come to the fore in terms of the plant popularity stakes in recent times. They’re drought tolerant, easy to grow and many are indigenous. However, their lesser relatives are often forgotten in the aloe planting frenzy that is in vogue at the moment. Gasterias and Haworthias are closely related to aloes, belong to the same family as aloes and are succulents with thick fleshy leaves that resemble miniature aloes. When it comes to flowers they are not nearly as striking as the aloes unfortunately.
Gasterias are commonly known as stomach plants and Haworthias have the indignity of being known as wart plants. Common names aside, they are all amazing little succulents, well worth cultivating for their attractive leaves and growth formations. Many have coloured leaves with intricate patterns and weird shapes. Gasterias have flowers similar to aloes, whilst Haworthias’ little flowers can best be described as being insignificant. All of these succulents are indigenous to Southern Africa and grow relatively easily in the summer rainfall climates. They’re useful little filler plants for rock gardens, succulent collections and even look good in tiny terracotta pots.
- Plant in full sun
- Require extremely well drained soil with grit or gravel
- Mulch around plants with gravel or pebbles to show off plants
- Water sparingly when very dry
- Feed every month with water soluble food (Nitrosol)
- Ideal for small succulent dish gardens
- Make attractive pot plants in small containers
- Plant en masse as a groundcover
- Good in fairy gardens
- Can be kept indoors in a sunny position