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Gasteria bicolor (Lawyer's Tongue)

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Scientific Name

Gasteria bicolor Haw.

Accepted Scientific Name

Gasteria obliqua (Aiton) Duval

Common Names

Lawyer's Tongue

Synonyms

Gasteria bicolor var. bicolor, Gasteria obliqua, Gasteria maculata, Aloe planifolia, Gasteria caespitosa, Gasteria liliputana, Gasteria planifolia

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Gasteria

Description

Gasteria bicolor, also known as Gasteria obliqua, is a very variable succulent up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall. It is common in cultivation and grows multiple proliferous stems, all covered in untidy masses of the shiny, mottled, colorful, succulent leaves. It usually forms rosettes, but can sometimes be distichous, especially in cultivation. The leaves can also occasionally develop a keel. Each leaf has a sharp point on the tip. The flowers are tubular, bell-shaped, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long, pink to orange and green and appear on a up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long stem. It can be in flower at almost any time of the year but in mid winter to spring it is often at its peak.

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These succulents are not considered difficult houseplants to grow. If you can keep a pot of Aloe alive on a windowsill, chances are you can do the same with a dish of Haworthia. As with all succulents, the most dangerous situation is too much water. They should never be allowed to sit in water under any circumstances. At the same time, these decorative, little plants can be grown in interesting containers such as tea cups and even miniature baby shoes. If you're given a Haworthia in such a container, make sure the container had adequate drainage.

Haworthias are small, usually remaining between 3  and 5 inches (7.5 cm and 12.5 cm)  in height, and relatively slow-growing. They are often grown in small clusters in wide, shallow dishes. Over time, clusters will naturally enlarge as the mother plant sends off small plantlets. When the cluster has outgrown its dish, repot in the spring or early summer into a new wide and shallow dish with fresh potting soil. This is also the time to take offsets for propagation.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Haworthia.

Origin

Gasteria bicolor is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape).

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

Links

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