Gasteria vlokii is a compact rosette-forming succulent with chunky, white-spotted triangular leaves. In summer it produces elegant arching flower stems, which bear a succession of attractive pendulous pink and green flowers. It gradually offsets from the base to form clusters.
The species is native to steep north-facing slopes in the Swartberg and Witteberg ranges in southern South Africa. Rainfall can occur throughout the year, although the steep terrain ensures rapid draining conditions. Winters are cool, with the possibility of frost or snow.
Cultivation is undemanding given standard care – some sun, reasonable water from spring to autumn and frost free over winter. Conventional advice is to keep dry over winter, but I do water mine on occasion, on a cool windowsill indoors. Those brave enough or those with surplus plants to spare, could experiment with unheated greenhouse conditions, maybe taking additional precautions during sustained cold spells.
I use a largely mineral potting mix for the species, but as an undemanding plant, any reasonable succulent mix would probably work, provided over-watering is avoided.
Propagation is easy – if not rapid – from leaf cuttings, which may be twisted off the plant from low down on a rosette, or cut off with a knife. Growing from seed is also straightforward. If a mature plant with more than one head is available, the quickest method of reproduction is to remove an offset, which may already have roots.
No part of this article may be reproduced without permission. Copyright BCSS & the Author 2023