Gasteria liliputana, also known as the dwarf ox tongue succulent, is one of the most popular plants to keep in your home or office. These plants are easy to grow but can be tricky if you’re not used to growing them properly. It’s best to start with a few tips that will help you learn how to take care of your new plant so that it will be happy and healthy when you bring it home.
The dwarf ox tongue plant grows in both South Africa and Madagascar, and it’s typically no more than 8 inches tall! Also called living stones, these succulents are easy to grow indoors if you provide them with bright indirect light and plenty of airflow to keep their leaves free of dust.
Here’s everything you need to know about growing this beautiful succulent in your home.
Origin and distribution
Gasteria liliputana is a small, succulent plant that originates from South Africa. It is a popular choice for gardens and as a houseplant due to its low maintenance requirements.
The plant gets its name from its leaves which resemble an ox tongue. Gasteria liliputana is not frost-tolerant and should be protected from cold weather. If grown outdoors in regions with mild winters, the plant can be planted in full sun or partial shade. When growing indoors, it can tolerate lower light levels than other plants such as cacti.
While water may collect on the surface of these plants, they do not need their soil to be constantly moist. These plants have been known to grow up to 2 feet tall when outdoor temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, they will often grow shorter if they receive too much sunlight or live indoors year-round. They prefer living in loose, well-draining soils that contain plenty of organic material and require little fertilization. Because gasteria liliputana does not tolerate cold weather well, this makes them suitable for only warm climates.
Gasteria liliputana propagation
Gasteria liliputana is a small, slow-growing succulent that is native to South Africa. It is often grown as a houseplant or in containers outdoors. This plant can be propagated from offsets, leaf cuttings, or stem cuttings. If propagating by offset, allow the offset to dry out before planting it into the soil.
If propagating by leaf cutting, water only when you see signs of wilting, and never fertilize. When propagating by stem cutting, trim just below a node on the stem and allow it to dry out before planting it into the soil. Leaf cuttings are best taken off during the springtime but can also be taken during the summer.
The plants will benefit from being placed outside for about two hours per day for at least six weeks before being moved back indoors. Be sure to not let them get too hot or they may burn. I recommend putting a saucer under the pot so that if any water spills it doesn’t end up all over your floor. Finally, take care not to overwater these guys!
Gasteria liliputana care information
This small, low-growing succulent is perfect for those who want to add a little bit of greenery to their home without having to worry about too much care. While it’s relatively easy to care for this plant, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Gasteria liliputana prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate low-light conditions. If the leaves start to pale, that’s a sign that it’s not getting enough light. It’s best to keep this plant out of direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves. For those who want to see their gasteria bloom, they’ll need an east- or west-facing window.
One of the best things about Gasteria liliputana is that it’s not picky about soil. Just about any well-draining potting mix will do.
Water when the soil is dry to the touch. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings to prevent root rot.
The potting mix should be porous, like a cactus mix with some peat moss and sand added to the soil for adequate drainage.
This plant is drought tolerant, so it does not need to be watered often. When you do water it, make sure the soil is dry to the touch. Water deeply and allow the plant to dry out completely before watering again.
Gasteria liliputana can handle long periods of drought, but will not tolerate sitting in water. If you are unsure whether or not to water your plant, err on the side of too little water rather than too much.
If you want your Gasteria liliputana to thrive, then you need to fertilize it regularly. The best way to do this is to use a water-soluble fertilizer that is specifically designed for succulents.
You should apply the fertilizer once every two weeks during the growing season and then cut back to once a month during the winter. It’s also important to make sure that you are watering your plant well enough; otherwise, it will not be able to take up all of the nutrients from the fertilizer.
The temperature for Gasteria liliputana should be between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer a spot that has some shade but can also tolerate full sun. If the temperatures get too hot, the leaves will start to turn brown and curl up. However, if the temperatures are too cold, the leaves will turn black and die.
The gasteria liliputana does best in a humid environment. It is native to South Africa and needs high humidity to thrive. If the air is too dry, the leaves will start to brown and curl. The best way to increase the humidity of your plant is to use a pebble tray or mist it with water daily.
The ideal humidity range is 40-60%. Some people place their plants on top of trays filled with pebbles that are periodically sprayed with water. Others keep their plants near a sink that they occasionally fill with lukewarm water to add humidity during the day. You can also use a terrarium or misting bottle to spritz them once every couple of days.
To test the humidity level, touch your finger against one of the leaves – if it’s moist then you have enough moisture! Keep in mind though that the ideal humidity may change depending on the time of year. When it gets cold outside, most homes get drier because heating dries out the air.
Keep an eye out for signs of drought stress such as leaf curling and drooping as well as flowers not opening properly. A good indication that there isn’t enough humidity is when insects such as ants are climbing up onto your plant looking for moisture.
One of the most important things you can do for your Gasteria liliputana is to prune it regularly. Pruning not only keeps the plant looking its best but also helps encourage new growth. The more often you trim back the plant’s leaves and flowers, the fuller and bushier it will grow.
It’s a good idea to start trimming after flowering ends in the summertime, then again in the fall before winter sets in. To get started on this routine, use sharp scissors or a knife to cut off leaves that are turning brown or have fallen off as well as flowers that have wilted or died back on their own accord.
Make sure to cut them off at the base where they attach to the stem; otherwise, they’ll just keep blooming and won’t produce any new growth.
If you prefer using clippers instead of scissors, be sure to snip down with your clippers towards the base of the leaf rather than pulling up which could damage some parts of the leaf.
When to repot
As with most succulents, Gasteria liliputana doesn’t need to be repotted often. Once every two to three years should be sufficient. In general, you’ll know it’s time to repot when the plant starts to look crowded in its current pot, or when the roots start to grow out of the drainage holes. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and repot sooner rather than later.
Dormancy is a resting period that plants enter during winter. This is when the plant’s growth slows down and the plant goes into a state of rest. The plant will stop producing new leaves and flowers, and the leaves will begin to die back.
The plant will remain in this state until the weather warms up and it is time for the plant to start growing again. Plants enter dormancy so they have enough energy stored to survive the winter months. These periods are usually triggered by changes in day length, changes in temperature, or even by seasonal changes such as autumn.
For example, Gasteria liliputana enters dormancy during summer when the temperature stays warm and starts its growth cycle again once cooler temperatures return in autumn.
Gasteria liliputana flower & fragrance
The flowers of the Gasteria liliputana are small and tubular and can be green, white, or pink. They grow in clusters on long stalks and have a faint, sweet fragrance.
Gasteria liliputana is a succulent plant that grows up to 12 inches tall. It has a rosette growth habit and produces offsets. The leaves are lanceolate and have white spots on them.
They grow slowly, so they make great houseplants.
Gasteria liliputana is not toxic to humans or animals, but it can cause skin irritation if handled roughly.
USDA hardiness zones
Gasteria liliputana thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12.
Pests and diseases
One of the great things about Gasteria liliputana is that it’s relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, like all plants, it can fall victim to occasional problems. Some of the most common include aphids, mealybugs, scale, and root rot. Luckily, these problems can be easily remedied with a little diligence and knowledge.
The best way to prevent pests and disease from ruining your plant is by following proper care techniques: check for insects regularly, keep water away from the base of the plant (so as not to drown or suffocate it), and ensure adequate sunlight and air circulation, give supplemental feedings in times of drought or low light conditions, only repot when necessary (overpotting will lead to over watering), use sterilized soil or potting mix every time you pot up your plant.