Gasteria disticha (Great Karoo Ox Tongue Plant)

Gasteria disticha

Last updated on July 24th, 2022 at 12:39 am

Gasteria disticha, also known as the great Karoo ox tongue plant, is an evergreen succulent that can be found growing in shallow rocky soil and it requires very little water or sunlight to thrive.

The Great Karoo ox tongue plant is a succulent plant with large rosettes of wrinkled leaves and one of the most resilient plants you can find, it’s also easy to care for once you know how to grow.

These plants are related to the species Gasteria bicolor, and they have very similar needs in terms of lighting, water, and soil conditions.

Origin and distribution

Gasteria disticha is a species of flowering plant in the family Asphodelaceae, native to the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It is a member of the genus Gasteria, which consists of about 80 species of succulent plants.

The name gasteria comes from the Greek word for stomach, referring to the shape of the flowers. Gasteria disticha is found in the Great Karoo region, as well as in parts of the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape.

These regions have desert-like conditions that are semi-arid or arid. Most gasterias live on rocky hillsides or outcrops with gravel, sandstone, shale, or limestone soils.

Gasteria disticha propagation

Gasteria disticha

Gasteria disticha is a popular plant for propagation because it is easy to grow and care for. To propagate, simply take a cutting from the plant and allow it to callous over for a few days. Then, plant the cutting in well-draining soil and water it sparingly.

The cutting will soon take root and grow into a new plant. The Great Karoo ox tongue is considered an invasive species in California due to its ability to spread quickly and form large colonies.

It can be grown as a houseplant or outdoors in shady locations with well-drained soil that doesn’t get too much sun exposure. When planting this type of Gasteria outside, make sure there are enough rocks near the roots so they don’t come in contact with wet soil which may lead to rot.

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If you do decide to put your plants outside during the summer months, make sure they have ample protection from heat and strong sunlight by placing them under trees or some other type of shade.

These types of plants thrive best when provided a lot of air circulation around their leaves.

Gasteria disticha care information

Gasteria disticha

Gasteria disticha is a beautiful, low-maintenance succulent that’s perfect for beginning gardeners. These tough plants are native to the dry, rocky slopes of South Africa, so they’re used to harsh conditions.

In fact, they actually prefer to be on the drier side, so be sure to plant them in a well-draining pot or soil mix. Gasteria disticha is also tolerant of a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade.

Light requirement

This plant grows best in bright, indirect light but can tolerate some direct sun. If the leaves start to yellow or brown, that means the plant is getting too much sun and should be moved to a shadier spot. Gasteria disticha can also grow well in artificial light, making it a great option for indoor growers.

Soil/potting mix

Gasteria disticha grows best in a well-drained, sandy soil mix. If you live in an area with clay soils, consider adding some sand to your potting mix to improve drainage.

The plant does not like to sit in wet soils for long periods of time. A potting mix that is too rich in organic matter can also cause problems for Gasteria disticha, so be sure to use a mix that is well-drained and not too heavy on the peat moss.

The Great Karoo Ox Tongue Plant prefers slightly acidic conditions but should grow well in most potting mixes available at garden centers.

To check if your soil is acid enough, place a drop of distilled white vinegar on it and watch what happens. Vinegar will react with acidic compounds by releasing bubbles or producing bubbles after contact with them but will have no reaction with basic compounds.

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Gasteria disticha are native to South Africa and thrive in dry, rocky habitats. They are succulents, so they don’t need much water. In fact, too much water can actually kill them.

Water them about once a week, making sure the soil is completely dry before you water again. And if your plant starts to droop, that means it needs more water. Be careful not to overwater!


To fertilize, mix one-part perlite with two parts of potting soil and sprinkle a small amount on the surface of the media. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly over the top and water thoroughly.

Wait about six weeks before adding more fertilizer. If using liquid fertilizer, follow the instructions on the label for mixing and application rates.

Fertilizer should be added every three months in the spring and summer months or four times a year in the fall and winter months. After feeding, wait 6-8 weeks before feeding again.

You can feed with either liquids or slow-release pellets. Liquid fertilizers are mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions and applied as directed on the package label. Slow-release pellets are mixed with potting soil following the manufacturer’s directions and sprinkled across the surface of container media.


Gasteria disticha is a hardy plant that can tolerate temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. However, it prefers warmer temperatures and will thrive in temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.

This species is frost tolerant and it can be grown outside from spring through autumn where daytime temperatures are above 10 degrees Celsius for long periods of time or for winters where day-time temperatures remain above 5 degrees Celsius for many months at a time.


Gasteria disticha is a low-maintenance succulent that tolerates dry conditions and doesn’t mind if the humidity is on the low side. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may find that your Gasteria disticha doesn’t thrive as well. The leaves of the plant will start to yellow and drop off if the air is too moist.

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The ideal humidity range is between 30% and 50%. You can place the pot on a tray filled with rocks and water or place it near an open window.


Gasteria disticha is a fast-growing, semi-succulent plant that can reach up to two feet in height. It has long, strap-like leaves with white spots that resemble an ox tongue.

The plant blooms in the summertime, producing pink or orange flowers. It does not require much water and will thrive in the dry climate of most homes. The plants prefer bright light but not direct sunlight.

They will grow best at 70°F or higher. To avoid losing too many leaves during the winter months, keep your plant in a warm spot out of drafts and cold air flow from vents or doors near it.

When to repot

Gasteria disticha should be repotted every two to three years. The best time to repot is in the spring after the plant has flowered. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one.

Gently remove the plant from its pot and loosen any roots that are tightly bound. Place the plant in the new pot and fill in with the potting mix, gently tamping it down around the base of the plant.

Water thoroughly and place the plant back in bright light but not direct sun. Keep soil moist but not wet for at least a week following transplanting.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Gasteria disticha is a summer-growing succulent from South Africa. It’s an easy plant to grow, but it does require a winter rest period. During this time, the plant will go dormant and the leaves will start to die back.

The plant will need less water during this time and should be kept in a cool, dry place. Once spring arrives, the plant will start to grow again and will need more water.

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In order for the plant to thrive during its dormancy period, make sure you fertilize it before you put it into storage.

Fertilizing once every two weeks with a diluted 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 fertilizer solution or with kelp tea would be best.

If your plants are in pots, make sure they are well-drained and that there are holes at the bottom of the pot so that any excess water can drain out.

Flowers & fragrance

Gasteria disticha

The Gasteria disticha produces lovely white flowers that have a sweet fragrance. It is a low-maintenance plant that is perfect for those who are new to growing succulents.

Growth rate

Gasteria disticha is a slow-growing succulent plant that reaches about 18 inches in height. It produces rosettes of rigid, light green leaves and flowers during the winter. It can be propagated by removing offsets or cuttings from the rosette.


Gasteria disticha is not toxic to humans or animals. In most cases, ingestion of this plant will cause no harm. However, it has been noted that there are some cases of skin irritation after contact with the sap.

USDA hardiness zones

Gasteria disticha thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, though it will survive temperatures as low as 18°F. In warmer regions, this is an ideal plant for hanging baskets or terrariums. It can be used indoors as a houseplant, too.

Pests and diseases

Gasteria disticha is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases. These include root rot, stem rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. All of these can be controlled with proper care and treatment.

However, if left unchecked, they can cause serious damage to the plant. For example, powdery mildew will cover the leaves in a white fungus and it will kill them.

In addition, most Gasteria plants are not frost-hardy so they need to be brought indoors when cold weather sets in or else moved into a protected area outdoors where it doesn’t freeze often.