Haworthia Attenuata pictured above in a Living Coaster.
The Look: Resembles a tiny aloe plant. With fleshy green pointed leaves and white bumpy stripes. With low light, the leaves tend to get a little wild in search of sunlight. I've had some that resemble the tentacles of an octopus or squid. With bright light, the leaves will stay small and more orderly.
Daily Care: Plant in quick draining cactus soil. Water frequently in spring summer months, the soil does not have to dry completely between waterings at this time, just make sure it’s not sitting in excess water. Fertilize with diluted liquid cactus fertilizer once a month during the spring/summer, never during the winter. The zebra plant likes indirect full sun to bright shade but will tolerate full shade for a while. If the leaves turn white or light yellow, it is getting too much direct sun. This plant does well on an indoor window sill or as an office plant if you give it some weekend sun.
Flowers: Not common for indoor plants, but it can produce small pink or white flowers at the end of an inflorescence (thin stem).
Propagation: once mature, offshoots will emerge from the bottom of the plant. These offshoots can be removed with a knife, left to callus over, then replanted.
Growth: Slow growing, especially during the winter. You will probably need to re-pot after 2 or more years. To keep it small, you can also trim off the bottom leaves if they spread out too far to fit easily in the coaster.
Living Coaster Compatibility: Excellent. If planted at a young age (small size), this small and slow growing plant thrives in a Living Coaster. This plant prefers not to have water on inside the rosette, so watering it from below like in a coaster is ideal. It is quite hardy and can tolerate frequent waterings in the spring/summer and as little as 1-2 waterings in the winter time. It can also handle temperatures down to near freezing.
Orostachys boehmeri or Orostachys iwarenge a.k.a Chinese Dunce Cap
The Look: Small soft rosettes in a bluish green/grey color with shooting off runners of tiny offspring - similar to a spider or strawberry plant. This plant gets its nickname for the bloom that emerges from the center of the mother plant. It creates a tall cone shape, similar to a dunce hat.
Daily care: This plant can tolerate poor soil, but it needs to drain well. It prefers full sun, if it receives low light, the petals will start to stretch and it will look more like a daisy than a rose. Wait until the soil is dry before watering again. Trim away dead leaves as it can attract bugs (mealybugs love this plant!) or promote rot.
Flowers: A tall cone of tiny flower buds will emerge from the mother plant in autumn. The flowers are very small and a creamy white color. Once the plant blooms, it will die shortly after.
Propagation: Very easy once the mother has produced a baby on a runner. If possible, let the baby plant grow a few roots before separating it from the mother. New plants can also be propagated from mature leaves.
Growth: The mother plant is slow growing and doesn’t get much larger than 1.5” across.
Living Coaster Compatibility: An easy plant to care for and with it’s small baby offshoots, it’s a very interesting plant. This plant will not tolerate sitting in damp soil, make sure to use a course cactus soil and don’t over-water. It can handle a few weeks without water so it’s good for travelers. Chinese Dunce caps also dislike water on it’s leaves so by watering it from the bottom up with a living coaster, makes for a happy plant!
Mammillaria Gracilis - a.k.a. The Thimble Cactus
The Look: a rich, bright green flesh with groups of delicate white snowflake shaped needles. A rounded cylinder shape with many branching arms. The needles are perpendicular to the plant so it’s easy to handle and won’t accidentally bite you.
Daily Care: This cactus can tolerate both full sun and bright shade - make sure to gradually bring it to full sun if it’s been living in the shade for a while or it can burn. In the summer season, it can handle regular waterings with well draining soil and it fully drying between waterings. During the winter it prefers to have very little water.
Flowers: Small creamy white or light yellow flowers, the blooms will emerge from the ‘nodes’ grown from the previous summer season giving a flower crown effect.
Propagation: Very easy! The branches are quite easy to detach and will form roots once placed on soil.
Growth: Overall it is quite slow to grow in size. During the summer months it can grow numerous branches but the height and diameter will not change dramatically. In low light, it will lose it’s rounded shape and become more pointed and stretched in search for sunlight.
Living Coaster Compatibility: A great choice if you frequently travel (it can handle a long drought), tend to take the cooler winter months off from drinking ice-cold drinks, or have low humidity during the winter months. This cactus really enjoys having a small pot and will happily live in a Living Coaster for a couple years before needing more room. With it's non-prickly needles, it's safe to be around after a couple cocktails!