Haworthia is a succulent that belongs to the same family as aloe. There are about 160 species. Most of them can be recognized by their rosette-like leaves growing out of the stem axis. There are many varying Haworthia types, that it is difficult to describe them in general. Many have very interestingly shaped colored or patterned leaves.
The Haworthia originally comes from South Africa and Namibia, where they thrive in rocky places in the shade of bushes and grasses. The plants are often sold as cacti. They are succulents, but they are not cacti.
Inflorescences appear from the center of the rosette. The flowers are small, but there are usually a lot of them on each inflorescence, up to 50. As there are different leaf shapes and types, the flowers also differ considerably.
Haworthia take a rest period of around eight weeks in July and August. Above-ground growth ceases. The roots are renewed in the earth. To do this, they use the substance of the old root. The plants are also suitable for hydroponics, although I recommend using pots with drainage holes.
Caring for the haworthia is not difficult. You just have to be careful with the watering. Too much water is clearly harmful. The roots, which are often fleshy, rot quite quickly. Under no circumstances should you water too much. Usually it is enough to give a sip of water once a week, even less in winter.
Opinions differ when it comes to fertilizer. Some hobby breeders recommend not to fertilize because it changes the growth, while others are recommend to fertilize regularly, but with weak cactus fertilizer. The best thing to do is to try it out for yourself, and then you will know exactly. Beside that, there isn’t much to do. Wintering succeeds without any problems. The cooler the winter is, the less water the plants need. Propagation is easy, the plants usually take care of it themselves. You just have to separate the pups and replant them. Overall, the Haworthia is a very versatile and easy-to-care plant.
1,000 Types of Succulents with Pictures
The location is important for a Haworthia to feel comfortable. It shouldn’t be too sunny, whether outdoors or indoors. The plants cope much better with shade. I have my Howarthia in the north window. It only gets some sun early in the morning and thrives there very well. There are, however, species and varieties that loves a little more sun.
- Light, partially shaded place
- Likes to be outdoors in summer
- No direct sun – causes the leaves to shrink
- Morning and evening sun is usually tolerated without any problems
- Get used to the sun slowly when moved outdoors
- A rain-protected place is favorable
- Normal room temperature in the room
Avoid heat build-up behind window panes.
- Better to put it in the east or west window
- Cooler in winter, but very bright
- Additional lighting is favorable
In the case of the plant substrate, it is beneficial if it is mineral. Otherwise, the soil has to be permeable to avoid waterlogging. Drainage holes in the planter is beneficial. This allows excess water to drain off easily. Avoid soils that are too heavy!
- Mixture of sharp sand and loose, coarse compost soil (1: 3)
- No clay, no peat
- Mineral substrate is favorable (pumice, lava gravel, expanded shale, coarse sand)
Planting and Repotting
There is not much to consider when planting or repotting. The substrate has to be right. It is recommended to repot the Haworthia regularly, about every other year. For me, the plants are in the ground longer and also thrive. It certainly depends on the type. Mine seems to be tough.
- Put in shallow vessels
- Group planting is good
- Repot in early spring, at the beginning of the growing season
- Always remove all dead leaves
- Larger vessel only if the rosettes cover the entire surface of the soil
- In general, however, it is best to repot annually or every two years, because the remains of the old roots should be removed, simply to avoid rot.
Watering and Fertilizing
As with all succulents, moisture does much more damage to the Haworthia than dryness. Before such a plant dries up, it has to stand dry for a long time. On the other hand, if the soil is too moist, it kills it quickly. The roots will rot. The plant can no longer absorb water when its stores (leaves) are full. The Haworthia does not tolerate very long drought, although it is a succulent plant.
- Water evenly during the main growing season, from April to November
- Let the top layer of soil dry off slightly between watering
- Do not water in July and August, just spray the plants with water – resting time
- Water significantly less in winter
- Never pour between the leaves, i.e. in the rosette – risk of rot
- Fertilize with diluted succulent and cactus fertilizer every month
Haworthia does not need to be pruned. You just need to remove the dried up leaves. Of course you can take a cutting, for example if you need a leaf or a pup for propagation. Otherwise you shouldn’t snip around at the plants.
Wintering is usually not a problem. Again, it is important not to water too much, especially when the plants are cool or cold, as they don’t need a lot of water. Standing water or constantly damp soil lead to rot and the Haworthia cannot survive that. You have to be very careful there. Less is usually more.
- Winter frost-free at 5 to 15°C
- Some species are surprisingly insensitive to cold
- It is also possible to overwinter at 16 to 18°C.
- The warm living room is not ideal
- The warmer the plants are in winter, the more light they need
- It may be necessary to use plant grow lights
Propagating the Haworthia is easy. There are multiple possibilities. Whether by offsets, leaf cuttings or seeds, it is really easy in principle.
1. Propagating Haworthia from offsets
Offsets (pups) can simply be cut off if they have well established roots. You can then plant them directly in a new container.
If the separated shoots have not yet formed roots, the piece is left to dry for about three days and then the cut surface is pressed into new plant substrate. They take root quite quickly.
2. Propagating Haworthia from leaf cuttings
Propagating Haworthia from leaf cuttings is a little more time-consuming and laborious. To do this, you separate a leaf from the plant. Let it sit for a few days so that the cut surface can dry out.
The leaf is then laid flat in a container filled with potting soil. Keep the substrate evenly moist but not too wet. Place the container in a bright, but not too warm location.
The leaf cutting should have roots after a few weeks. It can then be treated like an adult Haworthia.
3. Propagating Haworthia from seeds
- Growing from seeds is also possible and uncomplicated. As a rule, however, there are no single-variety plants. You never really get out of it.
- Very fine mineral pumice is suitable as a seed soil.
- It can be sown all year round, at temperatures between 15 and 20°C.
- Overheating is bad, and the germination process will stop.
- The germination capacity is limited. The seeds do not last longer than 1 year.
Pests and Diseases
Diseases are rare. If the plant dies, it is usually due to too much water.
Root insects, mealybugs and scale insects are pests. But these are often difficult to discover. They hide in the leaf rosettes or in the soil. It is therefore important to take a closer look at the plants from time to time. The pests can be countered with the usual means.
Common problem: Haworthia turning brown
What goes wrong most often with Haworthia is brown leaves. This is often because the plant has been given too much water, causing the roots to rot, and therefore the leaves turn brown. It may also be because water has entered the rosette of the plant, causing the rosette of the plant to rot. So water carefully!
Does your Haworthia have brown leaves? Get them out! With a small tug on the leaf, the leaf often comes loose from the plant. Otherwise remove the leaf with a clean and sharp knife.
There are numerous subgenera and species of this plant.
Haworthia angustifolia – stemless, sprouting, lanceolate, pointed, thin and often somewhat slack leaves, which form a rosette, finely serrated edges, white to pale pink flowers
Haworthia attenuata – stemless, sprouting, triangular leaves narrowed to the tip of the leaf, also forms a rosette, rough leaf surface with clearly raised warts
Haworthia coarctata – stem-forming, sprouting, upright, but inwardly curved leaves that form a rosette. Brownish green leaf blades, very interesting plant
Haworthia fasciata – stemless, sprouting, upright growing pointed leaves which form a rosette. Rough leaf surface, leaf underside with warts. The white horizontal stripes on the green leaves are characteristic.
Haworthia bolusii – stemless, slowly sprouting, inwardly curved, elongated lanceolate leaves, growing to form a rosette, leaf blade bluish green, thorns on leaf margin and leaf keel
Haworthia cuspidata – stemless, sprouting, densely leafed rosettes, soft gray-green leaves with hard, bristly tips, leaves obovate, wedge-shaped, very short and about the same length as thick
Haworthia margaritifera – very short trunk, sprouting, triangular-ovoid, coarse, dark green leaves that form a rosette. The white warts, which are densely packed on the leaves, are characteristic.
Haworthia reinwardtii – very diverse in appearance, many varieties and forms, e.g. stem-like leaf rosette, leaves that are spread out upright or inwardly curved, rough leaf surface, blue-green leaves with flat white nodules
Haworthia chloracantha – sprouting, stemless, firm to rough leaves, very light green, short and thick, leaf surface patterned like a network, thorns on leaf edges and large thorn on leaf keel
Haworthia nigra – stem-forming, slowly sprouting, upright, bent back, spreading, ovate-triangular leaves, forming a rosette, blackish to gray-green leaf blades, rough leaf surface with warts
Haworthia venosa – stemless and slowly sprouting, curved, ovate-triangular leaves that grow into a rosette, reticulate leaf surface, leaf underside with warts
Haworthia emelyae – rarely sprouting, stemless, leaves clearly truncated, pointed, hardly translucent, forming a loose rosette, dark green, lined leaf surface with scattered small spots and indistinct raised warts
Haworthia viscosa – trunk-forming, sprouting, spreading, triangular leaves, closely arranged in three rows on the shoot, unusual appearance, rough leaf surface. Leaf tips spread out and piercing.
Haworthia truncata – stemless, slowly sprouting, suddenly truncated leaves, arranged in two rows on the shoot, dark gray-green with flat, semi-translucent end surfaces, rough leaf surface with tiny warts, bizarre appearance
The Haworthia is easy to care for. It impresses with its diverse appearance and the many shapes and colors. They are interesting plants and there are many plant enthusiasts who have become collectors and who cannot hoard enough different plants. They buy, trade and breed until there is no more space for new specimens. I am not necessarily one of the lovers of the genus, but there are some beautiful varieties. But for me it also fails because of the space and too much sun. Nevertheless, I can only recommend Haworthia, decorative, easy-care and grateful. She only resents too much water, heat and midday sun, otherwise there are no problems.