How to grow and care for haworthia

Haworthia fasciata. Getty Images

Haworthias are succulent plants native to southern parts of Africa where they grow in dry, desert like conditions. Most make low-maintenance house plants, as they don’t need frequent watering. There are more than 60 species with an exciting range of leaf shapes and patterns, from Haworthia cooperi with its translucent leaf tips to the white striped Haworthia fasciata, also known as the zebra cactus.

Haworthias are small and slow growing, with varieties on average reaching between 4cm and 25cm in height. Their lifespan varies depending on growing conditions – in the wild haworthias can live for 50 years but this isn’t likely when kept indoors. Haworthias are easy to look after – the main thing to remember to keep your plant in good health is to avoid overwatering. They will thrive on an east- or west-facing window in bright light in temperatures that don’t drop below 10ºC. With the right conditions, many haworthias produce flowers in summer, on a long stem.

Haworthia is not toxic to humans or animals.

How to grow haworthias

Grow haworthias on an east- or west-facing windowsill in bright light. Avoid direct sunlight as this may scorch the leaves and water only when the compost has dried out.

Where to grow haworthias

Haworthia limifolia. Getty Images
Haworthia limifolia. Getty Images

Haworthias do best in a warm room but can grow well in temperature between 10-25ºC. Keep them out of direct sunlight and draughts. They make ideal plants for a sunny living room or conservatory.

How to care for haworthias

Haworthia plants do not need watering often. Let the soil dry out completely and then water it well, allowing it to drain. Then let it dry out again before watering, avoiding the leaves. If water collects between the leaves it can lead to rot. Feed around every three months with a cactus fertiliser. Most succulents do best when pot bound, so repot only once your plant has filled its pot. This could be from around two to five years, depending on the size of your haworthia.

How to prune haworthias

Remove any yellowing or dead leaves using clean tools to avoid infection.

How to propagate haworthia

Offsets of Haworthia fasciata. Getty Images
Offsets of Haworthia fasciata. Getty Images

Haworthias are clump-forming plants that produce offsets, also known as ‘pups’. These ‘baby’ plants can be split off when they reach about a third of the size of the parent plant.

Potting up haworthia pups. Getty Images
Potting up haworthia pups. Getty Images

How to remove a pup:

1.     Cut or pull away the offset – it should come away fairly easily.
2.     Leave the offsets in a tray overnight to let the cut end dry out and harden over.
3.     Place in a pot of moist compost to encourage fast root growth.

Pests and diseases

The pest you’re most likely to find on succulents is mealybugs. These are white waxy insects that you’ll find in the crevices of the stems and leaves. Wipe the leaves using a damp, soapy cloth and then rinse this soapy liquid off.

The other thing to look out for is root rot. This is caused by overwatering, which means the compost around the roots is too wet and rot sets in.

Advice on buying haworthia

  • There are many types of haworthia to choose from so it’s worth having a look at all different species on offer before buying
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before buying or when your plant arrives

Where to buy haworthia

Haworthia species to grow

Haworthia cooperi  a low growing variety with pale green leaves around 5cm long and white to pink flowers during the growing season. The ends of its leaves are translucent.

Height x Spread: 10cm x 10m

Haworthia fasciata – a popular type of haworthia, also known as the zebra plant because the dark green leaves have white stripes. This rosette-forming succulent has white, tubular flowers.

H x S: 10cm x 40cm

Haworthia cymbiformisthis has pale green leaves with dark stripes. ‘Cymbiformis’ means having the form of a boat, as the leaves are boat shaped and curve upwards.

H x S: 8cm x 10cm

Haworthia limifolia – this variety has ridged, dark green leaves and is also known as the fairy washboard because of its unusual bumps. The bumps are green rather than white.

H x S: 20cm x 15cm

Haworthia truncata  – this unusual succulent has rectangular, grey-green leaves arranged in rows. These look like they’ve been cut (truncated) hence its name.

H x S: 35cm x 35cm

Haworthia pumila – one of the largest types of haworthia, reaching 25cm tall when mature. Its long pointy leaves have raised white raised spots on them.

H x S: 25cm x 15cm

Haworthia tessellata – also known as veined haworthia, is a small species with triangular brown to green leaves, which have roughly square pattern on them.

H x S: 15cm x 10cm







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