How To Grow & Care For Haworthia


Haworthia is a delightful little succulent that makes a very attractive small houseplant. These small, low-growing plants form rosettes of fleshy green leaves that are generously covered with white, pearly warts or bands, giving them a distinctive appearance. The genus was named in the 18th century after the British botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth, and it has since become a favorite among houseplant enthusiasts.

Haworthia is often mistaken for Aloes or other succulents, but they have a unique charm of their own. They’re often grown in small clusters in wide, shallow dishes. Over time, clusters will naturally enlarge as the mother plant sends off small plantlets. These attractively small plants often surprise people with their ability to thrive in low light and tolerate neglect, making them perfect for inexperienced gardeners or those without a “green thumb.”

A wide range of varieties exists within the Haworthia genus, each with its own unique appearance. Some of the most popular types include Haworthia attenuata, Haworthia cooperi, and Haworthia reinwardtii. Though they vary in appearance, their care requirements are quite similar. Here’s an in-depth guide to understanding and caring for these intriguing plants.

Common NamesZebra Cactus, Pearl Plant, Star Window Plant
Botanical NameHaworthia
Plant TypeSucculent
Mature Size3-5 inches tall, 3-6 inches wide
Sun ExposurePartial sun
Soil TypeWell-drained, succulent mix
Hardiness Zones10-11
Native AreaSouth Africa

Haworthia Care

Caring for Haworthia is simple and suitable for beginners. These plants require a moderate amount of sunlight, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering. They are tolerant of neglect and forgiving of mistakes, often thriving even when other plants might falter.

Due to their desert origins, Haworthias are adapted to storing water in their thick leaves. Therefore, overwatering is more of a concern than underwatering. Ensuring the proper soil type and container, along with adhering to a sensible watering schedule, can ensure a happy and healthy plant.

Light Requirement for Haworthia

Unlike many succulents, Haworthias do not require full sun and may actually become scorched in harsh sunlight. They prefer partial sun or shade. Indoors, placing them near a north or east-facing window provides adequate light.

Soil Requirements for Haworthia

Haworthia thrives in a well-draining succulent mix, with some sand or extra perlite added for more drainage. The pH level should be slightly acidic to neutral (6.6 to 7.5).

Water Requirements for Haworthia

Watering should be done sparingly for Haworthia. Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering, and then water thoroughly. In winter, watering should be reduced to once a month.

Temperature and Humidity

Haworthia prefers temperatures between 60°F to 75°F but can tolerate a bit cooler temperatures down to 40°F. They do not have specific humidity requirements but do well in typical household humidity levels.


A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength can be applied once in spring and once in summer.

Pruning Haworthia

Pruning is generally not needed. However, dead or shriveled leaves can be gently removed to maintain appearance.

Propagating Haworthia

Haworthia can be propagated through offsets, which are readily produced around the base of the mature plant. Simply remove these and plant them in a well-drained soil mix.

How To Grow Haworthia From Seed

Growing Haworthia from seed is a slow process but can be done. Sow seeds in a well-drained soil mix, keep warm and lightly moist, and allow several weeks for germination.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Mealybugs can be removed with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Root Rot

Overwatering can cause root rot, and prevention through proper watering is the best solution.

Common Problems With Haworthia

Browning Leaves

This could be a sign of too much sunlight or overwatering. Adjusting light exposure and watering can usually rectify the problem.

Soft, Mushy Leaves

This is usually a sign of overwatering, and it may require repotting in fresh, dry soil.

Pro Tips

  1. Avoid placing Haworthia in full sun; they prefer partial sun or shade.
  2. Let the soil dry completely between waterings.
  3. Use a well-draining soil mix, preferably designed for succulents.
  4. Propagate using offsets for easy new plants.
  5. Do not over-fertilize; twice a year with diluted fertilizer is sufficient.