How to care for haworthia?

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata – Info and Care

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata is a stemless succulent plant that looks like a small grape cluster and makes fat little colonies, up to 3 inches (7,5 cm) in diameter. It is very quickly offseting and smaller growing form of Haworthia cooperi. Haworthia cooperi has a lot of varieties, but Haworthia cooperi var. truncata is loved by the most due to the highly transparent windows and the symmetricity. Leaves are succulent soft and glassy (almost transparent), 20 to 25 per rosette, round-tipped, somewhat spherical with lovely blue-green translucent-patterns. They become reddish with too much sun or not enough water. When flowering in spring to summer, it bears a peduncle simple inflorescence (up to 12 inches (30 cm) long) of whitish flowers.

Scientific Classification

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Haworthia


Haworthia obtusa f. truncata, Haworthia ikra

Haworthia cooperi – How to Grow and Care

Haworthia cooperi are not considered difficult houseplants to grow—if you can keep a pot of aloe alive on a windowsill, chances are you can do the same with a dish of Haworthia. As with all succulents, the most dangerous situation is too much water—they should never be allowed to sit in water under any circumstances. At the same time, these decorative little plants can be grown in interesting containers such as tea cups and even miniature baby shoes.

If you’re given a Haworthia in such a container, make sure the container had adequate drainage. If it doesn’t, it might be a good idea to pop the plant out of its container and add a layer of gravel to the bottom to reduce the wicking action of the soil above. Finally, look out for sunburned spots on your plants.


Haworthia are small (usually remaining between 3 inches (7.5 cm) and 5 (12.5 cm) inches in height) and relatively slow-growing. They are often grown in small clusters in wide, shallow dishes. Over time, clusters will naturally enlarge as the mother plant sends off small plantlets. When the cluster has outgrown its dish, repot in the spring or early summer into a new wide and shallow dish with fresh potting soil. This is also the time to take offsets for propagation.

Growing Conditions

Light: Bright light, but not direct sunlight. These grow in similar conditions to other succulents. White or yellow leaves usually signify too much sun.

Water: Water evenly and generously in the summer, letting the soil media dry out between watering. In the winter, reduce watering to every other month. Never allow water to collect in the rosette.

Temperature: Warmer summers but cool in the winter (down to 50˚F/10˚C).

Soil: Use a cactus mix or very fast-draining potting soil mixed with sand.

Fertilizer: Fertilize during the summer growing season with a cactus fertilizer. Don’t feed during the winter.


Haworthia cooperi can be propagated at repotting time using offsets from the mother plant. When taking offsets, use a sharp knife or snippers and cut as close to the mother stem as possible to including as many roots as possible, then allow the offset to dry briefly before repotting it (similar to cuttings from other succulents).

Pot the offsets in a small pot, using the same soil as the mother plant, put it a warm, bright spot, and make sure to adequately water.


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Haworthia Species


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown – Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown – Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From leaf cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

San Diego, California

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Haworthia is a genus of about 150 species of small succulent plants. Like Aloe, Gasteria, and Astroloba, they are members of the family Asphodelaceae. Most species are endemic to South Africa, with some species extending into neighboring countries, in Swaziland, Namibia, and Mozambique. Many species of Haworthia have been moved into new separate genera Haworthiopsis and Tulista.

Haworthias grow solitary or can be clump-forming with usually stemless rosettes of fleshy leaves that vary in size, shape, texture, and color. Even two plants that grow side-by-side in the same collection can have an entirely different coloration or markings. In some species, stems can grow up to 20 inches (50 cm) long. Flowers are small, generally white, and borne in slender inflorescences that are usually erect and unbranched.

The genus is named after the British botanist and entomologist Adrian Hardy Haworth.

Growing Conditions for Haworthia

Haworthias are easy to grow container and garden succulents. They are usually grown in containers as indoor plants, but you can bring them outdoors in summer.

Photo via

Although some species can grow in full, bright sun, most Haworthias live in more sheltered spots, and they are adapted to thrive in partial shade. In habitat, they tend to grow under bushes and rock overhangs. This adaptation makes them well suited to lower light conditions found in homes and offices. Place the potted plants in a bright area with some protection from the hottest rays of the day. White, yellow, or red-tinged leaves are usually an indicator that a Haworthia plant is receiving too much sunlight. Deep shade tends to weaken the plant over a prolonged period.


All Haworthia species do not like their roots to remain wet for prolonged periods, so their potting soil should be well-drained. In habitat, they are found growing in sandy soils in rocky areas. Use a commercial succulent soil or make your own well-draining potting mix.

Haworthias like warmer temperatures in the summer but cool in the winter. The natural cooler temperatures found in an unheated room during the winter are perfect because they like to rest at that time of year. However, Haworthias do not like being too cold, no lower than 40 °F (4.4 °C). Some species can survive a light frost for a short period, but it is best not to take chances. Most Haworthias are cold hardy down to USDA hardiness zone 10a, 30 °F (-1.1 °C).

Pot Size

Shallow pots are generally better than deep pots, but some Haworthias have large, thick roots that ask for a deeper pot. Be sure that your container has at least one drain hole.

General Care for Haworthia

Haworthias are one of the easiest succulents to care for, which makes them popular houseplants. They are great plants for beginners.

These succulents are very tolerant of underwatering, but overwatering can quickly lead to rotting. From spring to fall, water thoroughly, then wait until the top of the soil dries out before watering again. During the winter rest period, water just enough to keep leaves from shriveling. If you use saucers, empty any standing water promptly.


Haworthias are small, slow-growing succulents, and they do not require much fertilizer. For optimum growth, fertilization is a good idea. Feed only with a dilute fertilizer and only during the active growing season. Avoid summer fertilizing as Haworthias are in a short rest period. Do not fertilize newly potted plants for the first year.

These succulents are generally slow-growing and can stay in the same pot for years. For best health, Haworthias should be repotted into fresh soil every two to three years. Many Haworthias freely offset and form clusters much larger than the individual plant. When the cluster has outgrown its pot, repot your Haworthia in the spring or early summer. Clean any dead or shriveled leaves, and move the plant into a larger pot with fresh soil mix only if the cluster covers the entire surface of the soil. Repotting time is also the time to take offsets for propagation.

How to Propagate Haworthia

Vegetative propagation, especially by offsets, is the quickest and most common method of propagating Haworthias. These succulents can also be propagated by leaves and seeds.


Besides being the easiest method to propagate Haworthias, offset propagation also helps keep a good shape for a plant. Most Haworthias will make offsets sooner or later. Remove the offsets when they have started developing their own roots. Allow the offsets to dry for one or two days and plant them in a small pot with a well-draining soil mix. Put the pot in a warm, bright spot and water when the soil is dry.


Those plants that never or only rarely offset can be propagated from leaf cuttings. Remove a healthy leaf from the main plant along with a slight bit of attached stem tissue. Allow the leaf to callous over for several days, and then put in a container with a well-draining soil mix. Keep the container in a bright place without direct sunlight and water when the top of the soil is dry. In many cases, one or more new plants will slowly form from the leaf. Roots will appear in weeks, but rosettes often take a longer time to develop.


Sow seeds in spring or fall in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil moist until germination that usually takes one to two weeks. Transplant seedlings into individual pots after the first or second year.

Pests and Diseases of Haworthia

Haworthias are generally free of the most pests that attack succulents. The one exception is mealybugs. They can be a common problem but easily resolved by physical removal or with standard houseplant insecticides. When soil is kept too moist, fungus gnats can be another problem.

Constantly wet soil can also lead to root rot, a common problem with Haworthias. Symptoms of a rotted root include the stoppage of growth, reduction in plant or leaf size, or leaf shriveling. Occasionally such root rots can move into the stem resulting in the death of the plant.

Toxicity of Haworthia

Haworthia species are generally non-toxic to humans and animals.


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Haworthia (Zebra Cactus / Pearl and Star Window Plant)

Haworthia Step by Step Care Guide


Haworthias are reasonably adaptable plants that that will take various light conditions, but neither direct sunlight or deep shade. Direct sunlight will make the leaves of all Haworthia’s go an ugly red, purple or brown colour. Move to a shady spot and if the damage isn’t too bad these colourings will fade over time.

neither direct sunlight or deep shade

Deep shade tends to weaken the plant over a prolonged period. You might notice it becoming an excessive light green, losing the markings or that the plant stops being compact and instead becomes lanky. If you notice this happening more light is needed.


A surviving plant will get by with watering just once a month, however to get the plant thriving it will need to be done at least once a fortnight, possibly once a week in very warm temperatures.

Either way, water well and then only water again when the soil has largely dried out. These plants are very tolerant of underwatering but will succumb quickly to rotting if overwatered.

Make sure you try your best to keep water out of the crown or rosette of the plant, in cool temperatures doing this will again encourage rotting.


As is common with many other succulent plants humidity is not important. However, they do like good ventilation so avoid very tight “airless” corners of your home.


Feed your Haworthia very occasionally and when you do, ensure it’s only a weak solution. Feeding two or three times a year is probably plenty. Plants which are producing massive numbers of offset around its base might benefit from a little more feed, but still, go easy as they’re not big feeders.


Average indoor warmth between Spring and Autumn / Fall. The natural cooler temperatures found in an unheated or guest room during Winter are perfect because this plant likes to rest at that time of year. However, it doesn’t like being too cold and absolutely no lower than 4°C (40°F).

It’s rare for any Haworthia to out grow its pot quickly, therefore repotting is only usually required infrequently and normally only when offsets have filled the pot. Sometimes the clump works itself free, becomes unstable and starts falling out of the container so you’ll have to repot to get it stable again.

If you do find yourself needing to repot your plant, use a similar soil composition to what was being used previously. Normally this will be standard houseplant or cactus compost with grit or perlite added to aid in drainage.

If you divide the plant and remove a number of the offsets to reduce the overall size of the clump you can probably just reuse the existing pot / container. If not, just choose a pot slightly bigger than the last.


When you repot your Haworthia you can separate the offsets from the parent. Use a sharp knife and cut as close to the parent plant as possible, ensure the offset has some roots. Sometimes a knife isn’t even needed as the offset will be loose like a wobbly tooth and just come away naturally with a small tug. Just don’t be too aggressive!

Wait a day for the offset to dry slightly this reduces the chances of the raw “wound” from rotting when added to compost. Then pot up in a small container using a standard potting or cactus compost mix. Water and keep warm.

In my experience, I’ve had much better success by doing this at the end of Spring or during Summer when it’s both warmer and lighter.

Speed of Growth

Expect slow growth. Although some of the fleshy more leafy varieties such as H. margaritifera or the Pearl Plant grow quite a bit faster.


Yes, this is a flowering houseplant. The flowers will normally appear in Summer months on the end of a long stem (inflorescence) if they’ve been treated well during the year. If you want to see what they look like, be sure to check out our readers’ photos in the comments section further below.

Height / Spread

Haworthia is a small plant by design and anything from 4 cm (2 in) to 20 cm (8 in) in height is usual. The flower stem though can be quite substantial in length.

This is a pretty narrow and slender plant, but it spreads and multiplies easily through offsets so individually they aren’t very wide, but if left alone they will form a clump within a few years. The photo below shows what, at first glance, looks like just one plant, but if you look at the base you can see it’s actually two individual plants.

Are Haworthias Poisonous?

As well as all the other positive traits about the Haworthia, another bonus is that it’s not poisonous to people, cats or dogs.

Anything else?

These plants are compact but when treated correctly they do produce offsets quite easily.

This means the plant will spread and grow into a clump, so one solo plant at the start will quickly become many which in turn will eventually fill a pot to add some impressive visual appeal. You can let the clump continue to grow and spread within the existing container, or separate them for even more plants.

How to Care for a Haworthia Summary

  1. Moderate Light Levels Avoid direct sunlight and very shady areas.

  2. Moderate Watering Once a week or so in Summer and once every two weeks in Winter.

  3. Temperature Normal indoor room temperatures. 10°C (50°F) to 29°C (85°F)

  4. Feeding Try to fertilise once every three months when it’s growing.

  • Doesn’t like to be overwatered
  • Won’t tolerate cold temperatures
  • Keep out of direct sunlight

Haworthia Problems

Leaves going red

This also happens with the Christmas Cactus, and it occurs when the plant is being exposed to direct sunlight i.e. it’s getting too much light. Find it a new home which is slightly darker, or provide shading. In a few weeks, the red should start to fade and look normal again.

Black spots / Areas

Usually caused by overwatering, or when water is allowed to pool in the crown or between the leaf voids. The plant is basically rotting. Increase the intervals between watering, and ensure it’s not sitting in water for prolonged periods.

Plant collapse

This has likely been caused by a toxic combination of overwatering and exposure to cold temperatures.

Remember that Haworthias are warmth loving houseplants with only moderate watering requirements. It could be easier to think of them as Desert Cacti when it comes to their needs in these areas. Just minus the sunlight otherwise you’re causing a different problem!

Wrinkling leaves

You will have to use your own judgment here. Wrinkling leaves on a Haworthia are normally caused by either no water for a prolonged period or too frequent watering. If you look back on how the plant has been watered over the last few months you should be able to judge which is the cause and adjust.

If you’ve got a brand new plant and it’s already come like that, you could take the plant out of its pot and examine the soil and feel the moisture level.

Brown dead Haworthia leaf tips

This is one of our most popular questions. I would point out that in most instances some degree of leaf browning is normal. Your plant might have accidentally had its tips knocked at some point, or it’s placed in an area with very dry air, such as near a heat source like a radiator.

You could try moving your Haworthia to a new home to prevent further browning, especially if it’s quite disfiguring. But in all likelihood, the damage in most cases is confined to the very tips of the leaves and it could just be a case of not needing to do anything other than snipping the brown ends off.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on

Credit for the photo of the three Haworthia plants – Article / Gallery – Ylanite Koppens
Credit for the photo of the two plants in the white pot – Article / Gallery – Ruby
Credit for the photo of the Haworthia from above – Gallery – Andrea Rivera Arana
Credit for the Third picture in gallery – Jacopo Werther / Stephen Boisvert
Credit for the Sixth picture in gallery – Mattman723

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Growing Haworthias

An excerpt with permission from a longer article at, the now defunct web site of David Martin. We have made some changes relating to Northwest growing conditions.

Light for your Haworthias

At some times of the year here in the Pacific Northwest, light is in short supply, and I often see fat, green, elongated Haworthias that are distorted beyond recognition by low light levels. However some growers just prefer the big green soft Haworthias that are a result of growing in low light. If this is the case with you, it will work most of the time with most of the Haworthias, but, in my opinion, will result in a great deal of sameness.

In most cases it is hard to give your Haworthia too much light. The exception here is a newly acquired tender plant that needs to harden up. To put a plant in direct sunlight that has never seen the sun will cause a fatal sunburn. If you place your Haworthias in the brightest light you have that is not direct sunlight, you will grow into very nice looking plants. For growing, a greenhouse is ideal; next choose a sunny South facing window; then an East or West facing window. Save your North windows for ferns. If a South facing window has a tremendous amount of sunlight, slowly acclimate your new plants by placing several layers of a thin lacy cloth between the plant and the sun. Then slowly remove a layer at a time at three week intervals to allow the plant to adjust to the hot sun.

Also remember that since a plant in the windowsill is partially protected from the suns ultraviolet rays by the glass, taking a windowsill or greenhouse plant and placing it in the direct bright outdoor sunlight, for even a few minutes, could burn the plant so it is disfigured for years. I recommend that any move to the outside in the summer be under the shade of a tree. If you must put your plant directly in the sun, do it very gradually, just as you would treat yourself when acquiring a suntan in the spring. If your are blessed with skin that does not burn, ask one of your pale friends for advice.

Watering your Haworthias

This is actually much easier than you might think. Here is the rule: “Water when dry, don’t water until the soil is approaching dryness.” When you water your Haworthia, go ahead and water it until water flows out the pot’s bottom hole. Then do not water again until the soil is dry. After awhile you can tell by the pot’s weight, but the best way to tell if watering is needed is to dig your finger or a pencil into the soil down to an inch or more and see if the soil is damp.

This method works very well because if you water your Haworthia and then a wet cloudy weather system sets in, it might not require watering for 4 to 6 weeks. However, in the summer, with lots of sunshine, a twice weekly watering might be required. The only caveat here is to be careful during cold wet winters, as a dead plant from rot can occur in days, while a dead plant from lack of water takes months and months and can be revived until the very end.

Fertilizing your Haworthias

If you re-pot every few years (highly recommended) it is actually not necessary to fertilize! Your plants will grow more slowly, but no harm will be done. For optimum growth, fertilization is a good idea. However, the rule here is to fertilized only with a dilute fertilizer, and only when the Haworthias are in active growth, such as the spring and in the fall. We recommend a ¼ – ½ strength solution of fertilizer formulated for African Violets or Cacti. Applying too much fertilizer will encourage too much foliage growth, producing grotesque plants. In the extreme, too much fertilizer will kill your Haworthias. Go easy on the fertilizer, and when in doubt don’t fertilize.

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Pests and diseases. Haworthias are generally free of most pests. The one exception is mealybugs, which can be a common problem but easily resolved by physical removal or with standard houseplant insecticides. The most significant disease problems are root rots caused by poor soil or too much moisture. Occasionally such root rots can move into the plant stem resulting in the death of the plant.


Because Haworthias are popular with the general public and are easy to grow, they can often be found in stores that sell an assortment of succulent plants, including the large chain home and hardware stores. Most better garden centers will have a selection of succulents including a couple types of Haworthias. However, to assemble a truly representative collection, or to acquire some of the rarer or more interesting forms, consider shopping at some of the specialty cactus and succulent nurseries.

Haworthia bolusii

Some that I’ve purchased from include:

  • Abbey Gardens (no website), phone 562-905-3520
  • Arid Lands Greenhouses, phone 520-883-9404
  • Bob Smoley’s GardenWorld – large selection, phone 352-465-8254
  • Grigsby’s Cactus Gardens, phone 760-727-1323
  • Living Stones Nursery (Plants for the Southwest), phone 520-628-8773
  • Miles’ to Go – small selection but illustrated website, phone 520-682-7272
  • Mesa Garden – large selection; sells seeds; phone 505-864-3131
  • Steven Hammer’s Sphaeroid Institute – large selection; send your wish list or phone 720-631-7898

– Dan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Thanks to Wolfgang Werk for the loan of plants for photographic purposes.

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