Haworthia Succulents: An Easy Beginner’s Guide (2023)

  • What are Haworthia succulents? Haworthia succulents are small, flowering plants that belong to the Aloe family and are native to southern Africa. These plants are known for their unique, bumpy leaves which come in a range of colors and patterns, making them a visually interesting addition to any space.
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History and Origins

  • Where do Haworthia succulents come from? Haworthia succulents are native to the southern regions of Africa, including countries such as South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The first written references to these plants date back to the early 1600s, when European colonists first encountered them while exploring the botanical riches of southern Africa.
  • Who is Haworthia named after? The genus Haworthia is named after Adrian Hardy Haworth, a British botanist and entomologist who studied a range of plant families, including succulents. Haworth has had several plants named after him, and the genus Haworthia was created in his honor in 1809 by the French botanist Henri Duval.

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Physical Characteristics

  • How big do Haworthia succulents get? Haworthia succulents are small in size, making them convenient for indoor cultivation. They can range in height from a few inches to over a foot, depending on the species.
  • What do Haworthia leaves look like? One of the standout characteristics of Haworthias is the wide range of leaf colors and patterns that they display. Depending on the species, the leaves can be variously colored in greens, reds, or browns (to near black) and can be marked with lines, bumps, stripes, or dots. These plants have thick, succulent leaves that are adapted to store water, allowing them to survive in dry, rocky environments.
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Care and Maintenance

  • How easy are Haworthia succulents to care for? Haworthia succulents are generally easy to care for and are low maintenance plants. They are a good choice for beginners or those with busy schedules who don’t have a lot of time to devote to plant care.
  • What kind of soil do Haworthia succulents need? They prefer well-draining soil and should be watered infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering to prevent root rot. A well-draining soil mix specifically formulated for succulents or cacti can be purchased at a garden center or made at home by mixing equal parts potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand.
  • How much light do Haworthia succulents need? They are tolerant of low light conditions and can thrive in indirect sunlight or artificial light. They are a good choice for spaces with limited natural light, such as offices or north-facing rooms. It’s important to avoid placing these plants in direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to become scorched or fade in color.

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Benefits of Growing Haworthia Succulents

  • Do Haworthia succulents have air purifying qualities? Haworthias are known for their ability to purify the air by removing toxins, making them a beneficial addition to any home or office. They are part of a group of plants known as “air-purifying plants” that can improve the air quality in a space. Some studies have shown that these plants can help to remove harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.
  • How many species of Haworthia succulents are there? There are approximately 80 species, giving growers a wide range of options to choose from. These plants are widely available at retailers such as home stores, garden centers, and specialty plant nurseries. Rare and unusual varieties can also be found at succulent plant nurseries or online.
  • Can they succulents be grown indoors or outdoors? Haworthias can be grown indoors as houseplants in a range of locations and can also be placed outdoors in frost-free areas, adding a touch of greenery to a patio or garden. They are a popular choice for outdoor container gardens in areas with mild winters. It’s important to bring these plants indoors or provide frost protection during colder months, as they are not tolerant of frost.

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How to Propagate Haworthia Succulents

  • Can they succulents be propagated? Yes, Haworthias can be propagated through offsets.
  • How do you propagate Haworthias from offsets? Offsets, also known as “pups,” are small plants that form at the base of the mother plant. To propagate Haworthias from offsets, gently twist or cut the offset away from the mother plant, making sure to leave a few roots attached. Plant the offset in a small pot filled with well-draining soil and water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering.

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What are some common pests that can affect Haworthia plants?

Some common pests that can affect Haworthia plants include:

• Mealybugs. Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that congregate in clusters on leaves and stems. They suck plant juices and excrete honeydew, which can lead to fungal disease. Mealybugs are common pests on Haworthia and other succulents. Inspect your plant regularly and treat any infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

• Spider mites. Spider mites are tiny web-spinning pests that can reproduce rapidly in warm, dry conditions. They feed on plant juices and damage leaves. Spider mites are often hard to see with the naked eye. Monitor your Haworthia for stippling, discoloration, or fine webbing. Treat with miticide if spider mites are detected.

• Scale. Scale insects appear as brown, flat discs clinging to leaves and stems. They suck plant juices and weaken the plant over time. Scale infestations can spread quickly between succulents. Remove scale manually using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or treat with horticultural oil or insecticide.

• Aphids. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant juices. They may be green, red, black, or peach in color. Aphids excrete a sticky substance called honeydew that can lead to fungal disease. Strong spray from a hose or insecticidal soap can help control aphid infestations.

• Fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are small flies that feed on fungus in the soil. Their larvae can damage plant roots. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings and using a sand and perlite amendment will help prevent fungus gnats. Yellow sticky traps can capture adult flies and predatory nematodes or fungi can control larvae in the soil.

Inspect your Haworthia regularly for any signs of pests or disease. Prompt treatment will minimize damage to your plant. With attention, most common pest problems on them can be avoided or controlled.

What are some signs of fungal disease in Haworthia plants?

Some common signs of fungal disease in Haworthia plants include:

• Leaf spots. Circular or irregular leaf spots that are dark in color, such as brown or black. The spots may have a different color in the center, such as tan or white. Leaf spot fungi can cause leaves to turn yellow and drop off if the infection spreads.

• Powdery mildew. A white or gray powdery substance on the leaves and stems. Powdery mildew thrives in humid conditions and can spread quickly between plants. Remove infected leaves and improve air circulation to help control powdery mildew.

• Root rot. Dark, mushy roots and leaves that turn yellow or drop off. The base of the plant may become soft or discolored. Root rot is caused by fungi in the soil that thrive in overly wet conditions. Allow the soil to dry out and repot the plant if significant root rot is present. Remove damaged roots and propagate healthy offsets if the main plant cannot be saved.

• Rust. Orange, yellow, or brown powdery spots on the leaves that resemble rust in color and texture. Small pustules may appear on the undersides of leaves. Rust fungi spread in warm, humid conditions. Remove infected leaves and improve air circulation to control rust. Apply fungicide if the disease persists.

• Blight. Sudden wilting and dieback of leaves and stems. Blight can be caused by various fungal or bacterial pathogens. The infected plant parts will turn brown or black and die rapidly. Prune off infected tissue and treat with fungicide or bactericide to prevent the spread of blight.

Monitor your Haworthia regularly for any signs of fungal disease or other problems. Treat issues promptly to avoid significant damage to your plant. With care, Haworthia can be relatively free of disease when grown in suitable conditions.

How can I improve air circulation around my Haworthia plant?

Here are some tips to improve air circulation around your Haworthia plant:

• Choose a spot with good airflow. Place your Haworthia in a location that has good air circulation, such as near a vent or fan. Avoid stagnant corners where air does not circulate well. Good airflow will help prevent fungal diseases that can spread in humid, still conditions.

• Space plants adequately. If you have multiple Haworthia plants, space them at least a few inches apart. Crowding plants together limits air circulation and can increase the risk of disease spreading between them. Give your succulents enough room to breathe to keep them healthy.

• Prune adjacent plants if needed. If neighboring plants are crowding your Haworthia or limiting airflow, prune them back or relocate them further away. Your Haworthia’s health is a priority, so make space for it if other plants are causing problems.

• Wipe down leaves periodically. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the leaves of your Haworthia every week or two. This will remove dust and debris that can block sunlight and air circulation. Keeping the leaves clean is an easy way to support your plant’s health and growth.

• Use fans for extra circulation. If air circulation is limited in your home, use fans to provide air movement for your Haworthia. A small desktop fan or clip-on fan can help increase airflow around a single plant. For larger collections, ceiling fans or stand fans can keep air circulating to the benefit of all your succulents.

With attention to providing good air circulation, your Haworthia will have the environment it needs to thrive. Healthy airflow, spacing, and cleaning leaves are all simple ways to prevent disease and support your plant’s well-being.

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Haworthia succulents are small, easy-to-care-for plants that are a great choice for indoor gardening due to their unique appearance, low maintenance needs, and air purifying qualities. These plants are native to southern Africa and are known for their bumpy, succulent leaves which come in a range of colors and patterns. They are tolerant of low light conditions and prefer well-draining soil and infrequent watering.

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In addition to their aesthetic appeal, Haworthias are also known for their ability to purify the air by removing toxins. With around 80 species to choose from, there’s sure to be a Haworthia that fits your personal style and space. Whether grown indoors as a houseplant or outdoors in frost-free areas, these plants are a great way to add some natural beauty to your home or garden.

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