Zebra Cacti - Haworthia


Haworthiopsis* attenuata var. Radula. *Read 'Origins' to learn why this ISN'T a Haworthia.


Top Tips

  • Haworthias are an excellent choice for under-waterers - in a shaded location, they can survive up to 60 days without water.
  • Promotes times of droughts in between waters - if you're stuck with when to water it, think of the ukhouseplants' phrase of 'Drenches Between Droughts'.
  • Be careful when watering - allowing excess moisture to sit in the cubbyholes of the stem will result in diseases like southern blight and 'heart rot'. 
  • A few hours of morning or evening sun is mandatory, especially in the winter months.
  • Avoid situating in a dark location, due to the heightened chance of diseases mentioned above.
  • Supplement at monthly intervals all year round, using either a Cactus or Houseplant feed, or a general plant fertiliser.
  • Repot every year or two during the spring, using a Cactus & Succulent potting mix. This is the perfect time to propagate the small offshoots that'll form at the base of the crown. Carry on reading to learn more about the top tips mentioned above.

Water - 🔸

Allow the soil to thoroughly dry out in between waters, reducing this further in the autumn and winter. Haworthias are an excellent choice for forgetful waterers, due to their incredible ability to endure long-spelled droughts. One word of advice is never allow excess moisture to settle either in the actual crown of the plant or underneath the pot, as both will cause southern blight or root rot. Under-watering symptoms include drooping leaves, stunted growth, and sunken or deflated leaves; these can be a range of different issues, including forgetfulness, too much sunlight, or the plant being pot-bound. Over-watering symptoms include root rot, a rotting base with yellowing leaves or sudden plant death. Haworthia must receive sufficient light levels (at least one hour of direct sunlight a day) to counteract the chance of root rot. For more severe cases, hit the link below to learn about how to address root rot.


Read More - Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


Humidity -

This is not a factor; however, if the Haworthia is situated indoors, a quick hose down from time to time will reduce the number of dust particles covering its leaves.


Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

An hour of direct sunlight is a must; shady locations could lead to diseases associated with over-watering due to the lengthened time in which the soil takes to fully dry out. The frequencies of irrigations solely rely on the amount of sunlight is received; if the Haworthia begins to develop a discoloured white centre, this is typically down to too little light. Newly-propagated 'pups' must not receive intense sunlight as their insufficient root systems will not soak up enough moisture to survive the harsh rays.


Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Feed monthly all year round using either Cactus or Houseplant Feed. Do not directly apply 'ready to pour' fertilisers into the soil without a pre-wash, as this will lead to burning roots and yellowed leaves.


Haworthia 'West Jogoo'


Common Issues with Haworthia

Over-watering is the biggest issue when it comes to a Haworthia. Typical signs of this include brown leaves with soft spots on the underside of the leaves, basal/crown rot or a collapsed stem. Not only will you have to be mindful of root rot, but you'll also have to think about which plant parts to keep dry. The soil must have periods of droughts to replicate the habitats of semi-deserts in eastern Africa and the Mediterranean, as well as limiting the chance of root rot. Its central crown must also remain dry at all times to prevent the development of basal rot. The final over-watering heads-up is to avoid waterlogging; there's no point fulfilling 'drenches in between droughts' if the base of the pot is submerged, as root rot will arise. For any more information about over-watering related issues, be sure to click on this link.

A pale central crown and elongated growth are typical signs of too little light. As Haworthia originate in semi-desert locations around southern Africa, you must try to replicate this by offering at least an hour of direct sunlight, as failure to do so will cause elongated growth and pale crowns.

Alternatively, too much sunlight or under-watering will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves, stunted growth and 'pup' death. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will negatively affect the plant as well. A location that offers 1 - 3 hours of sunlight a day brings the optimum growth for a Haworthia. If it has fallen short of this issue, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase irrigations slightly.

Over-supplementing a Haworthia will bring nothing but grief in the likes of yellowing leaves and weak, dramatic growth. Although a monthly feed is an excellent way to promote healthy, vigorous growth, dry soil and sharp chemicals from the feeds will quickly lead to the burning of roots. The advice for this issue, is to pre-moisten the soil beforehand; not only will this remove the chemical-edge found in fertilisers, but it will also adversely remove the chance of root burns.


Haworthiopsis attenuata var. Radula


Origins

Haworthia consists of over sixty species, originating from semi-desert locations in southern Africa, most notably Zimbabwe and South Africa. The genus was first described back in the 18th century, but the taxonomy of the genus has been greatly argued over the last few centuries. The movement of species within the genus has been empathised by new research into the polyphyletic construction. Haworthiopsis, Tulista and Gasteria have now been placed in their own genera. To save confusion between the genera within the article, 'Haworthia' will act as an umbrella name for all genera and subgenera. The genus was named in honour of Adrian Hardy Haworth, an English botanist in the 19th century who classified many plants throughout his working life, such as the Orchid Cactus, Fishbone Cactus and the Queen of the Night Succulent.


Temperature

10°C - 25°C   (50° - 78°F)
H1b - can be grown outdoors in summer in a sheltered location, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as this will burn the leaves. Regularly keep an eye out for pests.


Spread

Most species will reach heights of 0.2m in height and 0.4m in width. Ultimate height will be reached within 5 - 8 years.


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases; remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.


Propagation

Via seed, offset division or stem cuttings.

The right hand-side growth is the ideal 'pup' to propagate from due to it's established size & good root system. Plant: Haworthia 'West Jogoo'.

Offset (Pup) Division - For this method, it's best to divide in spring or summer and once the offshoots are at least a quarter of the mother plant's size. Remove its pot and place your hand in between the junction that connect the two; soil may have to be brushed away to get a better grip. Gently push the pup downwards while supporting the mother plant until you hear a snap. Cautiously separate the root systems, keeping great care in keeping them damage-free. Place the new plantlet in a small pot with a well-draining potting mix, much similar to the original soil, and maintain the same care routines. Cactus & Succulent compost is best, or you can make your own using multipurpose compost with added grit or perlite. Provide a bright setting with temperatures around 18°C (64°F) with the majority of the soil drying out in between waters. New leaves should emerge within the six weeks, as long as the soil is kept on the drier to life.

Stem Cuttings - Nip two inches off from the leading growths, located at the edge of the foliage line using your fingers or sterile scissors. Be sure to choose damage free, the juvenile growth as any cuts and bruises will lead to disease. Place the stems a third into the soil, making sure no leaves are submerged - you may have to remove the lower leaves to reinforce this step. Use a 5cm pot and with a well-draining potting mix, preferably Cactus & Succulent Compost, to reduce the risk of over-watering and basal rot. Provide a bright setting with temperatures around 18°C (64°F) with the majority of the soil drying out in between waters. New leaves should emerge within the six weeks, as long as the soil is kept on the drier to life. If you need any more help with propagating succulents, send us an email via this link!


Flowers

Yellow, red, pink or white flowers are held by a spike thatch reach heights of 30cm per summer. Each flower can last up to several days, with the blooming process lasting several weeks. Ensure to keep the plant sufficiently hydrated with a fortnightly feed of Cactus Feed during this time to prolong this period. The best flowers produced in spring is the product of a good dormancy period from the previous winter; reduce temperatures to around 10°C  (50°F)  accompanied by little watering to promote the plant to enter this vital stage of the year.


Repotting

Repot every three years using grit-based compost. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball as well as the reduction of potential root rot; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant.


Pests & Diseases

Common diseases with Haworthia are root rot, crown or heart rot, leaf-spot disease and powdery mildew. Keep an eye out for vine weevils (uncommon indoors), scale & mealybugs. Over-watering will lead to both root rot and possible plant death. For more info on how to address any of these issues, hit this link.  Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


Toxicity

This plant is classified as non-poisonous. If large quantities of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur.


Retail Locations

IKEA,  Online Stores.

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