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Haworthia Obtusa [Grow & Care Guide for Beginners]

Haworthia Obtusa is a compact perennial succulent with sleek, glassy, blunt-tipped leaves. Although the plant can grow indoors in possibly dry conditions, it can only tolerate finite cold. 

Generally, Haworthia Obtusa prefers 3-6 hours of bright sunlight, 68-90°F indoor temperature, specific well-draining acidic soil, 25-60% humidity, and watering every 1-2 weeks in warmer seasons. Boost their growth with succulent-based feed once or twice a year in spring, groom to remove the dead leaves, and repot them every 2 years.

So, review this article for bonus tips regarding Haworthia Obtusa care, its growth, buying guide, pruning habits, and propagation.

Overview of Haworthia Obtusa

Believed to be originated from dry regions in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Haworthia shares the Aloaceae family with the Aloe Vera, but it belongs to the Haworthia genus.

Due to its habit and form, Haworthia Obtusa is commonly known as “Mini Aloe,” but rather flaring upwards like regular Aloe, they grow as a dense ground cover. 

Image represents purple leaves of Haworthia plant
Haworthia, like other succulents, can change its color from green to purple based on the changes in the environment.

To know more about Haworthia, look at its features in the table below.

Scientific Names and SynonymsHaworthia cymbiformis var. obtusa

Haworthia obtusa
Common NamesZebra Cactus

Cushion Aloe

Star Window Plant

Mini Aloe
Plant EcologyLife Cycle: Evergreen Perennial

Habit: Desert Rosette Succulent

Habitat: Dry Desert

Native Range: Southern Africa (Eastern Cape Province)

USDA Zones: 9 to 11b
Height and Spread3 inches to 4 inches × 6 inches
Growth RateModerate to Fast
Growing SeasonsSpring, Fall and Winter (Partly Dormant in Summer)
LeafShape: Semi-Spherical With Dull Tips and Angled Edges

Size: 2 centimeters to 5 centimeters

Color: Glassy Green

Texture: Smooth and Shiny
Flowering SeasonsSpring and Summer
FlowerInflorescence: Spike

Color: White with Light Pink Veins

Shape: Bell-Shaped with Recurved Petal Tips
Grown forUnique Glassy and Clear Green Leaves and Growth Habit
ToxicityNon-Toxic Pets and Humans

Complete Care Guide for Haworthia Obtusa

Haworthia plant is a succulent that grows naturally in warm climates and can withstand dry conditions in the desert, thanks to its succulent leaves.

This uneasy plant may throw some water-related tantrums, but by replicating the conditions of its native habit, you can soothe the plant to make its growth successful.

Image illustrates basic care tips for Haworthia Obtusa
If you want to care for Haworthia succulents properly, remember to offer them dry desert-like environmental conditions.

1. Light & Temperature

Most Haworthia species prefer bright light and blazing temperatures that may burn other houseplants.

Since the plant is a desert succulent, it grows habitually under 3-6 hours of bright sunlight and temperatures around 68-90°F.

Direct morning or dusky sunlight in spring and summer is best for the plant, with a few hours of afternoon shade.

Image represents a lanky Haworthia plant
When Haworthia doesn’t get enough light, they revolt by extending their stems and appearing leggy.

Also, like most succulents, extra sun exposure can cause the tips or margins of its leaves to gain a purple or reddish tinge.

However, too much direct sun can increase the temperature, sucking away all the moisture from its leaves and making them curl up.

Further, low light subsides the surrounding temperatures, and in search of light, the plant extends its stems and becomes leggy.

But, extreme temperature dips (below 23°F) can halt their growth, change the color, and misshapen the leaves.

Usually, the plant can endure frosty temperatures with some cold protection but eventually succumb to temperature stress.

Tips to Provide Adequate Sunlight & Temperature

  • Locate Haworthia near a south or west-facing window to offer them straight sunshine in spring and summer.
  • Keep it 3 inches from the windowpanes, so the delicate leaves don’t touch the glass.
  • Place the plant away from drafty north-facing windows and heating or cooling vents.
  • Use curtains or drapes to offer them diffused sunlight in the afternoon.
  • Rotate your plant once a week for equal light distribution throughout its foliage.
  • Employ warm and cool white simulated grow lights to fulfill its light requirements in winter.
  • When growing Haworthia in raised beds, consider mulching the topsoil to grant some warmth around its roots.

2. Watering and Humidity

Haworthia Obtusa plant can retain water in its leaves and live for a few days without water.

However, an extreme lack of water can also kill the plant, as is overwatering and prolonged low humidity.

Water Haworthia Obtusa every 1-2 weeks in spring and fall to keep the leaves from shriveling. Sustain humidity of around 25-60%. 

You might want to decrease the watering schedule in summer when the plant goes dormant. So, it’s ideal for keeping the soil dry between watering.

Image represents a small resealable glass terrarium
Haworthia plants can easily grow inside a glass terrarium that provides warm temperature and humidity but ensure to open the top if moisture levels increase inside the glass.

Overwatering can turn the leaves, roots, and stems mushy. Also, root rot cuts off the connection between the shoot and the root during extreme overwatering conditions.

Although humidity is not an issue for the plant, moderate humidity favors the quicker growth of its leaves. But, high humidity above 60% can rot the roots and leaves.

Tips to Provide Proper Watering & Humidity

  • Water thoroughly close to the topsoil and wipe any remaining dribbles from the leaves.
  • Apply the approach of bottom watering by keeping the plant on a tray filled with 1-2 inches of water for 10 minutes.
  • Saturate the soil entirely until the water seeps from the bottom drainage holes.
  • Toss the stagnant water from the pot plate after each watering session.
  • Avoid grouping Haworthia if there is enough ambient humidity. 
  • If the plant shows symptoms due to excessive humidity, set an indoor dehumidifier near the plant to adjust moisture levels.
  • Avoid using quick-heating plastic planters, and use a more spacious, draining pot. 

3. Proper Soil & Fertilizer

The particle mix, soil components, and nutrients determine the growth rate of Haworthia Obtusa.

Over time, the soil may lose all its nutrients, but thankfully, Haworthia is not a heavy feeder.

It prefers a succulent cactus mix that is porous and moisture retentive, with pH levels between 5 and 7.6. However, amend the soil with succulent feed every year, once in spring and again in fall.

Heavy soil will form a water puddle and can easily harm the roots by creating overwatering conditions, and the plant can contract several infections.

However, if you use loose soil, ensure the plant is appropriately fertilized, as loose soil will wash out all the nutrients little by little.

Similarly, when the plant is dormant, avoid feeding it high-nitrogen blend fertilizers, which can lead to leaf burns.

Tips for Suitable Soil and Fertilizers

  • If the soil is jammed with moisture, place the plant in full sunlight for a few hours to dehydrate the soil.
  • Unpot the plant, check for rotting roots and remove any black or mushy roots using sterilized pruners.
  • While potting up the plant, place a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot to boost aeration.
  • Use organic perlite for soggy soil and peat moss to maintain acidity.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to the required strength per instructions on the pack before applying.
  • Water the plant before applying dilute fertilizer, so the nutrients are better absorbed in the soil.
  • If the fertilizer salts deposit in the soil, flush it with distillate water 4-5 times to wash away the minerals.
  • Gently scrape away any salt flakes from the topsoil to relieve the plant from salt stress.
  • Aerate the topsoil by poking holes in them once a month using chopsticks, but keep the roots safe.

4. Scant Pruning

There is no normal pruning time for Haworthia as the plant rarely grows lanky.

Usually, you can pluck the decaying or discolored leaves off the plant to maintain its shape and lesser size or divide it for propagation.

However, pruning should be done when your leaves have at least 3-4 eyes to ensure enough energy is conserved for regenerative growth.

Additionally, a proper groom is vital if your plant is bothered by pests (mealybugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites) and diseases (brown leaf spots and root rots).

Most diseases are caused by irregular lighting and overwatering, which are manageable, but pests disturb the plant’s growth by sucking the sap from the leaves.

They are also challenging to detect as the compact and short stature of the plant offers them plenty of space to hide without any fuss.

Tips for Correct Pruning

  • If the plant is suffering from pests or diseases, isolate it to prevent the extent of infection.
  • Make clean incisions at the base of the damaged leaves using a sterilized knife.
  • You can also pick the injured leaves with your fingers but ensure that the rotting tissue is safely disposed of.
  • Dab the pest with q-tips dipped in neem oil or toss them away with a  strong blast of water from every corner of the leaves.
  • Change the potting mix to cut off the root rot if the soil smells fishy.

5. Biennial Repotting

Haworthia Obtusa is a fast-growing perennial plant that can mature within 5 years after the first plantation.

Additionally, the plant is shallow-rooted, so it may take some time to fill the legroom, but it may show root-bound signs early.

When the roots peep from the drainage holes or leaves spread beyond the container’s brim, offer a 2 inches larger terracotta planter with drainage holes for your plant in spring or early summer. 

Repotting should typically be done every 2 years, but sometimes it may take 3 years for the plant to get root bound.

Frequent repotting stresses the plant and ceases its growth by damaging the roots, so wait for the signs to appear first. 

Image represents a small Haworthia plant
Small Haworthia plants can be repotted in larger planters when their roots grow and spread in the container.

Moreover, Haworthia loves shallow containers, and deep pots may render its roots useless due to waterlogging.

How to Repot Haworthia Obtusa?

  • Water the plant 1-2 days before repotting to ease up its roots.
  • Select a suitable pot and fill it one-third with a succulent potting mix.
  • Unpot the plant from its container, free its roots from the soil clumps and place it at the center of the new pot by spreading its roots.
  • If the plant’s spread is extensive, divide it into a suitable size for fitting in individual containers.
  • Hold your plant erect as you backfill the soil mixture around the roots.
  • Sprinkle water around the base until the top inch of the soil feels damp.
  • If the soil sinks considerably after watering, apply a thin layer of soil around the plant.
  • Place the plant in bright indirect sunlight and switch its location to direct sunlight after 1-2 weeks.

Haworthia Obtusa Growth Rate

Succulents are slow-growing plants, so it is impossible if you’re looking for Haworthia to full-fledge quickly.

However, Haworthia Obtusa can easily attain a mature height and spread of 3-4 inches × 6 inches with correct conditions within 5 years.

The glassy, smooth, and lime-green leaves are its main features which are intricately arranged in a compact rosette habit.

Image represents a flowering Haworthia plant
Flowers of Haworthia Obtusa are white, bell-shaped, and non-fragrant that grow along the length of the flowering stalk.

Each mature Haworthia Obtusa can have 20 fleshy, semi-oval leaves with blunt tips, but some varieties boast trapezoid foliage!

Interestingly, if you keep the plant in intense sunlight for some time, it may develop a purple or reddish tinge on the surface or margins of the leaves.

Further, the rosette growth and its habit of thriving in dry soil and variable light conditions make it suitable for growing in open terrariums on rocky substrates and offices without sunlight.

While growing into the clusters, Haworthia grows whitish flowers in their long spike-like stem when provided with optimal conditions and air circulation in spring and summer.

But, Haworthia flowers are less showy and bell-shaped and change into dried capsules with seeds anytime during their growing season.

Toxicity of Haworthia Obtusa

According to ASPCA, Haworthia varieties are non-toxic for pets and humans.

However, it would be best not to let your pets ingest them as there may be other consequences like choking or vomiting.

Even children should not be let near the plant and be kept inside baby barriers at all times to avoid fluky ingestion.

As for pets, it’s best to wrap a cone around their neck or sprinkle cayenne pepper around the plant to keep them away.

But, if you feel concerned that your pets or children have ingested Haworthia plant parts by any chance, report an emergency and call the following numbers.

Haworthia Obtusa Propagation

Spring to early summer is the appropriate time to propagate Haworthia Obtusa, which you can do using seeds, leaf cuttings, or offsets.

You can take the cuttings or offsets while repotting the plant or changing the soil.

As for seeds, collect them by hand by cracking the brown and crisp capsules during late summer or early fall.

But you can also prepare your homespun potting mix by blending 50% sterilized potting soil and 50% organic perlite or sand.

1. Propagate Haworthia Obtusa via Offset Divisions

Offsets or pups are baby Haworthia plants that grow from summer to fall (June to Early September).

Pups can only be obtained from mature mother plants and share the same root system with the mother plant until they are detached.

  • First, unpot a healthy mother plant with healthy leaf sets and break its roots from the soil.
  • Inspect for small pups about 1/4th the size of the mother plant (1 inch wide) or having at least 2 pairs of leaves.
  • Split them away from the base with a small bunch of root strands attached at their bottom.
  • You can also use a sharp, sterilized razor and nick them vertically in the middle of two leaves to separate them.
  • Fill a 6-inch wide terracotta planter with a succulent cactus mix.
  • Poke some holes in the soil, place the pups, gently water it and sustain a soil temperature of around 64°F.
  • Water thoroughly, and keep the pups in bright direct sunlight. Also, keep the soil a bit dry between watering.
  • New leaves should sprout within 6 weeks and continue with usual care.
Image represents offsets of Haworthia Obtusa
Pups or offsets are common means of propagation in Haworthia and grow around the base of the mother plant roots.

2. Propagate Haworthia Obtusa via Leaf Cuttings

You can use individual leaves to propagate Haworthia plants, but ensure to pick the outer lower leaves.

  • Select a healthy mother plant, unpot, and look for the outer leaves.
  • Use a clean razor to make horizontal cuts close to the base of the leaves and air dry by wrapping them in tissue paper for 3 days.
  • Once the cut ends scab or becomes stiff, prepare a potting mix in a suitable 6-inch wide pot.
  • Dip the cut end of the cuttings in rooting hormone powder and vertically push them into the soil.
  • Water thoroughly, and keep the set up in bright sunlight by maintaining a temperature of around 64°F.
  • They should root within 6 weeks and be mature enough to pop out new leaves.
  • Following this, continue with the usual cultural care.

3. Propagate Haworthia Obtusa via Seeds

Seed propagation is a slow method and probably results best if you soak the seeds in lukewarm water for 30 minutes before planting.

Further, you must plant the seeds within 6 months of the harvest to ensure their viability and successful germination.

  • Fill a seedling starter tray with suitable porous soil, sprinkle the seeds topically, and gently cover them with a thin layer of sand.
  • Keep the tray in bright direct sunlight, and dribble water from the top.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap or humidity dome and maintain a suitable temperature of around 64°F using a heating mat.
  • If moisture develops inside the plastic wrap, uncover the tray to lower the humidity or poke some holes in the top.
  • While you do so, check the container regularly for algae or fungal growth.
  • The germination may take 1-2 weeks, and when the seedlings sprout new leaves, remove the wrap or dome.
  • Continue with normal care after transplanting them into a new terracotta pot. 

If you want to learn the process with some additional tips for stem propagation, check out this video.

Haworthia Obtusa for Sale

This glassy succulent has several varieties for collection, but nothing beats the original.

So, grab one from the following online markets and turn your home into a stylish desert oasis.

Sites or ShopsExpected Shipping Date
AmazonWithin 4-5 days after placing an order
eSucculentWithin 2-4 weeks after placing an order
Kyle's PlantsWithin 3 days after placing an order
Planet DesertWithin 3 days after placing an order

Haworthia Cymbiformis var. Obtusa vs. Haworthia Cooperi var. Truncata

Cymbiformis and Cooperi are 2 species of Haworthia with different varieties under their name, such as Obtusa and Truncata.

The leaf tips of Cymbiformis are a bit less transparent and more pointy.

Image illustrates two species of Haworthia plant
Cymbiformis and Cooperi are two species of Haworthia with minor differences in their leaf shape and growth form.

However, in Cooperi, the leaf tips are a bit round but with a similar form to Cymbiformis, but their ordering is more rosette.

FAQs About Haworthia Obtusa

What color is Haworthia Obtusa?

Haworthia Obtusa has dense green translucent leaves with light green veins.

However, the leaves may turn purple or reddish when there are ups and dips in light intensities.

How to prevent transplant shock in Haworthia Obtusa?

To prevent transplant shock, help your plant to overcome the stress by giving them enough water and sunlight for 2 months after transplantation.

From Editorial Team

High Moisture is the Enemy!
It’s ideal not to cover or group your Haworthia Obtusa for moisture, as their succulent leaves and delicate roots are prone to rotting.

So, keep their soil as dry as possible and don’t drench it much. It’s a lot better to keep your succulents on the dry side than to overwater them.

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