Haworthia Obtusa Best Care Tips for Beginner’s

It’s no secret that succulents are becoming popular among plant fanatics, especially Haworthia Obtusa.

Commonly known as “Mini Aloe,” Haworthia Obtusa is the succulent which will get you obsessed because of its rosette pattern and sporting bright green leaves.

These are easy to take care of and perfect for newbies as they are low maintenance. However, you need to maintain optimum conditions for their growth.

Haworthia obtusa prefers bright indirect sunlight and temperatures between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius. It needs well-draining soil with a pH of 6.6 to 7, humidity around 40 to 60%, and minimal watering. Fertilize them once or twice a year and repot them every two years for the best results.

Haworthia-obtusa
Haworthia obtusa (Source: eBay)

Once you know how vital it is in the wild, You’ll be obsessed with it like I am! Raising them indoors is equally easy and rewarding.

Consider going through this article to know everything you ought to know regarding Mini Aloe’s care, growth, pruning habits, and propagation.

Overview of Haworthia Obtusa

Believed to be originated from the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Haworthia shares the Aloaceae family with Aloe-vera. However, it belongs to the Haworthia genus.

Scientific NameHaworthia cymbiformis var. obtusa
Common NameZebra Cactus, Cushion Aloe, Star Window Plant, Window Hawrothia
FamilyAsphodelaceae
OriginEastern Cape of South Africa
USDA Zone10a to 11b
Plant Size and TypeSmall, Succulent
LeavesBoat shaped with darker longitudinal stripes and transparent tips.
Size: 4 inches (10 cm)
FlowersWhite to Greenish-white with pinkish brown veins
Slender appearance
8 inches (20 cm)
Blooming timeSpring to Summer
Blooming timeSpring to Summer
Growth RateSlow Growing

Haworthia Obtusa Best Care Tips for Beginner’s

The Haworthia obtusa plant grows naturally in warm climates and can survive in the desert.

These are actual succulent plants that can withstand South Africa’s severe desert environments. In addition, it can store water in its leaves.

Caring for them is not an easy task to do.

Let’s have a quick care summary first!

ParametersOptimum Condition
SunlightBright Indirect Light
Provide full sun during winter and partial shade during summer.
Artificial Light1. T5 fluorescent light
2. Combination of warm white and cool white fluorescent tubes
3.
Location1. Ideal location would be where they get some morning sunlight with protection from midday afternoon rays.
2. West facing window works best for them.
Watering1. Once a week
2. Appreciates deep watering once in a while.
Soil TypePrefers well draining soil with not too rich in nutrients.
pH: 6.6 to 7.5
TemperatureDay temperature: 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit
Night: 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity40 to 70 %
FertilizerWeak or diluted fertilizer once every two months during summer season
Common PestsMealybugs, Aloe Mites, Thrips
Common DiseasesBacterial spots on leaves and stems
Root Rot
PropagationLeaf cuttings, Stem cuttings, Offset
Pot TypeShallow Terra Cotta pots with at least one drainage hole
RepottingOnce a year during Winter
PruningPrune when there are at least 3 to 4 eyes on your leaves
ToxicityNon Toxic

1. Light and Location Requirement

Most Haworthia species prefer bright light as deserts are their natural habitat.

Haworthia obtusa prefers bright yet indirect light as direct sunlight can cause curling of their leaves and slow their growth.

They prefer the average light intensity of around 10,000 Lux. You can plant them in a semi-shady location to get full morning sun but no direct afternoon rays.

The ideal location would be placing them in a west-facing window sill to get enough morning sun and indirect afternoon rays.

If the light intensity is too low, they will stretch, and in this case, grow lights can be employed to compensate for the lack of natural light.

On the other hand, if your Haworthia receives too much sunlight, its leaves get white, yellow, or red-tinged.

When provided with adequate lighting and watering, these succulents grow to their full potential.

Tips to Provide Adequate Sunlight and Proper Location

  • Shade cloths can be used to diffuse sunlight when it is too bright.
  • Turn your Haworthia obtusa around once a week to ensure that it gets adequate light.
  • They can also do well in artificial light. Provide them with a mixture of warm white and cool white fluorescent bulbs for good intensity and color balance.
  • Haworthia can be grown outdoors on the porch, patio, or deck during frost-free periods.
Grow Light for Succulents
Grow Light for Succulents (Source: Amazon)

2. Adequate Watering

The 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 a result, it is important to establish a watering schedule.

During the summer, when the Haworthia obtusa is not growing, water is enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.

You might want to consider watering your plant only if it is completely dry.

If it’s in the container, water the potting mix, and avoid watering the plant body as too much moisture causes them problems. Take care not to over-water, and keep any extra water out of your pot.

The most commonly reported problems because of over-watering are:

  • Root rot
  • Stem rot
  • Slow growth
  • Fungal infections

Most of them are dormant during the summer season, so water them just enough to keep leaves from wilting.

Add just enough water at a time until the soil is completely soaked, then let it dry before adding more. Watering your Haworthia should once a week on average is enough.

The best way to tell what your mini Aloe requires is to check the top inch layer of soil with a finger.

If they’re placed in a container, you can use the saucer method but make sure you don’t soak the plants as it promotes fungal growth.

If it’s on the ground, you can water the soil with the help of a spraying can.

Pour enough water over your Haworthia Obtusa succulent so, some of it falls out onto the tray or saucer underneath it.

Watering plants
Watering succulents (Source: Pexels)

3. Ideal Temperature

As it is a desert plant, Haworthia obtusa prefers warmer temperatures.

The ideal temperature for Haworthia Obtusa ranges from (20-32) degrees Celsius and (68-90) degrees Fahrenheit.

Since they don’t have a seasonal preference, they can withstand sudden extreme dips in the temperature.

They slow down their growth and may even suffer from freezing injury if the temperature drops below 4°C.

They prefer days between 25°C and 38°C in the summer and nights between 14°C and 20°C in the winter.

Because high temperatures can limit the collection of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, plants will progressively enter dormancy when nightly temperatures exceed 24° C.

If indoors, you can stimulate the temperature all year round by using overhead T5 Fluorescent lights of not more than 60 watts.

Tips to Maintain the Optimum Temperature

  • Excessive temperatures can be mitigated by increasing humidity surrounding the plant.
  • Avoid drafty spaces and heating and cooling vents such as radiators and heaters.
  • To protect your plant from the extreme cold, wrap it in clear plastic or a frost blanket.
  • During cold winters, avoid putting them in the window.

4. High Humidity

Haworthia obtusa grows faster and develops fleshier stems in relatively high humidity.

However, attention needs to be paid during hot climates as direct sunlight promotes fungal growth and causes stem rot.

So, it would be best to maintain low humidity in a hot climate.

Ideal Humidity for Haworthia obtusa

  • Winter: 30 to 40%
  • Summer: 25 to 35%
  • Average Ideal Humidity: 25 to 35%

While other plants’ humidity can be controlled by misting, don’t try this with Haworthia.

Tips to Maintain Ideal Humidity

You can maintain ideal humidity for Haworthia Obtusa by following ways:

  • Planting them in enclosed spaces like a greenhouse help to retain moisture.
  • Cover the top of the plant with plastic lids/enclosures.
  • If indoors, use fans for maintaining air circulation. However, don’t place your succulent directly with fans, heaters, or vents in direct contact.
  • The use of humidifiers is also recommended.
  • In case of extreme humidity, use dehumidifiers to lower the humidity levels.

5. Proper Soil Mix

The particle mix and components determine the growth rate of Haworthia, so; it is very important to choose the right soil mix.

It prefers a growing medium that is well-drained and can retain moisture. However, the soil should not be too rich in nutrients.

The Ideal potting mix for Haworthia obtusa should include the following ingredients;

RequirementsTheir Benefits
Good porosity and Drainage1. Allow air pockets for oxygenation
2. Ensure salt from fertilizer and hard water doesn't build up.
Pumice1. Enhances extra drainage
2. Aerates the soil
pH: 6.6 to 7.5To influence the availability of essential nutrients
PerliteTo promote extra drainage

Since Haworthia is perennial, they must be provided with a stable mix for years. Hence, easily decomposable materials like peat and vermiculite are not recommended as an ideal mix.

Besides, mixing particles of about 4mm would be best for your plant as larger particles can block the root growth.

Make your Potting Mix!

  • 50% akadama / pumice
  • 50% scoria / coarse sand / synthetic slow-release fertilizer
  • 1 part peat moss, 1 part standard potting mix
  • 50% gravel of appropriate size
soil-mixture-preparation
Soil mixture preparation (Source: Unsplash)

You can also use cactus and succulent soil mix for your Haworthia.

Here are some recommendations of Succulent mix for your Haworthia obtusa:

6. Proper Fertilization

It’s not mandatory to use fertilizers for your succulents, but a little help doesn’t hurt!

The best way to fertilize Haworthia is by supplying a low concentration of synthetic and quick-release fertilizers with every watering session.

Synthetic fertilizers are preferred because they dissolve in water and, in most circumstances, are accessible for immediate usage. This enables precise regulation of the nutrient supply.

Generally, you can use an NPK fertilizer for your plant in the ratio of 3:2:1.

Avoid Urea Fertilizer as they promote slow growth of your plants.

After diluting the fertilizer, maintain a pH of 5-5.2 for best results.

On the other hand, organic fertilizers like Leaf mold and Vermicompost can be used.

Leaf mold is considered ideal as a soil supplement because it improves soil structure and fertility. It is simply a soil conditioner that improves soil water retention.

According to several university research, the addition of leaf mold boosted soil water retention by more than 50%.

Using a mild or diluted fertilizer solution on your Haworthias only once every two months during the summer might be beneficial (June-October).

7. Growth Habits

Succulents are slow-growing plants, so if you’re looking for Haworthia to full-fledge quickly then, it is simply not possible.

They take about five years to grow into adults, which is normal for any succulents.

In height, they grow up to 2-3 inches and up to 5 inches in the extreme.

8. Flowering Habits

While growing into the clusters, Haworthia grows flowers from their stem when provided with optimal conditions and air circulation.

They generally bloom in Summer and Autumn as they’re slow-growing plants.

The flowering stems are longer than the succulent as buds on the stem grow taller.

Flowering Haworthia obtusa
Flowering Haworthia obtusa (Source: Etsy)

9. Common Pests in Haworthia obtusa

Haworthia obtusa is usually resistant to pests, but the following species attack them when the soil is too moist.

Common PestsSymptoms
Mealy BugsAppearance of white cotton-like substance in leaves
Aloe MiteAppearance of white or yellow spots in leaves
ThripsDamage in sap of plants

Solutions

  • The most immediate solution is to quarantine the infested plan to prevent further spreading.
  • Soak the plant in a 1% solution of insecticidal soaps containing potassium fatty acid for two hours to get rid of mealybugs.
  • Imidacloprid solution can also be used to prevent mealybugs from attacking your plant.
  • Drench your plant completely in a 0.004% imidacloprid solution to shoo away these bugs.
  • Additionally, you can use pesticides like Spiromesifen and Abamectin for thrips.

There is no effective way of treating aloe mites in Haworthia obtusa except discarding the affected plant.

Preventive Measures

  • Inspect your plants regularly.
  • Don’t waterlog the plants.
  • Isolate the infected plants. Avoid healthy grouping plants with infected ones.

10. Common Disease in Haworthia obtusa

Haworthia obtusa is generally resistant to pests and diseases. But due to unfavorable conditions and watering errors, they became prone to infections.

The following are the common diseases in Haworthia obtusa:

DiseasesCausative Agents Symptoms
Root rotPythium species ,Phytophthora species1. Smelling of soil
2. Halted growth
Rotting of leaves Clitocybe tabescens,Fusarium1.Leaves appearing darker than usual
2.Base area appearing slimy
Wilting of LeavesVerticillium, V. dahliae1.Drooping of leaves
2. Leaves turning yellow

Root Rot

Because of its fleshy roots, Haworthia obtusa is susceptible to root rot.

This disease wreaks havoc on the roots and results in stem and leaf rot. It is highly lethal in hot weather and may destroy a plant in hours.

Excessive moisture in the growth media is the primary cause of root rot.

Root rot in Haworthia is a result of overwatering. Besides this, pest infestation can cause a wound in the plant, which promotes root rot.

To inspect the root, thoroughly check their roots and remove any part that is darker than the usual as it can spread throughout the plant.

If left unattended, your plant can die within an hour.

Remove the Rotted roots from the plant. Moreover, the rot frequently spreads to the nearby underground stem.

Examine the stem and remove any rotten tissue that is darker than the surrounding tissue. Then, proceed with the roots procedure to allow the plant to recover.

Root rot in Haworthia species
Root rot in Haworthia species (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Rotting of Leaves

Leaf rot is generally caused when root rot is left unattended. Rotting of the root causes the adjacent stem to rot, damaging the whole plant.

Look at the base area of leaves for the signs of rotting leaves. The base of rotten leaves is usually darker and softer than their healthier counterparts.

Rotted leaves represent muddy color and can be caused due to high humidity and excessive watering.

You have to take the whole plant out in case of leaves rot.

Preventive Measures

  • Always stick to a regular watering regimen.
  • Wait until the top 25% of the soil dries out before watering the plant.
  • To prevent fungus growth in the soil, loosen the top layer of soil.
  • Once a year, spray your plant with a fungicide.
  • Avoid putting your Haworthia obtusa in the same pot as other diseased plants.
  • Use a potting mix and a well-draining pot.

11. Methods of Propagation

Haworthia obtusa can be propagated by Seeds, Cuttings, and Offsets. However, if you try to propagate them at any time of year, you might not be successful.

To propagate any plant, you’ll need a lot of time and proper growing circumstances. As a result, spring and early summer are the optimal times to propagate Haworthia obtusa.

I don’t advocate propagating them in the winter because the plant goes into dormancy at that time.

1. Propagate Haworthia obtusa via Offsets

One of the easiest methods of propagation of Haworthia obtusa is through offsets.

You should propagate Haworthia Obtusa throughout the summer when it has begun to give forth daughter shoots or “pups” to make it easier to identify offsets.

Late June to early September is a good period to look for little offshoots on mature plants with considerable branching as they emerge towards the lower leaves.

It’s preferable to wait until at least two pairs of pups develop before taking any, so you don’t end up separating them too close to the parent plant.

Step 1: Using a sterilized knife, cut the offshoots more than 1 inch in diameter and a few leaves for dividing.

Leave about an inch and a half behind so that new roots can develop out there as well.

Step 2: After removing the offset, clean the extra soil and dry for a few hours.

Step 3: Prepare an ideal potting mix for your plant with good drainage.

Ensure it has a lot of good waste so that water can drain away completely, which will prevent root decay later on down the line.

Step 4: Take a disposable cutter or extremely sharp blade, and make a little cut into the soil close to where you want to put your plant.

Put some soil in the opening that you made. Then, place the pups in the opening, setting aside a certain space for their grown-up plants.

Beautiful Haworthia obtusa
Beautiful Haworthia obtusa (Source: Etsy)

2. Propagate Haworthia obtusa via Leaf Cutting

Leaf-cuttings can propagate Haworthia obtusa plants in small or medium sizes.

To avoid injuring leaves while moving a large Haworthia off its potting media and onto a propagation tray, pick leaves from the lower half of the mother plant.

According to most people, leaves are best harvested when they reach the correct size but before they break away on their own.

Cut at least two sets of each succulent leaf to ensure that both plants have adequate nourishment until the next harvest cycle begins.

To accomplish leaf-cutting propagation of Haworthia obtusa, follow these steps:

Step 1: Carefully trim around the edge of the lower leaves on your mother plant using a clean and sharp pair of scissors.

Ensure no other portions, such as roots or flowers, are harmed.

Step 2: Once the leaf has been extracted, dip the edge in the rooting hormone if you have it. Rooting hormone powder can aid in the propagation of your Haworthia plant.

Step 3: Allow several days to dry and recover the cut leaf. If the leaf’s edge has healed over, it’s time to plant.

Step 4: After that, fill a container with cactus potting mix and plant the leaf in it. Water the leaf and place it in a location with lots of bright, indirect light.

Step 5: Keep your propagation tray in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight with plenty of humidity and ambient temperature.

Roots usually take weeks to appear, and pups take an even longer to develop.

Remember, Patience is the key!

3. Propagate Haworthia obtusa via Stem Cuttings

Another way to propagate these succulents is through Stem cuttings.

Step 1: To kickstart with propagation through stems, take a parent plant and observe the growth of the bottom stems.

Step 2: Cut a healthy branch with one or two nodes with a great fat node base that is three inches long.

About five pairs of leaves should be linked tightly along each side of the stem in the lower section.

Step 2: Remove any leaves that come into touch with the compost or soil; if they remain connected to the cuttings, they may decay and create problems later.

Step 3: Follow either side of the node base around it and make a shallow diagonal cut at least one inch below where you want your plant to stop growing.

Step 4: Remove each leaf from this section of the cutting with care, taking care not to injure its roots to prevent desiccation (drying out).

Leave about two inches of space between nodes before making another cut an inch further up along either side.

Step 5: Add rooting hormone to each segment until you reach three inches above the ground level while repeating the cuts.

Step 6: Plant them in a sunny location with indirect sunlight for best results.

Also, watch this video to learn more details,

12. Potting and Repotting

Haworthia obtusa prefers pots made of non-porous materials such as plastics or ceramic.

Haworthias need to be potted once they start growing roots.

While it’s not necessary to pot them before they start rooting the cause, it might give your plant a transplant shock.

You might want to choose a container 2 inches larger in diameter and height than your present container for repotting.

Ensuring there are no air pockets is the first step for repotting. So, make sure you use your hands instead of tools.

Any space for water collection can cause root rot in the future so freshen up the soil gently with the help of your hands.

It would be best to repot your plants every winter as they require less watering.

Ensure to completely wash off oil soil during potting to avoid any complications.

Tips for Repotting Haworthia obtusa

  • Choose a shallow plastic or ceramic pot at least 1 inch larger than your original pot.
  • Avoid using deep pots as it may affect the normal drainage and cause rot in Haworthia.
  • Prepare the well-draining and fertilizer-free potting mix that contains coarse sand, perlite, and pumice.
  • Fill the one-third bottom of the pot with the potting mix. Do not compress the potting mix as it may decrease the drainage.
  • Remove your plant carefully from the pot. Then, carefully shake the pot until the roots get out.
  • Remove about half of the soil from surrounding the root ball. Insert the roots into the new pot’s soil.
  • Hold the Haworthia erect as you backfill the soil mixture around the roots. Shake the pot now and then to settle the soil.
  • Sprinkle water around the Haworthia’s base until the top inch of soil feels damp. If the soil sinks considerably after watering, apply a thin layer of soil around the plant.
Potted Haworthia obtusa
Potted Haworthia obtusa (Source: Etsy)

13. Pruning Habits

It is not necessary to prune Haworthia obtusa.

Pruning is important if you wish to keep the indoor plant at a lesser size and shape or divide it into new plants.

It should be done when your leaves have at least three to four eyes to ensure enough energy is conserved for regenerative growth.

Before potting up the individual stem cuttings, cut through the leaf with sterile scissors, leaving one eye per leaf intact.

Make sure you use sterile scissors to divide the plant, preventing any infections to the individual stems.

It is advised to cut a plant’s roots when pulling it out of the container for care or propagation or upon acquiring a new plant, as long as the temperature is not too high.

14. Toxicity of the Haworthia obtusa

Although the Haworthia Obtusa consists of Calcium Oxalates, they aren’t toxic.

Nonetheless, Haworthia obtusa contains oxalates that can prompt kidney stones and other medical problems for the individuals inclined to them or have a history of diseases caused by calcium oxalate. 

It’s best to avoid the plants altogether unless necessary.

But consider the following things:

  • Wash your hands right after intentionally or accidentally touching the plants.
  • Keep the plant away from children and pets.
  • Don’t ingest the plant.
  • Wear gloves while propagating or pruning the plants.

FAQs About Haworthia Obtusa

1. Why is my Haworthia Losing its Leaves?

The problem within the root system is the cause of Haworthia’s losing their leaves.

You might want to maintain temperature, lighting, and watering to prevent this.

You can repot your plants in case of severe damage by removing the damaged roots.

2. How to Prevent Transplant Shock in Haworthia obtusa?

To prevent transplant shock, you need to help your plant overcome the stress.

You can do this by providing them with enough water and sunlight for at least two months of transplantation.

Avoid fertilizers when your plant is going through Transplant shock. Instead, you can use grow lights to help them recover faster by mimicking the daylight.

It would be best to avoid any soil amendments during this phase as plants need to rest.

Variegated Haworthia obtusa
Variegated Haworthia obtusa (Source: Esty)

3. Why is my Haworthia obtusa Turning Yellow?

If your plants, Haworthia obtusa, are turning yellow, then it’s hinting towards a lightning issue.

Moving the plants indoor would be the suggestion.

But if it’s already indoors, consider moving your plants to a location where indirect and bright lightning is available.

4. Why is my Haworthia Closing Up?

Incorrect exposure to sunlight and exposure to adverse temperatures, along with imbalanced watering, are some of the factors behind Haworthia closing up.

These changes cause stress in the plants, due to which they start closing up.

5. Should I Mist my Haworthia?

Since Haworthias are succulents and develop poorly when over-watered, it would be best not to mist them.

Excessive watering causes stem rot and root rot in succulents, so there’s no need to mist them as long as their drainage is good.

You can refer to the above video for the complete care of Haworthia plants.

Conclusion

If you’re a newbie looking for low-maintenance succulents, then Haworthia obtusa is perfect for you.

Ensure to provide them with enough lightning and drainage, and these plants will thrive independently.

Listen to your plants, and they’ll do the same for you.

Happy growing!

If you’re concerned about your Zebra Plant (Haworthia species) turning brown, check this out: 9 Reasons your Zebra Plant Leaf is Turning Brown [With Solutions]

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