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Haworthia Care: The Hardest Succulent to Kill!

Looking for haworthia care tips? Haworthia succulents, often referred to as zebra plant succulents, striped succulents, or spiky succulents, come in many varieties—most with striking markings. Learn everything you need to know to care for these easy plants!

Haworthia Care: Everything You Need to Know About This Hardy Succulent

Haworthia succulents are a large and diverse genus of plants in the asphodelaceae family, asphodeloideae subfamily, aloeae tribe. They are close relatives of aloe plants, which are generally much larger—but they share a lot of similarities in appearance.

These plants generally stay small, producing pups or babies as their main growth (as opposed to growing up or out). Most varieties of haworthia have striking vertical spiky succulent leaves that are packed together in tight rosettes. Markings and coloring depends heavily on the variety, but all varieties are very easy to care for!

haworthia care

Why is the haworthia genus so confusing?

These little cuties are from southern Africa, largely the southwestern Cape. The haworthia genus is not a well-understood genus, though. You’ll quickly realize this if you start to research exactly what type of haworthia plant you have and realize that plants that look exactly the same have different names.

Here’s why that is. The taxonomy of the genus is dominated by amateurs, and therefore the literature about haworthia isn’t really great. In 2013, many haworthia species moved to the haworthiopsis and tulista genuses. This coincided with the last update of The Plant List, which outlined 150 species of haworthia. 

At the end of the day, these little suckers have just been really difficult for people to pin down and differentiate. The lack of good info on haworthia is complicated by all of the different varieties—some of which look pretty similar. So I’m going to do my best when talking about the different varieties as I understand them. 🙂

haworthia in a window

What are some common varieties of haworthia?

I am going to share a few of the haworthia varieties I own. These are also some of the most popular, easy-to-find varieties. Any big box garden store will have a great selection of haworthia in the late spring and summer, while local nurseries might have some of the rarer types. Whatever the variety, haworthia care steps remain largely the same.

Haworthia fasciata care (aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent)

Haworthia fasciata, aka the Zebra plant succulent or striped succulent, is probably one of the most popular varieties of haworthia. I have also seen this variety referred to as haworthiopsis attenuata and haworthia attenuata. It has thick, spiky dark green leaves with raised bright white “stripes” on them. 

This variety stays very small, topping out at only about a half of a foot tall. It can grow a bit larger than a half of a foot wide, though, by producing new baby rosettes that spread. I have a stunning zebra haworthia plant that has grown very slowly over the years.

Haworthia fasciata aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent
Haworthia fasciata aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent
Haworthia fasciata aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent

Haworthia attenuata care (also aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent)

Haworthia attenuata is also referred to as the zebra plant succulent or striped succulent. And it is referred to as haworthiopsis attenuata. Yeah, I told you it’s confusing. Both of these varieties are known as zebra plant haworthias because they look so similar. 

The biggest difference between fasciata and attenuata is that while fasciata has relatively smooth inner leaves, attenuata does not. You can see the bumps along the insides of the leaves here. From what I’ve seen, the markings sometimes appear less raised and less striking on the attenuata. 

Haworthia attenuata aka zebra plant succulent or striped succulent

Haworthia coarctata care (also a spiky succulent)

I don’t know that this variety has a common name. In fact, I had this plant for years before finding out what variety of haworthia it was. It took me posting it to Tiktok a few months ago asking for plant ID help to figure out it was a coarctata. I don’t typically see this one in our stores here, but I did buy this one from the Ikea plant section about 5 or so years ago.

This variety grows a bit taller and spikier, and it has more solid leaves. Mine is green, but I recently noticed a stunning almost black one in my neighbor’s house. She said she’s had it for a long time; it started as one rosette and has multiplied over the years. She kindly gave me a cutting 🙂

Haworthia coarctata aka spiky succulent

Mine has also multiplied over the years. I split it into two pots last year, and both new plants have produced lots of new pups this season. I like this variety—it is so easy, and I like how it grows straight up.

succulents in a window
Haworthia coarctata aka spiky succulent and offsets

Haworthia mirabilis care

The haworthia mirabilis variety looks a bit different. It isn’t spiky like the other varieties I’ve outlined, and its colors are less bold. Instead, it has shorter, chunkier, very succulent-looking leaves that are a bit paler green. Almost translucent looking. 

The variety pictured below is Haworthia mirabilis mundula, which I’ve got in a teeny tiny pot. This is a very slow growing variety, so these are great in little pots or small repurposed items like teacup planters.

Haworthia mirabilis mundula
Haworthia mirabilis mundula

Haworthia cooperi care

This haworthia variety is definitely more like the mirabilis variety than the zebra varieties. It has densely packed rosettes that are green with a translucent hint. I don’t currently have this variety, but I’ve owned one in the past.

I got it from a local farmer’s market, but it was long before I knew about the dangers of overwatering plants. Sadly I killed this plant with too much love in the form of water. It still makes me sad, because this was such a cool-looking plant! I had to dig deep into the archives to find some pics.

Haworthia cooperi

Haworthia limifolia care (aka fairy washboard succulent)

Haworthia limifolia, also known as the fairy washboard succulent, has more subdued markings and larger leaves. The leaves are also slightly wider, especially at the base of the plant.

Haworthia limifolia aka fairy washboard succulent
Haworthia limifolia aka fairy washboard succulent

How much light do haworthia succulents need?

As succulents, these plants generally prefer higher light levels and lower water levels. If you have your haworthia plants indoors, bright indirect light will be great. However, they can also tolerate medium light very well. That’s because in their natural habitat, these plants grow in shade or semi-shade (under bushes or overhangs, etc.). 

I have had mine in a variety of lighting conditions; some conditions even get bright direct sunlight through a window for a portion of the day. They have all done great. Make sure you ease any plant into any amount of bright direct light, though. If you don’t, the foliage could burn.

haworthia care guide

Haworthia care: Water and soil preferences

Water these plants sparingly. Too much water will lead to root rot and will kill them. Too little water could lead to some shriveling, or it could lead to the leaves taking on purple and red hues. To help ensure your haworthia plants are the happiest, water when the soil dries out. For mine, that’s about once every 1.5 weeks in the hotter months and about once a month in the winter.

I have all of my haworthia succulents planted in well-draining succulent soil. (Don’t have any? Learn how to mix your own succulent soil at home.) In their natural habitat, these plants grow in sands and on rocky areas, so soil with great drainage is important.

hanging planter
See how I updated this budget hanging planter
haworthia care guide

Temperature, humidity, and fertilizer

Haworthia succulents tolerate all normal household temperatures and humidity levels very well. In fact, they do quite well in dry indoor air. Keep these plants in environments that do not get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also give them some cactus fertilizer in the summer.

haworthia flowering
Haworthia throwing out a flower!
closeup of zebra haworthia
free plant care guide teaser image prompting readers to sign up below

Here is a link to the Dropbox folder with the guide!

teaser image of the cover of the houseplant care guide

Repotting and propagating haworthia succulents

You will not need to repot your haworthia plant often. In fact, they like being quite snug in their pots. However, as your healthy plant produces new baby plants over the years, it will begin to outgrow its pot. Repotting in the spring is a great time to prune and propagate haworthia! 

Using clean scissors or a clean knife, cut an offset off of the mother plant. Include as much of the set as possible; that’s where the new roots will emerge from. Allow the cut end of the offset to dry for a day or so. I just set mine on a windowsill for a few days. 

Plant in a small pot with succulent soil. Water when the soil dries, but give it a bit more water than you normally would while the roots are developing. After a few weeks, give the cutting a gentle tug to see if it has started to root. Once it has started to root, make sure you ease back on watering to give it only normal levels of water for a haworthia. 

For more on succulent propagation and growing, check out my guide to propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings, my post about growing succulents from seed, and my best tips for indoor succulent care!

haworthia care guide
beautiful black haworthia coarctata
black haworthia coarctata cutting

Haworthia care and issues

Since haworthia care is so straightforward, I haven’t experienced any problems with my plants over the years. They are very hardy and resilient to pest infestations. Pale leaves could mean that the plant needs more nitrogen or is getting too much sun. They are not known to be toxic to pets.

Are the bright-colored succulents real?

That’s a big fat NO! And I die a little bit on the inside when I see them at the big-box store garden centers. These succulents are often haworthia plants, and you can clearly see that they have been painted. New growth will not retain this color, and covering a paint in plant is obviously not good for it. Please don’t buy these, even if the unicorn planters are really cute. 🙂

painted succulents

Pin my haworthia care guide!

image collage of Haworthia succulents with text Haworthia Care Different types of this hard to kill succulent,
image collage of Haworthia succulents with text Haworthia Care, the hardest succulent to kill

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