Growing Haworthia Succulents: How To Care For The Pearl Plant

Haworthia margaritifera is one of the most attractive succulent plant species of Haworthia pronounced (hau-wur’-thi-ah).

It is also one of the largest of the many different types of this easy, slow-growing, attractive succulent sometimes called the “cushion aloe” or the zebra succulent plant.

In the Haworthia genus, the leaves grow in rosettes with leaves curving upward. The plants are often cespitose – meaning they grow (the rosettes) in dense tufts or clumps.

You may hear it called by its common name the hawthornia plant.

Potted succulent Haworthia plant
Haworthia plant growing in a decorative container via Kyaw Tun

The tight rosette of this attractive, blue-green plant is covered with interesting white tubercles or “pearls.”

In this article, we will share growing and care information of this interesting, hardy plant. Read on to learn more.

Haworthia Plant Care Tips At A Glance

Here’s our zebra haworthia care guide.

Size & Growth Rate: These plants can grow to be 4″ tall and 6″ across.

Flowering & Fragrance: The plants tend to bloom in the springtime. Haworthia flowers are unremarkable but do attract pollinators in their native Southern Africa. Remove the flower stalks as they form.

Light & Temperature: Haworthia can do well in a cool, shady setting or in a bright, hot setting. Avoid a hot, shady, setting, though. This combination tends to produce fungus.

More on –> Low Light Indoor Succulents

Winter temperature should not get below 53° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering & Feeding: Water and provide a light feeding of liquid houseplant fertilizer about once a month during the growing season.

Let the soil dry out completely between watering. Reduce watering and do not feed during the winter. Learn more on succulent watering.

Soil & Transplanting: Use a commercial well-draining succulent soil mix or a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice or perlite. Alternately, you can use a 50/50 combination of loam and sand.

Use a clay pot with drainage holes for better air circulation to the roots. Scatter pretty pebbles on the surface of the soil if you wish.

Grooming: Remove offsets regularly to prevent crowding and keep the plant looking its best.

Propagation: Plant offsets in their own little pots and care for them as adults in a calm and consistent setting.

Environment: Mature plants (and all of their cousins the Gasteria plants) do well in a wide variety of circumstances. Any window in your house or office is likely to be an appropriate setting for succulent Haworthia.

Desktop, bathroom and kitchen counter settings with good artificial light are also suitable.

The Pearl Plant Is A Great Choice For “Brown -Thumbs” Gardeners

Like the tough succulent Echeveria plant, Pearl Plants are easy to grow succulents indoors in almost any setting, and they are remarkably exotic and attractive.

If you have never had much success with plants before, or if you are trying to choose a plant for a challenging setting, you really can’t go wrong with this member of the Haworthia family.

With over 70 members of this family, once you get a little plant care practice, you can easily expand your collection for a widely varied, easy-care succulent display.

These plants are an excellent choice for a collector because none of them grow to be very big, and they all take very simple common sense care.

This video shares a very large collection and provides good tips on general Haworthia care.

What Makes The Haworthia Plant So Desirable?

Pearl or Wart plant hails from South Africa where it grows well under the most unwelcoming conditions.

In its native land, you will find the plant springing up on rocky ground or from cracks in the sun-baked earth.

These plants are able to sustain themselves during times of extreme drought by storing up moisture in their thick leaves.

Even under the most extreme circumstances, the rosettes of succulent leaves can grow as large as six inches across and are covered with pretty white “pearls” (or “warts” depending upon your life perspective!)

Not only do individual plants flourish under adverse conditions, but these plants are also prolific reproducers, sending off multiple offsets on all sides.

In the springtime, the plants send out long shoots covered with many small, white blossoms.

The blossoms are not fancy, but they are cheery and provide good sustenance for pollinators in the wild.

Does The Haworthia Pearl Plant Require Full Or Direct Sunlight?

Even though this plant thrives in very hot, dry, challenging conditions, it can also do well in a cool, low-light setting.

Unlike many succulents, it doesn’t become pale, wan and leggy when it’s kept in a shady place.

Instead, it simply slows its growth (and it already quite a slow growing plant).

For this reason, you can successfully keep the “Wart Plant” year-round in bright light like a sunny south window, a cool north facing window, a basement window, under artificial light on your office desk or just about any place you like.

The main thing to remember when keeping this plant in a cooler, darker setting is that you should water it extremely sparingly as it is more susceptible to root rot without heat and sun.

Does Haworthia Have Pest Problems?

As long as you water sparingly and keep your plant in an airy setting, you shouldn’t have pest or disease challenges with this plant.

Young plants of all aloe Haworthia species if overwatered are subject to fungal rot.

If conditions are less than ideal, watch out for:

Rot:

Overwatering can cause root and leaf rot. Just as with any plant, too much moisture encourages fungal growth.

The Haworthia Plant is very resistant to fungus, but it is not entirely immune. Remember to water sparingly and provide good air circulation to prevent the growth of fungus.

Learn more on Root Rot on Succulents

Scale Insects:

If exposed to an infested plant, your plant may pick up scale insects.

If you notice shiny, overlapping brown shields on your plant, you can surmise that scale insects are hiding underneath them.

Simply scrape them off with a dull knife or your fingernail and spray the plant with rubbing alcohol to prevent reinfestation.

Plant scale easily nests in the middle of densely packed leaves.

NOTE: Use pesticides with caution as succulent plant tissues are more sensitive to chemicals than other plants.

Mealy Bugs Can Also Be A Problem.

Mealybugs can attack succulent Haworthia leaves and the plant roots.

If this happens, wipe the leaves with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. To get them out of the soil, you’ll need to repot the plant.

Be sure to remove all old soil and rinse the roots thoroughly. Use all-new succulent potting soil and a brand new pot for the repotting.

If the plant is badly damaged by mealy bugs, locate and remove a healthy offshoot or two and pitch the rest of the plant, pot and all.

Be sure to clean the offshoots thoroughly before using them to start a new plant.

How Do You Propagate Haworthia?

Just as with any succulent, you can grow it from seed, but there’s really no reason to.

It is dead-simple to grow it from an offset. You’ll just need to locate a mature plant to find a little baby plant ready to be removed and given its own home.

To remove the offsets, simply break them off carefully or cut with a sharp knife and place the small plant in small pots of a slightly moist cactus mix.

Propagation of a Haworthia cutting or offset ready for potting

If you don’t have a commercially prepared cactus mix, you can use a 50/50 mix of potting soil and perlite or pumice.

Put your little plants in a warm, still sunny window setting with bright indirect light conditions. Protect them from extremes until they have taken root.

A north facing window is a good setting for little Pearl Plants to get their start and develop a root system.

If you want to amass a collection of Haworthia, it’s a good idea to join a plant club and have lots of little Pearl Plants on hand to trade with your fellow succulent enthusiasts.

Here’s a handy video that shows how to repot Zebra Haworthia, which are very similar to Haworthia margaritifera.

How Long Does The Pearl Plant Live?

These plants with their low maintenance seem to be practically immortal. A mature plant can survive for an indefinite period of time, but it cannot necessarily thrive.

As plants grow old, they become bruised and battered. They may develop unsightly brown patches and generally lose their appeal.

That’s another good reason to keep a fresh supply of young plants at the ready to replace older plants as they wind down.

Haworthia margaritifera

Haworthia margaritifera grows to a height approximately 3″- inches (8 cm) and about 6″ – inches across (15 cm).

The 3″- inch lanceolate leaves are dotted with clusters of pearly white “warts” and form a rosette around a very short stem dotted

Margaritifera produces thin, flower stalks with whitish flowers around June.

Haworthia Limifolia

Haworthia limifolia potted

The charming, hypnotic Haworthia limifolia is a compact succulent, rarely exceeding 4″- inches in a container.

Known as the ‘Fairies Washboard’ it makes a wonderful window sill or desk addition.

Haworthia reinwardtii

Haworthia "Zebra Wart" Reinwardtii

Succulent with stems about 6″ – inches long (15 cm), with triangular dark green to reddish leaves which curve inward and covered in tiny warts.

Haworthia tessellata

Haworthia Tessellata
Group of Haworthia Tessellata

Clustered leaves in rosettes about 2″ – inches tall (5 cm) and 3″ – inches wide (7 cm), attached to almost nonexistent stems which curve outward.

Dark green to reddish in color.

Two varieties of note: The small leaved Haworthia tessellata var. parva and Haworthia tessellata var. inflexa with blunt leaves and edges curving inwards.

Other Common Species To Grow

  • Haworthia Fasciata – (fasciated haworthia) the rosette steadily rises from the base, with sturdy stiff leaves thrusting upward and outward. Almost black-green leaves have undersides banded with white tubercles.
  • Haworthia Retusa – small succulent about 4″ – inches tall forming a rosette with triangular very thick green leaves. Small white flowers in late spring to summer.
  • Haworthia Attenuata – very similar to H. fasciata. the main difference is in the pattern and texture of their leaves.
  • Haworthia Cymbiformis – Cathedral Window Haworthia, small succulent, bulbous fleshy leaves, dark stripes, translucent tips.
  • Haworthia Pumila
  • Haworthia Cooperi – slow-growing succulent with fleshy leaves, and transparent tips. Spring and summer flowers.
  • Haworthia Coarctata – flowering, low-growing, upright fleshy succulent rosette, with white bands and pearly warts, reaching roughly 8” inches tall.

Haworthia “Window Plants”

Haworthias make excellent so-called “window plants” indoors.

These small compact plants can be used to good advantage in group plantings. They make interesting winter centerpieces but also attractive spring, summer and fall.

Colorful small rocks and shells placed among them, provide a naturalistic setting and also help conserve moisture.

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