Growing Haworthia Succulents: How To Care For The Pearl Plant

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Haworthia margaritifera is one of the most attractive succulent plant species of the Haworthia genus and Asphodelaceae family.

It is native to South Africa and also one of the largest of the many different types of this easy-to-grow, slow-growing, attractive succulent, sometimes called the “cushion aloe plant” or the fasciata zebra cactus plant.

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

In the Haworthia succulent 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.

The tight rosette of this attractive, blue-green plant is covered with interesting white tubercles or “pearls,” hence its other common name, Pearl plant.

Haworthia Margaritifera Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Haworthia margaritifera
  • Common Name(s): Pearl plant, Pearl succulent, Cushion aloe plant, Fasciata zebra cactus plant.
  • Synonyms: Haworthia attenuata var. margaritifera
  • Pronunciation: hau-wur’-thi-ah
  • Family & Origin: Asphodelaceae family, native to South Africa
  • Growability: Easy to grow and care for
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-11
  • Size: Grows up to 4″ inches tall and 6″ inches wide
  • Flowering: Produces small white flowers in the summer
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade
  • Humidity: 25-35% relative humidity.
  • Temperature: Thrives in warm temperatures between 70° and 95° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil: Well-draining soil mix, such as cactus or succulent soil
  • Water: Water sparingly, allowing soil to dry out completely between waterings
  • Fertilizer: Light feeding of liquid houseplant fertilizer or a cactus fertilizer once a month during the growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites, diseases like root rot,
  • Propagation: Propagate through seeds, offsets, or leaf cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great addition to succulent gardens or as a low-maintenance houseplant. Can also be used in terrariums or as a desk plant.

In this article, we share growing and caring information about 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 a bright, hot setting. Avoid direct sunlight, a hot, shady setting, though. This combination tends to produce fungus.

Related: Low Light Indoor Succulents

It prefers warm temperatures between 70° and 95° degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperature should not get below 53° degrees Fahrenheit. It also thrives in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

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

Let the soil dry out completely between watering. Wet soil leads to root rot. Reduce watering and do not feed during the winter. Learn more on succulent Haworthia watering.

It also prefers 25-35% relative humidity.

Soil & Transplanting: Use a commercial well-draining succulent soil mix or a 50/50 mix of potting soil and pumice or perlite. Alternatively, you can use a 50/50 potting soil combination of loam and coarse 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 or pups from the mother plant in their own little pots with well-draining soil. 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 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 succulent plants, it doesn’t become pale and leggy when it’s kept in a shady place.

Instead, it simply slows its growth (and it is 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. However, avoid direct sunlight.

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:


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

The zebra Haworthia 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.

Related: Root Rot on Succulents

Scale Insect Pests:

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

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 re-infestation.

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 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 Zebra Plants?

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 with lots of little Pearl Plants to trade with your fellow succulent enthusiasts.

Here’s a handy video that shows how to repot Zebra Haworthia, which is 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.

Popular Common Haworthia Species and Varieties

Related: Popular Types Of Haworthia Succulents To Grow

Haworthia margaritifera

Haworthia margaritifera grows to a height of 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 shape around a very short stem dotted Margaritifera produces thin flower stalks with whitish flowers around June.

Haworthia Limifolia

Haworthia limifolia pottedPin

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" ReinwardtiiPin

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

Haworthia tessellata

Haworthia TessellataPin
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 Haworthia 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 – (fasciata zebra haworthia and Haworthiopsis fasciata) 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 in height forming a rosette form with triangular very thick green leaves. Small white flowers in late spring to summer.
  • Haworthia Attenuata – also known as Haworthiopsis attenuata very similar to H. fasciata. the main difference is in the pattern and texture of their leaves.
  • Haworthia Cymbiformis – Cathedral Window plant Haworthia, small succulent, bulbous fleshy leaves, dark stripes, translucent tips.
  • Haworthia Pumila – (Tulista pumila) grows a bit larger than most other Haworthia species
  • 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 Truncata – slow-growing small succulent lime green in color. Features a warty surface, rectangular flat stemless segments, and variegated windowed leaves. 

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.

Sources: 1 | 2

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