Haworthia Retusa

Haworthia Retusa – Detailed Care Guide

Haworthia retusa is also called Star Cactus. Even though it is called “Star Cactus,” Haworthia retusa is a soft window succulent with translucent leaves and not a cactus plant.

haworthia retusa
Haworthia Retusa @Amazon

Star Cactus is native to Western Cape Province, a small town in South Africa. The natural environment of Haworthia retusa is a low, flat terrain.

Not only has Haworthia retusa won the hearts of millions of succulents growers around the world, but it has also won the Award of Garden Merit put together by the Royal Horticultural Society in the United Kingdom.

This article is all you need if you would like to know how to propagate and care for the Haworthia retusa.

Description of Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Haworthia retusa is a small succulent that does not grow beyond six inches in diameter. The lime green leaves of the succulent form rosettes and have translucent windows on the tips. The leaves measure approximately three inches in length and an inch in width.

The Star Cactus produces flowers with brown or green veins when it blooms in the summer or spring.

Haworthia retusa is not poisonous to pets and humans, so you can grow it indoors.

Caring for Your Haworthia Retusa Succulents

It is not difficult to please the Haworthia retusa succulent. It will survive indoors or outdoors as long as it can get an ample amount of sunlight and water. Here are some factors to consider when growing your Haworthia retusa plant:


For your Haworthia retusa to thrive indoors, it needs to be kept close to bright light. You can place the succulent pot close to an east or west-facing window to get the desired amount of light.

If you don’t have a well-lit home, the Haworthia retusa will stretch in the direction of light and become leggy. To prevent this, you should supplement your indoor lighting with a grow light.

If you are growing your Star Cactus outdoors, it would be best to plant it in a succulent pot rather than in the ground. If the weather becomes inclement, you can easily move the pot inside. Also, you can move the pot to get as much sunlight as possible.

The Star Cactus plant is better off under partial shade. But it can withstand full sun when there is no heatwave. Full sun and high heat levels can lead to sunburn and dehydration. To prevent sunburns, ensure you acclimate your succulents to full sun. About three to four weeks need to pass for the Haworthia retusa to adjust to full sun fully. But then, if your Haworthia retusa is already sunburned, the only thing you can do is to either trim off the damaged parts or allow the damaged parts to be replaced with fresh parts.


Just like most succulents, Star Cactus should not be overwatered or left in standing water to avoid root rot.

To prevent overwatering, ensure you examine the soil before watering. Stick fingers into the soil and feel the moisture content of it. For better testing, use a moisture meter to determine the moisture level of the soil.

If the soil is moist, wait for a couple of days for the soil to dry before watering again. When you allow the soil to dry before resuming watering, the natural environment of the succulent is simulated, allowing the plant to grow healthy.

Note that Haworthia retusa succulents are usually dormant during the summer. In light of this, ensure you water them just enough to prevent the leaves from drying up. During the fall, when the succulent is actively growing, you can continue your regular watering schedule.

Star Cactus can thrive in fairly high humidity. If you live in an environment with a dry climate, you do not have to bother about getting a pebble tray or humidifier to adjust the humidity level.

But then, you need to water these succulents more frequently in high humidity. The rate of evaporation will drop during this period and the soil will remain moist for longer than usual.


Haworthia retusa cannot withstand frostbite, so you must protect it from icy temperatures. While this succulent is happy with cooler temperatures in the winter, ensure you do not expose it to freezing temperatures.

Haworthia retusa can thrive in a temperature range of 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is below that range, you risk killing your plant to freezing. On the other hand, if the temperature is above that range, your Haworthia retusa succulents may suffer from sunburn.

You should consider moving your Haworthia retusa succulents indoors during the winter months, where the temperature is warmer and stable.


Star Cactus cannot survive for long in wet soil. Hence, it would be best to avoid potting mix containing water-retaining ingredients such as peat moss, coconut coir, or clay. If the soil drains quickly, small portions of these ingredients will not be that harmful.

To enhance the drainage of the soil, use large particles of perlite, gravel, and coarse sand. These ingredients permit airflow to the roots of the succulents when the soil dries up.

While succulent pots with drainage holes help the soil to dry out quickly, your succulents can still survive in a pot with no drainage holes. You just have to know how to water the succulents properly and examine the soil’s moisture level.

How to Propagate Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Haworthia retusa is quite easy to propagate. It is best to propagate this succulent when it is actively growing, so the new plants can have enough time to develop before their dormancy period. Here are the ways to propagate Haworthia retusa succulents:


Propagating Star Cactus plants from seeds require patience because seeds take time to germinate. But the process of experimenting is quite fun for succulent growers.

Plant the seeds in a damp, warm soil. If these soil conditions are not met, your succulent seeds will not germinate. You can use a seed tray to cover the soil, so the seeds will always be warm.

After about three or four weeks, you will notice that the seeds are germinating. At this stage, you can remove the seed tray.

Ensure that the soil is not overwatered to prevent root rot. You can adopt the “wet and dry” watering technique that involves watering and waiting until the soil is dry before resuming your watering schedule.


If you got no patience to wait for seeds to germinate, you can opt for propagating by stem or leaf cuttings. This is a more effective method of propagating Haworthia retusa.

To propagate from leaf or stem cuttings, cut off a mature stem or leaf with a sterilized knife. Allow the cuttings to dry for a couple of days, so the cuts can heal. This helps to prevent infectious organisms from attacking the cuttings when they are planted.

After sticking the cuttings in the soil, do not water until you notice tiny roots springing up. If you want to speed up the root development process, dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone before sticking them in the soil.

You can water and care for the cuttings the same way you would care for a mature succulent as soon as you notice the tiny roots appear.

Bear in mind that planting a number of cuttings in a single pot will give you a vibrant array of succulents when the cuttings mature, so you should consider taking more than a handful of cuttings for propagation.


Propagating Haworthia retusa by offsets is the easiest way to go. If you follow the watering, lighting, and temperature conditions mentioned above, your Haworthia retusa will produce offsets in no time.

You can cut off these offsets with a sterilized blade or pluck them from the plant with your fingers. Ensure you go as close as possible to the parent plant when cutting off the offsets. This will help the offsets in forming roots quickly and increase their chances of survival.

Plant the offsets in a different pot and nurture them the same way you would nurture a mature succulent.

Common Pests and Disease Problems Associated with Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Perhaps, the most difficult aspect of caring for the Star Cactus plant is watering. The chances of survival for the Haworthia retusa succulent are quite slim if it is overwatered. Hence, it is very important to check the moisture level of the soil regularly.

If the roots of this succulent start to rot due to overwatering, it will be pretty difficult to save the plant. If the roots are not yet damaged, but the leaves are becoming mushy or yellow, you can still save the succulent by removing the excess water from the pot.

To remove excess water your succulents are standing on, hold the soil with one hand and flip the container with your other hand. If the water is not that much, you can move the pot to a dry, sunny area so that the excess water will evaporate.

In a bid not to overwater your Haworthia retusa succulents, ensure you do not under-water them. If you notice that the leaves of the Star Cactus have a wrinkly or shriveled appearance, take that as a sign to up your watering game.

When it comes to pest attacks, keep an eye out for fungus gnats, spider mites, and mealybugs. Ensure that there is no decaying material in the soil that will attract these pests. Also, insecticides can help to get rid of these pests, especially at the early stages of infestation.

Haworthia Coarctata

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The Haworthia coarctata is a somewhat strange but well-known plant species in the world of succulents. It has medium-sized stems, reaching 11 inches, composed of rosettes of column-shaped growth. Its leaves are fleshy and mottled; that is, they are dotted with white pigmentation. If this plant is kept in a place where it receives a lot of sunlight, its leaves take on a reddish pigmentation, giving them a tanned appearance.

Haworthia coarctata tend to have leafy stems and are very easy to grow as they withstand extreme conditions and do not require great care. This succulent forms dense clusters of generally unbranched leaves arranged in a spiral around its stem. In early spring, this succulent can flower, developing not very dense clusters of tubular white flowers.

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Growing Plant Indoors

If you want to grow indoors, it should be placed in a room with plenty of natural light. An ideal place can be near the window but not directly in front of it to avoid sunburn. Something important to remember is that we must periodically turn the pot to get the same amount of light from uniformly to other parts of the plant.

Suppose it is considered to leave this plant indoors. In that case, we must bear in mind that it is imperative that the container where it is found has adequate drainage and not allow in any scenario that there is an accumulation of water under it. If we use a dish underneath, we must remove the excess water as soon as possible after watering to avoid any disease in the plant and rotting its roots.

When our does not have adequate drainage and leaves accumulations of water, a useful tip is to add a layer of gravel to the bottom of it to reduce water absorption into the ground.

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Growing Plant Outdoors

In case of growing it outdoors, it is good to place the Haworthia coarctata in a partially shaded place, such as under larger plants or some roofed area such as balconies. A place where it can receive enough light to be comfortable but not be in danger from being burned by prolonged direct sun exposure. In case the plant is receiving a lot of natural light, it shows some signs, such as an orange pigmentation and a very characteristic dryness in its leaves; besides, it also slows its growth.

Hence, you have to be careful and watch out for any of these symptoms to take action, either by moving it around or looking to protect it from the Sun in its current position. Although these plants are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, they prefer a highly porous, non-acidic soil mix for good drainage.

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Haworthia Succulent Growth

Haworthia coarctata growth is relatively slow, creating freely displaced clusters around the main stem. Generally, this species of succulents are grown in shallow and relatively wide dishes. As the mother plant produces small cuttings, they will slowly expand and multiply around her. When the time comes where they need more space, you should transplant it around early spring.

At this time, we can also take some cuttings to propagate them. It is advisable to carry out this transplant process approximately every two years. This process gives us different advantages; first, we can regenerate the soil and help the natural growth of our Haworthia Coarctata. Second, we can check our succulent health; if we observe, for example, grayish colorations in the roots, it means that it has a fungal infection.

By doing a transplant, we can treat this infection and eliminate the most infected branches.

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Plant Propagation

The propagation of this plant can be through seeds or suckers. If you want to use seeds, they can be sown in special trays for seedlings or, failing that; we can use pots wider than tall. The most recommended soil to use in these cases is a universal growing substrate mixed in equal parts with perlite to have good drainage. It is essential to avoid that the seeds are too close together when distributing them in our tray or pot; otherwise, they will not be able to germinate well.

When we have spread our bases, we must cover them with a thin layer of the same substrate, although we can also use some drier soil or even sand to imitate succulents’ natural environment. Once our seeds are well covered, we must sensibly water them, moistening all the earth well and, finally, place our seedbed or pot outside, in a partially shaded place, or, failing that, inside our home near a heat source; the seeds should germinate in about 15 days.

Another way to propagate this plant is through cuttings. This way is the fastest and most effective. We must separate them from the mother plant when they have an easy to manipulate and some root. From there, we plant in individual pots in nutrient-rich soil to help create a rooting faster.

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Haworthia Coarctata- Much more to know

The Haworthia Coarctata are succulents that need a situation. Although it can be a little more exposed than other succulents so that its leaves grow compactly and with the attractive tan pigment, it should not be excessive, with only some intense and indirect rays. This plant will grow healthy, compact, and with the particular reddish tint that characterizes it.

It is worth mentioning that we cannot be cautious with light since if our plant does not receive enough light, it will begin to grow and lengthen in a strange way looking for sunlight. For this, it is vital that it gets enough natural light indirectly and avoid excessively shady places.

The watering of our succulents should not be too excessive, and they should not have much humidity. During the hot summer months, we must keep the soil moderately humid to prevent our plant from drying out; these are its flowering months, and it will need to stay hydrated to stay healthy. During the cold winter months, water should only be provided when the soil is arid. If the earth or its roots are kept moist during the winter, it can quickly cause root and stem rot.

When we are overwatering our Haworthia Coarctata, it will begin to soften its leaves and become weak. In case of having soft leaves, we must cut these carefully and reduce the watering frequency for a few days. Haworthia coarctata are very resistant to pests; therefore, we only have to keep vigilant against mealybugs, snails, and slugs. These being small plants, mealybugs can be treated by rubbing the affected area with a brush soaked in alcohol.