Basic Requirements to Grow Haworthia
Haworthia is a genus of succulent flowering plants, consisting of around 70 species. These plants grow small white flowers on a rosette-like structure made of fleshy leaves. Haworthia plants are native to South Africa, and are known for their distinctive appearance and decorative leaves. Different species have widely varying forms and structures, which make for striking collections of plants. You can grow Haworthias successfully if you provide a few basic requirements, including plenty of sun, and protection from frost.
Haworthias need soil with excellent drainage. This is necessary to prevent root rot, to which these plants are susceptible. You can improve drainage properties by adding some perlite or pea gravel in an adequate proportion to the potting soil. Too much organic matter is to be avoided, as this can reduce drainage and contribute to waterlogging.
Methods of Propagation
You can grow Haworthias from seeds or divisions. You will need to sterilize the pot before beginning. After you have the plant pot or container ready, dampen the soil mix with a little water. If you are using seeds, sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil, and then add a fine coating of compost on top. Cover the pot with a plastic wrap that will seal the moisture in, and protect the plant from pests. Choose a spot with optimum warmth for storage, at a temperature not exceeding 20ºC. The plant will germinate after a few days, and can be stored this way till it looks healthy enough to be exposed to the environment.
If you are using plant divisions, you can use a healthy, mature plant as a source. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut out the division from the source plant. The division must have a healthy root growth. Monitor the source plant regularly to make sure the wound heals. Keep the division separate for a few days, till the cut is dry. Plant the division only after the wound is completely healed. Do not expose the plant to high temperatures till the roots have established themselves.
Depending on the climate in your region, the watering needs of Haworthias may widely differ. If you are growing these succulents in a cool, damp environment, you must provide very little water, allowing the plant to dry out between watering sessions. Choose a clay pot that will dry faster. On the other hand, if the climate in your area is hot and dry, you must water the plant regularly, and use a plastic pot that will hold moisture for longer periods of time.
Haworthias are not frost resistant, and must be protected indoors or in a greenhouse in places with severe winters. Exposure to the rain must also be avoided. Haworthias need exposure to light, and do not grow well in shaded places. Good air circulation is also vital to the healthy growth of these plants. Repotting the plants every 4 or 5 years will encourage healthy growth. Fertilization is not necessary, but if you do fertilize the plant, make sure you provide very low quantities. Over-fertilization can be fatal to these plants. Haworthias may be prone to attacks from mealybugs, which can be avoided to a great extent by thoroughly inspecting any new plant before introducing it to your collection. Treat with insecticide if you discover infestation.