If you’re looking for a small, easy to care for, and attractive houseplant, look no further than Haworthia cooperi. This dainty succulent is perfect for small spaces, offices, dorm rooms, and window sills.
Haworthia plants are just as easy to take care of as aloe vera and have a very unique appearance because of their transparent leaves.
Here’s exactly how to grow and care for Haworthia cooperi in your home.
What Is Haworthia Cooperi?
The genus Haworthia refers to a group of about 150 different small succulent plants. It’s named after a British botanist, Adrian Hardy Haworth.
Haworthia cooperi is a small and slow growing species originally native to South Africa. You’ll also see and hear it called by the names of cushion aloe, window Haworthia, Cooper’s Haworthia, zebra cactus, and star window plant.
The Haworthia cooperi plant has small leaves about 2 inches long that grow in clumps of rosettes. The plants typically reach no more than 5 inches in height.
Many varieties have leaves with translucent tips, while some have entire leaves that are transparent or semi-transparent. The leaves are fleshy- because that’s where the plant stores its water- and light green in color.
Haworthias are small succulents distantly related to aloe vera and other similar plants. They are extremely easy to take care of and withstand neglect well.
Haworthia cooperi plants will flower in spring and summer if grown in the right conditions. The flowers are small and whitish and come off of a stem that grows up to 12 inches tall.
However, the main attraction of window Haworthia is its unique leaves.
Why Grow Haworthia?
The main attraction of growing Haworthia is low maintenance requirements combined with an attractive, compact appearance.
Succulents are very popular because they are cute, small, and easy to care for, but few have the transparent leaves like Haworthia cooperi. This transparency makes them glow in sunlight and resemble translucent hard candy or green glass.
Window Haworthia is only hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11, which means that it’s a houseplant in most areas. However, you can take your plants outside during the summer when it’s warm out.
Haworthia also has a shallow root system which means it can be grown in small and/or shallow containers that will easily fit on a windowsill.
Haworthia cooperi has attractive translucent leaves that form small rosettes. Plants are slow-growing, drought tolerant, and great houseplants.
Like many other succulents, these plants are drought tolerant and allow you to leave on vacation without worrying about whether your plants will die while you’re away.
Varieties of Haworthia Cooperi
The straight Haworthia cooperi species has light green, pointed leaves with translucent tips. However, there are several other varieties to choose from that each have their own unique appearance:
- Haworthia cooperi var. Truncata– Truncata is a fun variety to grow because it looks like a chubby cluster of dark green grapes. The leaves are a blue-green color and almost fully transparent. They grow in clusters and are nearly spherical in shape.
- H. cooperi var. Venusta– Venusta is a showier succulent with green-gray pointed leaves. The leaves are covered with a soft, fluffy, silver-white fuzz as well as soft teeth. Plants are slow-growing and form clumps.
- H. cooperi var. Dielsiana– This variety has globular leaves that are almost completely rounded at the ends. They are mostly pale green in color and translucent. Plants are slow growing and form tight clusters.
- H. cooperi var. Picturata– Picturata has thinner, pointed leaves that are yellow-green in color. The leaves curve inwards towards the center of each rosette, giving each clump a spherical shape. This is a more vigorous and quick-growing variety that will give you baby plants to pot up if you wish.
How to Grow Haworthia Cooperi
Once you’ve picked out the variety (or varieties) you want to grow, potting your Haworthia correctly and placing it in a good location in your house will ensure its happiness.
Choosing a Pot
Haworthia cooperi does well in shallow containers. If you have a deeper container that you’d really like to plant it in, fill the bottom half of the pot with pebbles or gravel before adding soil.
Like many other succulents, Haworthia cooperi does best in a small and shallow pot. They easily fit in decorative containers like a teacup or pottery bowl, but make sure you provide good drainage.
It’s very important to make sure your plants will have good drainage. The pots you choose should either have drainage holes in the bottom (preferable) or a good layer of pebbles at the bottom.
Feel free to be inventive with your container choice. These succulents look adorable planted in something like a teacup or a small piece of pottery.
Haworthia plants don’t need highly fertile soil, but they do need soil that is light and drains well.
Use two parts of good quality, organic potting mix and add in an equal amount of peat moss or shredded bark. Then, mix in one part of coarse sand and one part of perlite for added drainage and aeration.
You can also add in a small amount of something like bonemeal to give your plants nutrients as they grow. A small amount of limestone helps to balance the pH if you used peat moss.
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After you pot your plants, it’s a good idea to put down a layer of gravel or decorative pebbles on top of the soil. Not only does this give your plants added decoration, it also keeps the leaves from touching wet soil, which keeps them healthier.
Haworthia cooperi will thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. This is one of the reasons it makes such a great houseplant.
Indoors, an east-facing window is best so that plants will get morning sunlight and shade the rest of the day. You can place your plants on the windowsill or in a sunny spot not far from the window.
In their native outdoor habitat, Haworthia is most often found under bushes, rock overhangs, and other shaded spots. If you take your plants outside for the summer, be sure to replicate this light requirement as much as possible, especially shading plants from hot afternoon sun.
Your Haworthia cooperi plant will appreciate consistently warm temperatures for most of the year but likes to have it slightly cooler during the winter months.
Normal indoor temperatures are fine for Haworthia, but it also does well when it gets some outdoor time. Depending on where you live, this could be anywhere from spring to fall.
Succulents make great windowsill plants, but they can also be taken outside during the summer months to get more heat and sunlight. Just be sure not to put your Haworthia somewhere it will get direct sunlight during the afternoon.
During the winter, Haworthia plants go through a resting period, and cooler than normal temperatures are ideal. If you have your plant sitting on a windowsill, the cooler outdoor air might be enough of a temperature change for it.
Make sure that temperatures don’t drop below 40°F for your succulents. They may be able to survive short periods of freezing weather, but it will ultimately harm and perhaps kill your plants.
Caring for Haworthia Cooperi
Your window Haworthia doesn’t really need that much attention from you (except enjoying its presence), but two main ways of caring for it will really make it thrive.
Like most other succulents, Haworthia cooperi is a drought tolerant plant. That means it’s much easier to kill your plants by overwatering rather than underwatering.
As a general rule, during the warm season (usually spring to fall) you should water thoroughly whenever the top of the soil dries out. This ends up being about once a week for indoor plants and maybe more if your plants are growing outside in hot and dry weather.
During the winter when your plants are resting, water very sparingly about once a month.
It’s very easy to overwater succulents since they come from dry climates and need less water than most houseplants. Water once a week in warm months and once a month in the winter.
Make sure your plants are never in standing water, and always be sure to water the soil around your plants and not the leaves.
Because Haworthia cooperi is a slow-growing plant, you can keep it in its original container for several years. However, repotting every three years or so will keep your plants healthy and vigorous.
All you need to do is select a slightly larger pot and fill it with new soil (and gravel/pebbles if needed).
Gently remove your Haworthia from its current container and plant it in its new pot. Take off any dead leaves at this time and take off any offsets if you want to start new plants.
Repotting should be done during the spring or summer- not during the rest period of winter. You can tell it’s time to repot your succulents when the clusters have completely covered the surface area of the soil.
What About Fertilizing?
Haworthia plants don’t need much fertilizer. Newly potted plants should not be fertilized at all during their first year of growth.
Succulents are light feeders and don’t need much fertilizer. You shouldn’t fertilize your Haworthia cooperi at all during the first year but can fertilize each spring after that.
After that, you can feed them with a diluted fertilizer each spring while they’re actively growing.
Pests and Problems
Haworthia cooperi rarely has any pest problems. Mealybugs are the most common succulent pest and will sometimes attack Haworthia. You can kill and remove them by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
If the soil gets too moist, you may have a problem with fungus gnats, a common pest of houseplants. Resolve this by watering less frequently.
The main problems people have with Haworthia are overwatering and too much sunlight. If the soil is wet for too long, this will cause root rot in your plants. A slowing of growth and reduction in leaf size are both signs of too much water.
Especially if you take your plants outside, keep an eye out for signs of too much sun. Gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions when you first take them out.
Yellow, white, and scorched-looking leaves can all indicate your plants are in too much sun. Faded looking leaves and plants growing sideways towards a light source are indicators of not enough sun.
The leaves of your Haworthia will get scorched if they’re sitting in too much sunlight. Too little sunlight will cause plants to bend themselves towards a light source inside of growing straight up.
If you’re enjoying your Haworthia cooperi plants, it’s really easy to propagate more of them. The two easiest methods are propagating by offset or by leaves.
As your plant grows, you’ll start to notice little baby plants that form off of the main one. These are known as offsets and will develop their own root systems.
It’s easy to detach offsets from the mother plant and pot them up in a container of their own.
First, twist or cut an offset away from the main plant once you see it starting to form a root system. Leave it sitting out for a day or two to dry out. This helps to keep it from rotting later.
Then, simply pot up the offset in a small container filled with the same mix you used for the rest of your plants.
A fascinating thing about succulents is that they will regrow themselves from just one leaf. While offsets will root and grow faster, leaf propagation is just as easy.
A single succulent leaf can be taken off the main plant and used to grow a whole new one. Select leaves that are healthy and be sure to give them a proper drying time before placing them in a soil mix.
Simply twist or cut off a healthy-looking leaf from the main plant. Leave it out to dry for a few days until you see that the wound where it was torn off the plant has calloused over.
Put the leaf in a small pot filled with soil mix. Keep it in bright but indirect light just like you would for larger plants, and water the soil whenever it dries out.
You should see roots develop in a few weeks, and one or more plants will start to form off a single leaf. It will take longer for a rosette to form, but you can easily propagate as many plants as you want this way!
Enjoying Your Haworthia Cooperi
There really is so much to love about Haworthia plants and a reason they are a popular houseplant. They have a very unique appearance and require little care.
Even better, these succulent plants are non-toxic, which means they’re safe to grow around pets and children.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.