Haworthias are one of my favorite genus of houseplants. I appreciate that the charms of Haworthias aren’t obvious or flashy like some other succulent houseplants, the Echeverias for example. These are simple plants that are difficult to kill which makes them perfect for new plant parents.
If you are new to Haworthias or have struggled with caring for this plant in the past, this article should give you some guidance. We will discuss; watering, light, best location in the house, temperature, fertilizer, humidity, flowers, insects, diseases, pruning, propagation and toxicity.
Haworthia tessellata has several synomyns including Haworthiopsis venosa ssp. tesselata, Haworthia venosa ssp. tessellata, Haworthiopsis tesselata, Alligator Plant, and Veined Haworthia.
Many Haworthias have actually been reclassified as Haworthiopsis including the Haworthia tessellata. So it’s new officially correct name is Haworthiopsis venosa ssp. tessellata. To me the genus name, Haworthiopsis, is completely awkward and confusing. But no one asked for my opinion on the matter. So…
Watering – Water deeply but only once the soil has dried out in the pot. Using a finger to check the moisture level is a must. I make sure that the potting mix is dried out down several inches before I even consider watering. Also, a drainage hole in the planter is a must. Make sure to provide it a fast-draining potting mix and let all excess water drain out of the pot after watering.
It is important to slow down watering this plant during the hottest parts of summer. Haworthias will slow or stop growing during the summer and therefore do not require much water. Be sure to slow or stop watering during this time to prevent root rot.
Light requirements – Medium light is all that is needed for this plant. Direct sun will burn a Haworthia’s leaves. You will know the appropriateness of your light levels just based on the coloration of the leaves. H. tesselata will be green in low/medium light and brown/red in medium/bright light. Direct sunlight is not recommended.
Best Location in the House – Place H. tessellata directly in a North facing window and it will love you forever. If you don’t have a North window in your home, place it a few feet back from an East or West facing window (3-4 feet should be appropriate).
Temperature requirements – Like most houseplants, this Haworthia will live happily in the same temperatures that we humans like to live in. It is natural for Haworthias to “shut down”, so to speak, in the heat of summer. During this shut down they slow down or completely stop growing which helps them endure the oppressive heat of South Africa in summer.
Fertilizer – Dilute fertilizer by half. Apply fertilizer beginning in March as a general guideline. I personally use fertilizer in Spring and Fall, taking a rest from fertilizer in the Summer.
Humidity – Normal household humidity levels are completely appropriate. However, if you own other houseplants that require higher humidity (like I do) and have humidifiers running in your house for those other plants, I would not personally recommend keeping your H. tessellata too close to the humidifier. The more humid its environment, the slower its potting mix will dry out – which can cause root rot.
Flowers – This Haworthia can flower when it’s happy. You will know blooms are coming if you see extremely long stems shoot up from the center of the plant in the Summer. The flowers are just like other Haworthia plants, tiny cylindrical white and green flowers on top of extremely long stems.
Insects – I’ve kept Haworthias for many years now and I’ve never, not once, had pest issues with any of them. I don’t think this is luck because I’ve had many pest issues with other succulent plants. The insects just don’t find Haworthia plants attractive, which makes these basically the perfect houseplants (in my very humble opinion.)
Diseases – The Haworthia genus doesn’t seem to suffer many diseases. If you have lost a Haworthia, it is almost certainly because of root rot.
Pruning – I do not advise pruning your Haworthia. If your Haworthia has a leaf that has died, simply wait for the leaf to dry out completely and pull if off with just your hand. No other pruning is necessary.
Propagation – Haworthia plants do the propagating for us, so that’s nice and easy. They produce offsets or pups which will eventually grow into full sized plants. I prefer to allow Haworthia pups to grow to a decent size before separating them from the parent plant, but that’s a personal preference. Really the only requirement for separating is to make sure that the offset has some roots so that it can survive on its own.
Toxicity – Haworthia plants are non toxic for your dogs, cats and for humans. Animals in Namibia and South Africa search for Haworthia plants which they eat. But they aren’t really eating them for food. They use these plants as a source of water. I love that. Also, that is why many of the Haworthias (including Haworthia tessellata) have those famous “windows” on the tops of their leaves. They have to hide down in the soil to protect themselves from thirsty elephants.
I do want to point out that just because the plant parts of Haworthias are not poisonous for children or animals, they could still potentially be a choking hazard. So if you have a curious child or an animal that enjoys chewing on your houseplants living with you, you should still keep this plant out of reach.
Link to my Etsy shop, Matilda and Clementine which often (but not always) has Haworthia tessellata plants available.
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Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.
Products I use and (therefore) recommend:
Planty friends – Feel free to use these links to the products that I use for my houseplants. I receive a small percentage of any sales through these links, so feel free not to use them if that bothers you.
Horticultural 1/4” pumice – https://amzn.to/2KfcNPT
Horticultural perlite – https://amzn.to/3f9wwvE
Coco coir – https://amzn.to/2UBBiZF
Orchid Bark – Extra small chips – https://amzn.to/38OXWWJ
Orchid Bark – Small chips – https://amzn.to/3kA8HOU
Earthworm castings – https://amzn.to/38TRkGw
Coco Loco potting mix – https://amzn.to/2UHV3OY
GE Balanced Spectrum grow light bulb – https://amzn.to/3fdeAAu
Monios L LED grow lights – 2 ft. – https://amzn.to/391NmeS
Heat Mat (for propagating) – https://amzn.to/2MSezbk
Heat Mat w/ Thermostat – https://amzn.to/2PIjCwc
Bonsai scissors – https://amzn.to/33a6F29
Hygrometer (humidity monitor) – https://amzn.to/32WtiqO
Moisture meter sticks – https://amzn.to/35FR7Vk
Horticultural charcoal – https://amzn.to/2UKOv25
Organic houseplant fertilizer liquid – https://amzn.to/3pIb7ij
Insecticide/Miticide – (many bug sprays don’t kill spider mites, this one does) – https://amzn.to/3pHKREw
Systemic houseplant insecticide – https://amzn.to/36MuoX8
Espoma Rose Tone (fertilizer for roses and flowering perennials) – https://amzn.to/3m8OGkU
Full disclosure – the last four product links will be much cheaper if you can find them in your local garden center. I’ve put them here so that you can see what they are called and what they look like, but I’d advise that you buy from these links only as a last resort.
References for this article:
“Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata” http://www.worldofsucculents.com 2013-2020. https://worldofsucculents.com/haworthia-venosa-tessellata-veined-haworthia/
“Haworthia venosa ssp. tessellata” http://www.mountaincrestgardens.com 2020. https://mountaincrestgardens.com/haworthia-venosa-ssp-tessellata/