Haworthia retusa care infographicHaworthia Retusa is a desert succulent popular the world over as the mini-aloe ornamental plant. A lot of people find it difficult to care for because they don’t know its unique requirements and care needs.

We bring you a comprehensive guide on Retusa succulents so that your plant never gives you any trouble at all.

What Is Haworthia Retusa?

Haworthia Retusa is a succulent that is formed of compact rosettes, and hence, it is also known as the star cactus!

– Leaves, Offsets and Flowers of Haworthia Retusa

  • The leaves that comprise this rosette are triangular in shape and round around the edges. These leaves have translucent windows at their tips that represent the photosynthetic areas of the leaf.
  • Each leaf is of a beautiful fresh green color and measures only about four to five inches in length.
  • Offsets, a small tiny version of the parent plant, can be seen growing at the base of the mother plant after maturity. Hence, this plant is considered to be a part of the ‘chicken and hen’ succulents group.
  • In late spring or early summer, your Haworthia Retusa succulent will flower by producing a tall, slender stem from the center of the rosette. This stem may reach 20 inches in height.
  • The flowers will be small and white in color.

Haworthia Retusa Care

Caring for Haworthia Retusa is not a demanding or time-consuming endeavor at all. Give this succulent just a few minutes out of your day and see its majestic growth adorn your house in no time.

Read below to learn the ideal cultural requirements of this plant.

– Light Requirements:

Our succulent experts get tons of messages from newbies on the light requirements of this particular plant.

Haworthia Retusa succulents Light Management

Here we answer some of your most frequently asked questions in this regard.

  • How Much Light Does the Haworthia Succulent Needs?

Haworthia Retusa succulents grow very well under direct to partial bright light. You can either keep them indoors near a window or grow them outside in a garden.

When kept indoors, an eastern or an eastern-facing window is the best spot to receive the bright early morning or evening sunlight. Outdoors, keep them under the shade of a larger tree or plant to protect them from the intense midday sun.

  • How Long Should They Be Placed in the Sunlight?

When grown outdoors, place them somewhere where they receive at least four to five hours of direct bright sunlight. Indoors, keep them near a brightly lit window for maximum light exposure, preferably eastern or eastern-facing ones.

Indoor plants will need to be put under light for a longer time than outdoor ones. Also, don’t forget to keep rotating the indoor plants every few days so that all sides get equal amounts of sunshine.

  • How Do I Know That My Haworthia Is Receiving Adequate Light?

One indication that your star succulents are receiving just the right amount of light is by checking the color of their leaves. The fresh reddish color of their leaves is a sign that they are receiving just the right amount of light.

Nothing less, nothing more. The balance is hard yet crucial to maintain. If your plant begins to appear dull, it’s time to put it out in the sun.

  • Should I Expose My Retusa To Light Gradually or All of a Sudden?

Succulents should not be exposed to full bright sunlight right from the start. Especially when growing newly planted ones, you should expose them to less bright light first and then increase the exposure gradually.

In a few weeks, they will be able to tolerate being directly under the sun. This gradual acclimatization is a crucial part of growing Haworthia Retusa succulents.

  • Are Artificial Lights Good Enough?

As long as your Haworthia succulents kept indoors receive enough indirect light, there is no need to install special artificial lights. However, in the absence of all-natural light, you can grow them indoors under bright artificial light.

– Water Requirements

Haworthia Retusa plants have very simple water needs. Learn more about it here.

  • When Is The Right Time To Water Haworthia Retusa?

Watering these plants is where most carers usually mess up with their succulents. Since these are plants that specifically store water for themselves, you will need to water them very sparingly.

Always check the soil around your Haworthia before watering. Do not water unless it is completely dry. Sticking a pencil into the soil is our go-to practice to check its moisture level.

You will need to water Haworthia Retusa approximately only once or twice each month during summers and once every two months during the dry wintertime. During very hot and dry weather, you might need to increase irrigation a bit.

  • How To Water Haworthia Retusa

There are two very interesting ways to water your Retusa succulents at home.

Find out what they are below:

  1. The first method is the good old-fashioned way of pouring water from the top and letting it drain out of the hole at the bottom of the pot.
  2. The second method is to first fill a pan of water. Now, place your pot in this pan. The water will absorb upwards through the drainage hole into the soil. Wait till the top of the soil starts becoming moist and then remove the water pan from below.
  3. Misting is a practice often discouraged with succulent houseplants. This is because it can lead to brittle roots and leaves. Never mist your succulents at home.
  4. Another piece of advice we usually give carers is to water on the roots and not on the leaves. Always direct water towards the soil. Only water the leaves when you are propagating this plant.
  • Type of Water To Use for Succulents

  1. Haworthia succulents like rainwater or distilled water are the best. This is the safest water for them. Just make sure that the rain around your region is not contaminated.
  2. Common tap water can be used too. But it often contains salts of calcium and magnesium that have been known to stain the leaves. If possible, filter common tap water before giving them to your houseplants.
  3. Since succulents require such little watering all year round, some plant carers have been known to collect enough rainwater that then lasts them for months on end.

– Soil Requirements

  • We recommend using well-draining potting soil for planting Haworthia Retusa.

Soil Adjustment for Haworthia Retusa

  • Alternatively, you can also use specialized cacti and succulent mix potting mixtures.
  • If you can only use regular potting soil then we suggest adding sand to improve its drainage.
  • Also, add the organic mixture to the potting soil to allow air circulation and adequate water drainage. Peat, perlite, and pebbles also work just fine!

Temperature and Humidity

As a warm growing species, Haworthia Retusa grows best when the temperatures around them are between 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also survive temperatures as low as 55 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit if enough light and water are given. If the temperature falls below these levels, you will have to move them indoors under warmer conditions.

Haworthia succulents don’t need very high levels of humidity. In fact, high humidity and moisture levels put them at an increased risk of rot and fungal infections. Normal humidity levels with good air circulation are recommended.


You can propagate Haworthia Retusa aka the star cactus succulents either by planting offsets, seeds, or leaf cuttings.

Read a step-by-step of all these processes below.

– Propagating Haworthia Retusa Through Offsets

  1. Propagation by offsets is so far our favorite method because they grow on their own and that too very rapidly.
  2. New offsets form at the base of the parent plant mostly during springtime. It can take several years for the parent plant to develop these offsets.
  3. These offsets can be removed either by hand or cut by a knife. Remove dirt and soil from them to clean them.
  4. Keep the offsets aside and let them dry for a couple of days first.
  5. Plant them in a suitable soil medium. Put the pot somewhere where it can receive adequate sunlight.
  6. Young plants need plenty of water but we still suggest you not to overwater, especially during this phase.
  7. In a couple of weeks, new roots and shoots will emerge. Voilà!

– Propagating Haworthia Retusa From Leaf Cuttings

  1. An alternative propagation method to using offsets is by taking the leaves of the parent Haworthia plant and potting them in the potting medium of your choice.
  2. Choose a leaf that is healthy-looking. Its size should not be too large. Cut it close to the stem using a clean knife or scissor
  3. Keep this leaf outside for several days until it becomes calloused.
  4. Now you can plant this calloused leaf in the pot. Again, strictly avoid overwatering.
  5. In a couple of weeks, new roots will start to grow out of your pot.
  6. Before potting the cut leaves, we also dip them once in the rooting hormone. This practice shows great results as compared to undipped leaves. You can buy good quality rooting hormones from any good nursery or succulent shop.

– Propagating Haworthia Retusa From Seeds

  1. Always buy premium quality seeds from a trusted vendor or a succulent nursery.
  2. Mix these seeds in a freshly potted pot.
  3. Initially, you will need to keep this pot moist most of the time. Also, keep it under bright indirect light.
  4. When new shoots start growing in a couple of weeks, reduce the amount of water given to the regular succulent requirements.


dealing with Haworthia Retusa Disease

– Pests

  • Luckily, indoor plants are much less prone to get infested by bugs and pests as compared to their outdoor counterparts.
  • You should always closely inspect your plant every time you water them for any signs of bugs and pests infestation.
  • Also, make sure to remove all factors that attract bugs towards succulents such as constantly moist soil without proper drainage.
  • You can remove the eggs and larvae from your succulents by spraying the soil with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol solution that is easily available in the markets.
  • The most common pests that you are most likely to encounter are the annoying mealybugs. Wash the soil with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol solution or any other good pesticide to get rid of them. You can also use neem oil for this. Overwatering and over-fertilizing are the two primary causes of mealybugs infestations so that should be avoided as much as possible too.

– Root Rot

  • Root rot or fungal infections are the most common problem faced by succulent carers all over the world. And the reason is always the same: overwatering.
  • Be vigilant about the color changes of the leaves of the Retusa plant. More often than not, they will start turning yellow in case of overwatering.
  • You should stop watering them right then and there. Let the soil dry out and see if the leaves start turning yellow again.
  • In case your succulent succumbs to a very severe fungal rot, you will have to go for a very aggressive approach. This includes spraying the plant with strong fungicide spray as well as removing all decaying tissue and its surrounding soil with a knife. In a couple of weeks, the plant should start showing signs of improvement.

– Skin Irritation

This succulent plant is non-toxic for both humans and animals alike. However, its sap can be mildly irritating and has been known to cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals. Always wash your hands after caring for Haworthia Retusa.

Some people are also allergic to this succulent. They should always use gloves when dealing with this plant variety especially if they notice an irritation developing.


Why does Haworthia Retusa shrink?

Haworthia Retusa shrinks due to insufficient water or excessive sunlight, causing it to conserve resources and protect itself.

Why is my Haworthia Retusa turning red?

Haworthia Retusa turns red as a stress response, often due to excessive light or cold temperatures.

Does Haworthia Retusa grow slow?

Haworthia Retusa’s growth is typically slow, adapting to arid environments with limited resources.


Let’s go over the important points of raising Haworthia Retusa below.

  • Haworthia Retusa, also called the star succulent, is a very popular houseplant these days.
  • This plant requires bright light for proper growth and propagation. If you keep them indoors, choose a spot near an eastern-facing window.
  • Don’t water this plant too often. Allow the soil time to dry before irritating them again.
  • Cactus or succulent mix should be your preferred choice of soil because of their good drainage abilities.
  • You can propagate Haworthia Retusa at home using offsets, stems, and leaf cuttings.
  • Overwatering causes root rot and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Always be on the lookout for pest infestations. Remove them using isopropyl alcohol.

Haworthia Retusa is easy to grow and looks great as houseplants. With this all-inclusive guide, you can grow and propagate this beautiful plant all by yourself.

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