Haworthia is a miniature succulent that is native to South Africa. The plant exhibits an architectural structure, typical solitary columns rearranged in layers, though this structure can differ widely because of the numerous species. There are over 70 known species that you can propagate if you have just a bit of know-how.
A haworthia plant can be propagated by using three methods:
- Seed method
- Offset division
The choice of technique depends upon your comfort and ease.
When you decide to propagate haworthia, there are some things you need to know and consider before choosing your technique. It can be expensive to buy enough succulents to fill your entire garden, so propagation is a cost-effective way to have a great garden. This article will look at some of these factors and explain more about how haworthia propagation works.
Table of Contents
- 1 Propagating Haworthia
- 2 Haworthia Plant: How to Propagate
- 2.1 Seed Method Propagation
- 2.2 Haworthia Leaf Propagation
- 2.3 Haworthia Propagation Through Offset Method
- 3 Advantages of Asexual Propagation
- 4 Disadvantages of Propagation
- 5 Biological Conditions for a Successful Propagation
- 6 Conclusion
Haworthia is an easy plant to propagate, and with some basic understanding of the plant and propagation techniques, most gardeners should have little to no issue.
What is Haworthia
Haworthia is a lovely succulent that creates beautiful scenery inside your room, home, or garden. Its scientific name is haworthia, but it is commonly called zebra cactus, star window plant, or the cushion aloe. It produces flowers that are typically white.
There are numerous species of this plant:
- H. margaritifera has white warty projections on the leaves.
- H. fasciata features horizontal white stripes, also known as zebra cactus.
- H. bulusii have tufted edges.
- H. attenuata features long, pointed green leaves.
Haworthia remains small in size, which makes them ideal for container gardening. It is considered an easy plant to grow and maintain, with most gardeners having success.
Haworthia Plant: How to Propagate
Depending on what is available to you with your Haworthia plants, you can choose any one of the three methods to propagate your plant. They are equally effective, and sometimes that choice simply comes down to personal preference. None of them cost much and are easy ways to fill out your flowerbeds with lovely greenery.
Seed Method Propagation
It is one of the most earlier methods of propagation and is a sexual type of propagation. You can easily buy these seeds online at a suitable price, and you can also collect these seeds from your plant if you have one blooming in your garden.
Seeds are relatively cheap, and it is easy to handle them. You do not need to spend too much time cutting a leaf or root, which, can lead to failureif not done carefully. Just buy them and start cultivation.
Selection of Seeds
The seeds should be relatively new and no older than six months since harvest. The more recently you have harvested them, the more active the seeds will be, and the faster you will make progress. Additionally, seeds that are less than a month old will have a much higher chance of survival when planting.
The best temperature for these seeds’ germination is either 25 or 15, depending upon the day-night cycle, and the ideal process is warm days-cool nights. You need to be sure that your nightly temperatures are below 20 degrees, or else the seeds won’t germinate. One must be careful in selecting seeds, as some of them might contain fungus or virus.
Keep Your Seeds Clean
It is necessary to get rid of all the debris and the dry fruit shell for the proper growth of seeds. If these things are not removed, they will grow together with the seeds which can lead to fungi, disseminating among the seeds and destroying them. Mostly the fungus is not visible on seeds, so it is better to make sure that the providing source is authentic.
Preparing The Soil Bed
The soil bed is prepared by spreading a thin layer of soil inside the pot. You can either buy premixed cactus soil, which works quite well for haworthia plants since they are succulents, just like cacti, or you can make your own mix of soil. If you are making your own mix, your soil should be comprised of:
- ⅔ sand, crushed lava rock, or perlite
- ⅓ potting soil
It should not be too deep, as the Haworthia plant don’t develop roots until they are at least a year old. A drainage hole at the bottom is essential so that your plant does not accidentally drown when you water it. Without a proper root system, it takes the Haworthia longer to absorb the water from the soil. You can use either a teacup or other colorful pots to make it look more appealing.
- Soak the seeds in the water before planting them, so they get soft. Use warm water and soak them for about 30 minutes. Soaking in hot water can damage the sensitive seeds, and soaking in cold water will not activate the seeds properly.
- Now take two or more small pots and fill them with the cactus soil or mixed soil and place a few seeds in each jar. Spread a small quantity of sand over the seeds to create a thin layer to cover them barely. It is unnecessary to cover them with soil, as the seeds can emerge even on the surface.
- Moisten the soil at regular intervals by using an atomizer.
- Now seal the pot in a plastic bag or clear container, and place it where it can receive proper indirect sunlight. Make sure that it has no air to maintain the moisture level.
- If you notice that algae or another kind of fungus have begun to grow, open the container and allow the inside to dry out entirely before moistening the soil and resealing it.
- When you see the first signs of growth, by all means, celebrate, but don’t be tempted to start the transplanting process. It takes haworthia plants a long time to grow their root systems, so you should leave the plant in the sealed container until it is completely overgrown.
Advantages of Sexual Propagation
1. It is the most effective natural method of propagation in many plants.
2. Seed propagation increases the probability of genetic variation.
3. Seed provides the essential cultivation for propagation.
4. It provides preservation of the plant for a long time without losing its viability.
5. Seeds are relatively cheap, and they can be stored for a long time.
6. Due to the seed germination, there is a low risk of disease transfer to a new plant.
7. Some trees, ornamental annuals, and vegetables cannot be propagated by asexual means.
8. Rootstocks of budding and grafting can be increased by this method.
Disadvantages of Sexual Propagation
Despite the numerous advantages of sexual propagation, there are a few drawbacks that the savvy gardener should be mindful of. For some types of plants, asexual reproduction is not an option, but for plants like haworthia, asexual reproduction is a valid method of making more and should be considered.
Disease and Insects
Seeds are not immune to insects and diseases, which can cause problems during germination. Fungi like algae can be a common issue for people who accidentally over-moisturize the soil or give their seeds proper aeration.
It can be tricky to find the right place to keep your seeds while they grow. To make sure that you keep the seed healthy, it must be kept under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Keeping it at the proper conditions not only ensures that the seed will be healthy but also fights away mites and other unpredictable pests that may try to invade.
The characteristics of the resulting plant produced by this method are not true-to-type. If there are specific traits from the original plant that you are hoping to find in the offspring, the fact that the progeny has multiple parents means that an attribute might not be present in the next generation of plants.
A Long Wait For Fruit
The plant produced by sexual means requires a long time to develop into a fruit. So if you want to get new offspring quickly, then sexual propagation is not useful. However, if you are willing to wait for it, sexual propagation will eventually allow your plant to produce fruit. Asexual reproduction has the advantage here, but all hope shouldn’t be lost.
Although seed propagation is one of the more straightforward methods, it still has some drawbacks. Sometimes the soil inside the pot starts getting too dry. In that case, open up the seal and water it a little. Sometimes, a fungus may start growing inside because of the excess moisture. If that is the case, remove the seal and let it dry.
It would be better to add a little fungicide into the soil to prevent such a probability. Once haworthia has sprouted, resist the urge to immediately transplant it, as the transplantation process can disturb the atmosphere and budding root system. It is better to keep it inside a pot unless the plant is overgrown.
Haworthia Leaf Propagation
An ideal time of utilizing this technique is at the end of dormancy or the start of the growing season. Just like seed propagation, this technique is also easy and will provide you with plenty of offspring at the end of propagation. During this technique, the leaf of a healthy plant is removed, then cultivated into a separate pot. The central part is the white stem inside the leaf, which is responsible for the growth of new offspring.
Selection and Removal of Leaf for Propagation
For the propagation of haworthia, lower leaves are preferred. It is better to take out the entire plant from its current bed as it can be quite challenging to grasp the leaves further down the plant. Remove both dead and partially dead leaves. Only those leaves are useful which have still retained their turgidity.
The leaves are held to the plant by a double-sided thin yet rigid membrane. So it is better to wield a sharp knife or blade to cut them out. A little cut is enough to lose the leave from the plant. Now you have to twist your leaf slowly but gradually so it can tear away smoothly. The slower you tear it, the higher the chance of it containing the whitish stem tissue with it.
The haworthia’s roots will grow from the plant’s wound, and soon a small plant will grow from this area.
Leave the freshly torn leaf inside a root hormone powder for at least a week to heal the wound. If left unhealed, the leaf would get rotten. After that, place it erect inside a pot full of the soil mix with a light layer of sand on top. Make sure that the lower part of the leaf is appropriately covered.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the soil is nice and moist by spraying it with the mist. You can also use a mint liquid for a better outcome. The roots will start developing within two to three weeks, approximately. In two to three months, small offsprings will begin emerging from your plant.
If you put a freshly cut leaf inside a pot containing moisture, the leaf will rot within days. So it must be placed first inside a hormone powder to dry it so that the wound gets healed. After that, it can be easily planted inside the pot. Patience is key to success, so don’t hurry in transplanting the roots. Let them emerge properly until the jar is overgrown with a new plant.
Haworthia Propagation Through Offset Method
This method can be performed both in fall and spring. The technique requires a plant that is sending upside shoots. The method is a lot easier and has higher success rates than the other types of propagation. Only the removal of roots is a little bit difficult.
Separation of Offspring
The offset must have at least four leaves: it should be big enough with its roots to be successfully propagated and can survive easily. Loosen the soil gently and remove the offspring; you want to get the maximum amount of roots out, so loosening the soil first will be helpful. Brush off the roots and separate the offset roots from the parent plant by using a sharp knife.
The procedure consists of the following steps:
- Take a pot that must have a drainage hole.
- Allow the plant to dry before watering, and allow the wound to heal.
- Fill the pot with the cactus oil and a little amount of soil. Place these offsprings on the soil bed and slightly cover it with sand.
- Maintain the moisture of the pot. It must be neither too dry nor too wet. Negligence in any regard will lead to the plant either rotting or not growing.
Advantages of Asexual Propagation
The new plant contains only the parent plant’s information, so they are clones of the parent plant. That gives us the freedom to preserve the traits of the desired plant. You can produce the plant with the desired characteristics as long as the growth condition and other environmental factors are the same.
Multiple Plants From a Single Cultivation
Some people have found that five tiny plants can be developed from a single one when you use leaf propagation. Usually, you only get two or three plants, however. If you have a large garden and are looking for a cost-effective way to acquire enough plants to fill it with leafy goodness completely, asexual reproduction is perfect for you.
Vegetative propagation is significant commercially. In the food industry, people want to produce the same variety of plants while ensuring consistency. It helps them to maintain good taste in terms of crops. As a singular gardener, this is not as big of an issue, but on a large scale, professional farmers prefer the ease of asexual propagation to keep their stock tasty.
Good Quality Guaranteed
The offset propagation always ensures good quality through the cutting or layering. For example, sometimes a plant is a developed mutant because of some genetic variations. It can resist disease or pest attack better than other plants. Now you want to preserve it. You can use an asexual propagation method to prepare the clones of this plant.
The clones will exhibit similar properties as the parent plant. Such plants can be saved for generations.
Seeds take a while; they need some time to grow and attain maturity until they can bring fruit. After the implanting of seeds, it takes somewhere between six weeks to almost a year before the plant is mature. An asexually-produced plant reaches maturity just within a few weeks, which reduces the juvenile period providing you with quick gardening.
Disadvantages of Propagation
Although many gardeners frequently use propagation to save themselves the expense of buying multiple haworthia plants all at once to fill up their flowerbeds, it does come with its share of disadvantages. These are some things to watch out for if you decide to propagate your haworthia plants in any of the three main ways.
Loss of Genetic Variation
In the case of asexual reproduction, all of the traits of the original plants get preserved. At the same time, genetic variations are lost. This decreases the probability of evolution and the plant’s survival. Both plants and animals tend to modify themselves according to the environment.
But asexual propagation restricts the plant from going into any kind of change in their genetic material, which makes them less competitive in the wild. However, as a gardener cultivating your plants, this is not much of an issue for you in the long term.
Lack of genetic modification can lead to a greater chance of getting a disease. Plants can develop a resistance to the disease by introducing genetic variations, but due to the lack of these variations, they are more susceptible to infections. Such activity can lead to the destruction of the entire species.
Again, your job as a gardener is to protect your plants from such things, so you should not have an entire garden grown from a single plant but mix it up from time to time.
Time And Effort
Asexual propagation can be time-consuming. You have to buy that plant to do cultivation. Then the cutting of the leaves and roots is a critical process. Problems can occur if the implantation is not done correctly. You must be careful and have a lot of patience while waiting for the new plant to grow. This can be annoying for people who want to hurry up and see some results already.
Asexual propagation requires proper tools and knowledge to achieve success full plant. For example, you must know the part of the leaf, which contains white tissue. Otherwise, your efforts will be useless. Similarly, the knowledge of the day-night cycle of a plant plays a crucial role in propagation. You must have an awareness of the proper knife or blade and angle of cutting.
Biological Conditions for a Successful Propagation
Haworthia plants can be propagated very quickly through the three methods that we have covered above. The yield of offspring is always good, and the traits of the parent plant get fully preserved. But for successful propagation, some conditions are required, which are discussed below.
Buds must be present on each section of plant material that is going to be used for propagation. Mostly the young seeds and plant material is beneficial as they are most likely to produce roots and shoot. Preferably, the plant or seed from the same season should be used for better cultivation.
One must be careful before the selection of seeds and plants. Sometimes they contain viruses and fungus. On the propagation, the virus or the fungus get transferred to the new offspring destroying propagation yield. Sometimes, the plant to be chosen is provided with extra nutrients to increase its fertility.
One of the critical factors that play a role in the propagation of plants is the environment itself. The plant must have proper nutrients surrounding it to help with the propagation process. Some of the environmental factors are light, temperature, water, and so on.
Temperature is an essential requirement for germination to take place. It tends to vary for seeds and plant material. The haworthia plant has maximum growth under 20 degrees Celsius or below.
The temperature will still be a benefit, though, as long as the limit isn’t exceeded. The temperature beyond which the protein structure of the plant starts deforming is called optimum temperature. If the temperature limit increases or decreases, it can cause the new plant to be destroyed. The haworthia plant’s day-night cycle is short days-long nights.
This means that they are not provided with the desired duration for germination to occur.
The haworthia plant gives out oxygen during the night, which is contrary to most plants, which consume oxygen during this time. The seeds do need a proper amount of oxygen in order to germinate. If there is any shortage of oxygen to the seeds, they will fail to grow. This is also true for the plant material as well.
The haworthia plant doesn’t require too much light. In fact, the plant should be grown under the shade with the presence of indirect sunlight. If the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, it can cause damage. Burning the sensitive plant as it is still establishing its root system can hinder the growth or stop it entirely.
Even after you transplant your haworthia, don’t let the mature plant be exposed to a ton of direct sunlight either. Overall, it mostly needs shade throughout the day to stay cool and keep the moisture level consistent.
Water and Moisture
Both dry and wet conditions can cause germination to not only slow down but even come to a halt. If the plant material or the seeds have an excess in moisture, it can cause the offspring to become rotten as well.
Additionally, if the plant material’s wound is placed in wet soil, it would also become spoiled. To avoid this, lose the seal of the pot and let it dry out. If the soil becomes too dry, though, the plant most likely won’t survive due to dehydration, so make sure to water it properly.
Fungus and Pests
To protect the product of propagation, a small quantity of fungicide or pesticides should be added. Being a succulent, they have a greater chance to get attacked by fungus. This will keep the plant safe from the attack of fungus and pests. A small amount of fertilizers can also be added in order to improve yield. It will bring a more generous amount of nutrients to the growing offspring.
The haworthia plant is an attractive addition to any garden. It has many different subspecies to choose from. Although the plant itself might be expensive initially, you do not have to worry about buying multiple plants to fill an entire flowerbed. With a little bit of patience, love, and care, you can propagate the haworthia plant and, soon, you will have more plants than you know what to do with.