This plant is a small succulent with densely packed fleshy blue-green leaves which form a rosette shape. They produce flowers in summer which are white and held high above the plant on peduncles measuring up to 12 inches. These blooms are considered insignificant, and the plant is instead cultivated for its unique and attractive leaves.
Haworthia Cooperi Overview
|Scientific Name||Haworthia cooperi|
|Common Names||Cushion aloe, Window haworthia, Star window plant, Zebra cactus, Cooper’s haworthia|
|Height||Up to 4 inches|
|Light||Bright, indirect light|
|Watering||Low watering needs|
There are 13 varieties of haworthia cooperi. These include the following.
Haworthia cooperi var. Venusta
This delightful plant has chunky leaves that have soft pointed tips. The leaves are pale gray-green and covered in fluffy downy white hair.
Haworthia cooperi var. Dielsiana
The leaves of this plant are globular, with unusual variation at the rounded tips. They are pale green and are slow-growing.
Haworthia cooperi var. Truncata
This variety produces bulging balloon-shaped leaves in large clusters. The leaves are green and glass-like and almost entirely transparent. They are comparable to a clump of grapes in appearance.
Haworthia cooperi var. Picturata
This plant has swollen yellow-green leaves with pointed tips. Each tip in the rosette points inwards, giving and almost spherical appearance. It is fast-growing and produces offsets easily.
Caring for Your Haworthia Cooperi
As you would expect from a succulent type of plant, haworthia cooperi plants are not big drinkers. They can survive short periods of drought and are not likely to perish if you leave them unattended while on vacation. However, a consistent watering pattern will be welcomed by these plants.
If they are grown outside, either in the ground or in large containers which house several succulents, then you have the freedom to be a bit haphazard with your watering routine. Plants grown in this way have the opportunity to spread out their roots and seek moisture if they need it. Ground soil also tends to retain moisture for longer than a small pot, and will therefore not need watering as often.
If you accidentally overwater, the sun will most likely take care of the issue for you by drying out the soil again before any damage is caused, while excess water at a deeper level can drain away, away from the plant's root system. For outside grown haworthia cooperi plants, water them regularly during hot and dry weather, whenever the top few inches of soil have dried out. In particularly hot climates, this could mean watering every day.
From fall until spring, you can cease watering as the plants enter dormancy and do not need any moisture. They will survive on rainwater alone. Indoor haworthia cooperi can be a bit trickier when it comes to watering. If you have kept other succulents alive, then this shouldn’t prove difficult for you. They should only be watered once their soil has dried out, and the biggest problem for this plant is overwatering.
If you are ever unsure whether to water the plant, then simply don’t! Overwatering this succulent is a much bigger problem than underwatering it, so err on the side of caution if you are conflicted. In the winter, you should dramatically decrease watering your haworthia cooperi houseplant. A monthly watering will likely be enough to keep it ticking over until spring rolls around again.
As these plants will not tolerate sitting in wet soil, planting them in a well-draining soil is essential. This will ensure that excess moisture drains away quickly so that the roots of the plant are not subjected to soggy living conditions.
Use a pre-mixed soil suitable for cacti and succulents, or make your own mix by combining organic potting soil with a mixture of shredded bark, coarse sand, pebbles, or charcoal. It’s a good idea to topdress your haworthia cooperi plants with gravel. While this might seem like a purely aesthetic feature, the gravel actually helps to keep the leaves of the plant from touching wet soil, and therefore helps to prevent them from rotting.
This succulent enjoys bright light, but not direct or full sun. Direct sun will cause harm to the plant, and in fact, in its native habitat, the haworthia cooperi is mostly underground. Only the tips of the leaves protrude from the ground, with the majority of the foliage burying itself below soil level to protect itself from the sun.
When planting your own haworthia cooperi, you won’t need to replicate this growing style, so long as you position the plant in a spot where it receives bright, indirect light. If grown as a houseplant, a windowsill is an ideal growing spot, where sun floods through the window in the morning, but is shaded in the afternoon. Just 4 or 5 hours of sun each day will be enough to keep this succulent happy and thriving, but any less than this will result in a plant with stilted growth, which takes on a peculiar shape in its mission to seek out some extra light.
If planted outside, you should set it in a position of partial shade. Morning sun is best for the haworthia cooperi as it is not as intense as the afternoon sun. You should ensure this plant is protected from direct sun in the afternoon, as it can cause the leaves to scorch.
Haworthia cooperi is considered to be hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. It enjoys warmth all year round, as it would be accustomed to in its native home of South Africa. If you live in a suitable climate, then you can grow this plant outside all year round.
Most people keep this succulent as a houseplant because it is not very hardy. It does well in homes because it likes the consistency of a warm temperature, which in homes usually sits somewhere between 68 and 72 ° F. However, this plant will perform best when kept outside, so it’s a good idea to let it grow outdoors when the weather is suitable.
For most people, this will mean keeping the plant indoors during fall and winter, then moving it outside in spring and summer. If you live in a cold climate, it may be that only summer months are suitable for growing your haworthia cooperi outdoors.
Ideally, the plant shouldn’t be subjected to temperatures lower than 40 ° F, though some people have reported that the plant has survived short cold snaps of temperatures as low as 25 ° F.
This plant can be propagated from stem cuttings or offsets, which are little baby plants that the mother plant produces. Stem cuttings are easy to propagate, with a good success rate. Simply twist off one of the leaves, and leave it to ‘cure’ for a day or two. What you are looking for at this point is for the wound to have healed over, which will prevent the cutting from rotting from its own moisture when you propagate it. Simply lay the cured leaf on a bed of succulent soil mix, set it on a windowsill, and wait for roots to develop.
Oftentimes, you don’t need to water the soil as it will take all of its needed moisture from the cutting, which will, in time, shrivel up and drop off. However, some people do lightly spray their soil occasionally to ensure enough moisture is present. The biggest reason that these types of cuttings fail to propagate successfully, is from too much moisture in the soil, so if you do water it you should only do so very infrequently. Rooting succulents can take several months, so patience is required.
Offsets are also an easy way to create new haworthia cooperi plants. As the mother plant reaches a few years in age, it will start to grow new pups. These can either be left alone to grow alongside the mother plant or cut off and repotted as a new separate plant. Those which are left alone can grow to fill containers with multiple plants of the same kind, which looks great but can take many years to achieve. If you would rather cut off your offset, simply slice it away from the mother plant with a sharp knife and repot it in succulent or cactus soil.
Haworthia cooperi plants typically do not grow quickly, and therefore don’t tend to outgrow their pots very often. They should not need re-potting many times during their lifespan, but it’s a good idea to repot every few years to refresh the soil, which can get clogged with salts and residue from watering.
You may need to repot more regularly if you wish to keep offsets attached to the mother, in which case, you will need to occasionally move them to a bigger pot to accommodate the additional plants. Always repot your haworthia cooperi in spring or early summer, and never use a pot more than one or two sizes bigger than the original pot. Handle the plant with care, and use fresh potting soil in the new pot. Water the plant to help it settle in its new home (SFGate).