Haworthia is a simple, easy-to-grow succulent. Commonly called “polka dot” or “zebra” plants, these houseplants are one of those succulent plants that would do well both indoors and out. Initially, they are slow to grow, but they can multiply and produce small offsets when established.
It can be costly to purchase enough succulent plants to fill your entire garden, so propagating is a cost-effective way to have a large garden. There are three tried and tested ways to propagate haworthia: seeds, offset division, or leaf cuttings. However, starting new haworthia plants using these methods can give gardeners all the plants they want at little cost.
The seeds can be bought online or harvested from your plants if you are fortunate to have a haworthia in bloom. The offset division requires a plant that sends lateral sprouts. Only a healthy plant is needed to start a new haworthia.
The ideal soil mixture to start new worthies is the same no matter the method. Use a premixed sachet cactus soil or create yours by combining a ratio of 2/3 of sand, crushed lava rock, or perlite to 1/3 of potting earth. Avoid using municipal water with chlorine during watering. Instead, use distilled water or a freshwater source.
Propagation of Haworthoia from Seed
Haworthia seeds should be grown in warm, semi-damp soil. Once the seed germinates, you should limit your watering habits as much as possible.
The cultivation of haworthia from seeds is often extremely time-consuming and can take weeks or even months to sprout. Before planting, soak the seeds to soften the skin. Use lukewarm water, not warm, and allow the seeds to soak for about 30 minutes.
After harvest, the seeds must be relatively new and not more than six months old. The more recently you have collected them, the more active the seeds are, and the quicker you progress. In addition, seeds under one month old will have a greater chance of survival during planting.
Get rid of any debris and dried fruit shells for good seed growth. If not removed, they will grow with the seeds that can lead to fungi, spreading among the seeds and killing them.
Fill one or more small jars with the cactus mix and put some seeds in each pot. Dust the seeds with a light layer of sand or gravel to lightly cover them. Keep the soil moist.
Seal the jars in a plastic purse or transparent container. Place the container where it will get indirect light and maintain room temperature. Monitor the level of humidity within the sealed container. If it is too dry, give it a drizzle.
The Seeds will not grow when the soil is too dry or damp. To overcome this problem, you must use a mist bottle. Spray the water on the sprout’s earth and keep the surface very wet, but the ground dries if possible.
If the algae starts to grow, open the bag or container and leave to dry. Once it sprouts, do not transplant immediately since the root system develops slowly. Instead, please keep them in a sealed container until an elaborate root system develops.
Benefits of seed propagation
● Seed propagation is the most efficient natural method of propagating in many plants.
● Propagating seeds increases the likelihood of genetic variation.
● It ensures that the plant remains viable for an extended period.
● Seeds are pretty inexpensive, and you can store them for a lengthy time.
● Seed germination poses a low risk of disease transmission to a new plant.
Propagating Haworthia by offsets
Most Haworthia species generate small clones of the mother plant known as offsets. A convenient time to spread the haworthia is when it has overrun its container.
Haworthia propagation by offsets has a high success rate and is relatively straightforward than other propagation methods. This approach is also cost-effective. The best time to remove offset sprouts is during repotting in spring or autumn.
Soak the blades of your tools in a domestic cleaner or other disinfectants to avoid the spread of disease. Wear protective equipment, including gloves and goggles, as well.
Find pups that look big enough for removal. Try getting some roots when you are pulling out the offsets. You can remove a root-free pup, but you will be far more successful with those who have roots already growing. Take care to remove the offset as closely as possible to the mother plant.
Roots-free pups will eventually take root, but those with existing roots are more likely to survive independently. Similarly, the bigger ones are stronger than, the smaller ones and are more likely to survive.
At times, you can separate the pups by gently twisting the pup out of the parent plant. However, we recommend removing the entire plant from the pot before separating the pups to allow you to view the roots.
Use a clean knife or blade to take out the pup. Separate the baby plant carefully from its parent plant by inserting the knife’s edge between the mother plant and the offshoot. Slowly remove the offshoot from the parent plant and cut the root that connects it.
Allow the pup to dry for about a day or more to ensure the cut or open areas are dry and sealed or calluses. Keep in a dry place clear of direct sunlight. Optional: Dip the pup in the rooting hormone before planting. Rooting hormones can help accelerate this process, in particular for root-free pups.
You can plant the pup. Once dry, you can produce the pup by itself. Make a well-draining potting mixture and plant the offset in the soil. Loosely wrap the earth around the plant until it is secure.
Pups require a bit more humidity than adult plants. Spray the soil lightly every couple of days or when the soil is dry.
Once the plant is more established and rooted, stop misting and irrigate more deeply. You can reduce watering to approximately weekly or less. Protect new plants from direct sun when initially planted in their pot to avoid damage caused by sunlight. Then, progressively increase sunlight and sun exposure depending on the plant’s needs as it matures.
How to remove offsets from Haworthia parent plant
● Check for root offsets around the base of the mother zebra plant. Carefully scrape the soil around the bottom of the branches and seek small, pale, or white pink roots.
● Place the blade of a gardening knife in the ground halfway between the original plant and the rooted offspring. Then, slide the blade across the ground to separate the root.
● Cut a 2-inch radius into the soil around the base of the rooted branch using the tip of your gardening knife. Excavate along the radial line to a depth of 5 inches with a small portable spade.
● Place the pocket spade blade at an angle below the rooted branch. Carefully detach from the ground and remove. Fill the hole left by the offshoots to protect the parent plant’s roots.
Propagating Haworthia from leaf cuttings
Haworthia can spread by leaf cuttings like many other succulent plants. However, leaf cuttings are more successful in circular and thicker haworthias. But be careful because this plant is difficult to get the entire leaf without pulling the tip of the leaf.
Ensure that the whole leaf end is removed and intact for this process to work. Then, you can either propagate the entire plant at once or cut the inner stalk as they separate all the leaves or use a small precision knife.
Multiplication by cutting leaves requires you to cut a healthy young leaf of haworthia plant with a sharp and sterilized knife. Therefore, the best time to use this method of haworthia propagation is at the end of the dormancy period or early in the growing season.
Choose a new healthy leaf because older leaves near the base of the plant do not root as well as young leaves. Then, with a sharp blade, cut the leaf. Do not use scissors, which may cause damage to fleshy leaves. After extracting the leaf, dip the edge into the rooting hormone if available. Rooting hormone powder may help accelerate the propagation of your haworthia plant.
Let the leaf dry for several days till the cut edge heals or forms a crust. Then, gently plant the leaf into a pot with water using the cactus mixture. Position the potted leaf where it gets indirect light. Keep the soil damp but not soaked. The leaf will need several weeks to establish an adequate root system.
When watering your cuttings, use a spray bottle, but be careful not to knock down the cutting as this may break the roots trying to grow. You should have a rooted cutting ready to go in a larger pot in a month or so.
Depending on what is at your disposal with your Haworthia plants, you can choose one of three ways to spread your plant. They’re equally effective, and sometimes it’s just a personal preference.
Propagation by offset division is the easiest and quickest method of growing a new haworthia. It is best to propagate this succulent actively growing, so new plants may have enough time to develop before their dormant period.