How to Grow and Care for Haworthia obtusa

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Haworthia obtusa is a stunning succulent. Its leaves are incredibly delicate and translucent. They appear ready to burst with cool and clear water. If you’re after a plant that won’t take up much space, yet is endlessly fascinating to look at, you should definitely consider this one. Its rosettes extend to a maximum spread of just 4 inches, so you can keep the plant on a narrow windowsill or small desk.

The boat-shaped foliage of this Haworthia variety is generally bright green in color. Their ends are tapered to a smooth or dull point. This explains why the scientific epithet is ‘obtusa’, which is derived from the Latin word obtusus (meaning ‘dull’). Rows of green cells may appear as streaks, becoming increasingly sparse toward the tips of each leaf.

History

‘Obtusa’ is actually a well-known variant of Haworthia cymbiformis. H. cooperi has an ‘obtusa’ variant as well. These differ from their mother species in that their leaves tend to be more plump and smooth-edged. However, their rosette orientations and sizes are very similar. The H. cymbiformis variant is synonymous with H. umbraticola and H. hilliana

Native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, H. obtusa is most active in spring-summer. If conditions are desirable, mature rosettes will produce lengthy flower stalks with delicate white-light green blooms. These tend to be lightly streaked with brown venation. 

Plant Facts

Scientific nameHaworthia cymbiformis var. obtusa, syn. Haworthia umbraticola and Haworthia hilliana
Common namesMini aloe, Star Window Plant, Cathedral Window Plant
GenusHaworthia
FamilyAsphodelaceae
Height3 inches
Width4 inches
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone10a-11b
OriginEastern Cape Province, South Africa
Flower colorsWhite
Blooming seasonSummer
Plant/Flower special featuresTranslucent leaf tips

How to Plant Haworthia obtusa

This variety is drought-tolerant and is best planted in a pot and substrate that prevents moisture retention. A few inches of soil, lightly packed into terra cotta pots would work well. Avoid planting H. obtusa in non-porous containers, especially if you intend to situate it indoors. It can be clumped together with other Haworthia rosettes as its requirements will not differ from theirs. 

You can plant this variety using seeds or propagate via offset divisions. Seeds should be germinated in about an inch of germination medium. In contrast to the growth medium, this can be more moisture retentive. A layer of pumice above the seeds will help them become established quickly. Once seedlings are large enough, they should be transplanted to a seedling tray or individual pots. 

How to Propagate Haworthia obtusa

Growing H. obtusa using its offsets will be much easier, but you may have to wait for some time before a mother plant produces one. Uproot the entire plant to ensure clean separation of offsets. If there are no exposed tissues and the roots are intact, these can be planted right away. 

Leaves can also be used for propagation, but they must be allowed to callous over completely prior to soil contact.

Care and Maintenance

Here are our haworthia plant care tips:

Soil

A well-draining potting mix made for succulents should suit H. obtusa perfectly. If you intend to make your own substrate mix, make sure to liberally use components that would promote drainage. These include sand, perlite, pumice, and stones. 

Water

Pay attention to the texture and plumpness of foliage. If wrinkled, it may mean that they require a generous amount of water. Only water the soil when it is completely dry. Periods of dryness in between regular watering sessions can encourage quality root growth. 

Fertilizer

H. obtusa should only be fertilized during its growth period. A low concentration fertilizer (or half the recommended concentrations on the label) would be best.

Sunlight

Partial or indirect sunlight is best for this variety as its leaves can become scorched under direct sun. 

Temperature and Humidity

Hardy to USDA zones 10a-11b, this variety can withstand temperatures that dip to 30F, but it will suffer through lengthy cold periods.

Pruning

H. obtusa rosettes will not need pruning. 

Repotting and Transplanting

Rosettes should be repotted every 2-3 years or whenever offsets are separated from the mother plant. 

Pests and Diseases

This species is generally pest-resistant. It is prone to root rot as a result of prolonged exposure to moisture. 

Uses of Haworthia obtusa

H. obtusa is best used to diversify a small succulent collection or to bring color to indoor spaces. 

Common Varieties

Variegated H. obtusa cultivars are the most popular among collectors. These usually have white to cream colored streaks along the length of the leaves. See more Haworthia identification.

Conclusion

H. obtusa is a low-maintenance succulent that would look great in an indoor or outdoor setting. Its miniature size makes it perfect for plant enthusiasts with limited garden space. 

Discover more succulent names you can grow.

~ image source: depositphotos/shinylion