Jewel or “window-leaved” haworthias are some of the most unique and beautiful succulents around. These stunning and compact-growing succulents feature translucent leaf tips, hence their nickname! This unique leaf structure can be found in certain succulents like Haworthia and Fenestraria that grow in arid regions. The windowed leaves allow for optional sunlight absorption for photosynthesis, allowing the body of the plants to stay sheltered underground where they are protected from extreme weather conditions.
There are many window-leaved haworthia species, but some of the common ones that you’ve likely come across or own are h. cooperi, h. cooperi var. truncata, h. comptoniana, h. maughanii, h. obtusa, h. pilifera, h. springboklavensis “crystal ball”, h. retusa, h. venusta, h. cooperi variegata, h. mirrorball, and h. cymbiformis.
Clockwise from top left: h. cooperi var. truncata, h. cymboformis, h. cooperi variegata, h. cooperi
Most succulents prefer direct sunlight or full sun, however, window-leaved haworthias prefer medium (bright, indirect) light. Although they can handle small amounts of direct light, copious amounts of sun stress will not only darken their colour, but can also stunt their growth. When grown indoors or in full sun, you do not need to bury them under the soil.
These plants can handle hot temperatures but will thrive happily at standard room temperature. They are not frost-tolerant, so keep away from drafty windows in the wintertime.
h. comptoniana looking ready for a sip of water
Widow-leaved haworthias will appreciate moderate watering, unlike other succulents that will prefer infrequent watering. But as always, when it comes to succulents, it is always better to under-water than to over-water. The good thing is that it is very easy to tell when they are thirsty as their leaves will lose their plump appearance and will instead look sunken and wrinkly. Water whenever the haworthias leaves start to look wrinkled.
Since they like to be watered a bit more frequently compared to other succulents (especially when they are young), well-draining succulent soil is a must. For soil, a mix that is high in perlite and pumice works well. Some growers like to add bark fines or akadama to their haworthia mixes. Some light experimenting is always encouraged to figure out what works best for you!
These haworthias are slow growers and thus, are also low feeders. Fertilizing twice a year maximum – once in the early spring and once more towards the end of summer should be more than enough.
Since these haworthias are slow-growing, you will not need to repot them often at all. Once every 2 years will suffice unless the plant has really overgrown its current pot. Remember to always use a pot with drainage hole(s) when growing succulents!
Although these haworthias can be propagated by leaf cuttings, this method will take much longer than other succulents due to their naturally slow growth rate. The best and easiest way to propagate window-leaved haworthias is by division. Read more about succulent propagation methods on our blog “How to Propagate Succulents”.
Root rot from overwatering is likely the biggest cause for concern when growing any kind of succulent and haworthias are not an exception. Too much direct sunlight will cause the plant to turn a reddish-brown colour and will dull their “windows”.
sun stressed h. cooperi obtuse – dull windows and reddish-brown in colour
Window-leaves haworthias are susceptible to just about all common houseplant pests, however, the most common pests that love succulents are mealybugs. For more information on pests and how to control them, visit our blog “House Plants 101: Pest Control”.
There is no denying that window-leaved haworthias are both fascinating and beautiful. There is just something about the way the sun hits their translucent fleshy leaves that make them look otherworldly. With love and good care, you will be able to admire them for many years to come, and maybe even share some haworthia babies with friends to spread the plant joy. Happy growing!
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