Haworthia cooperi, a succulent plant is indigenous to South Africa and is one of more than 70 varieties of plants in the Haworthia genus belonging to the Asphodelaceae family.
It’s a slow-grower whose small, fleshy, green, variegated leaves grow in the form of rosettes as the plant’s stem isn’t very long. Individual rosettes reach about 2-4 inches wide and as high. However, the plant produces several offshoots that grow around the plant and increase the overall size of the plant. It produces rather inconspicuous flowers that grow on long stalks.
Haworthia Cooperi is considered to be a rare succulent variety that is prized by collectors. The plant appears to be made from translucent greenish-blue colored glass marbles. This plant is relatively small, easy to maintain, and looks very ornamental and attractive. These plants are popularly grown indoors everywhere in the world.
A unique feature of the leaves is they have transparent streaks at the tips, although in some varieties the entire tip is transparent. Under the sharp sun of its natural habitat, the plant is mostly buried in sand and grows with only the transparent tips visible.
This is a plant that loves growing in shade. For optimum growth, it should be grown in bright light, but not in direct or full sunlight. The tips of the leaves have green translucent windows that allow light to enter for photosynthesis and this should be roughly mimicked when growing indoors, although you don’t have to bury the whole plant. Just keep it growing in shade with sufficient light as if light levels are too low, the leaves will lose their green color.
As a succulent, it can tolerate a long period of dryness but it’s better to water it regularly to keep the plant healthy. The soil must drain well and should have adequate drainage. It can be watered about once weekly in summer and once a fortnight or a month in winter.
Overwatering is the blight for this plant, as the plant can easily get root rot in water-logged conditions. It’s always better to under-water this plant.
This plant has no major concerns regarding humidity and can deal with any sort of ambient humidity as long as you water it properly and sparingly proper air circulation is necessary to ensure that water evaporates better and the plant is protected from developing root rot.
The best temperature range for this plant is around 68–72°F although the plant is adapted to growing in warm temperatures and can handle temperatures up to 90°F. It can be grown outdoors in equatorial/subtropical zones. Growing indoors is best because it loves the consistent ambient temperatures indoors. It is a frost intolerant plant and temperatures below 40°F will damage the plant.
It does well growing in well-draining soil, the easiest solution is to use a suitable cacti/succulent soil mix amended with perlite or pumice. You can easily make your soil by mixing equal parts of potting soil, sand, and perlite – this kind of mix won’t retain water and is perfect for the plant. You can also add small chunks of charcoal, gravel, or bark to help the drainage quality as it will prevent moisture retention.
Typically, the plant needs repotting when the rosette reaches the edges of its pot. The ideal type of material for repotting this plant is terracotta as the material breathes and removes excess moisture and is far better than plastic or ceramic.
The pot size can range from 2.5-6 inches wide or more, depending of course on the extent of the roots, a layer of broken rock or gravel before adding the cacti/succulent soil mix will make repotting the plant easier.
This plant is simple to propagate from cuttings, fallen leaves, and offshoots with a high rate of success. While propagation can be either in soil or water, you can achieve better success with soil as cuttings are inclined to rot if rooted in water.
Propagating leaves in soil:
Pick some healthy leaves from the lower end of the plant and let them lie until a callus forms – this is important in propagating this plant to reduce the possibility of rot.
Insert the leaves into a tray of sterile and moist cacti/succulent soil mix. Don’t insert the leaves deep in the soil, the cut end must just be covered with the soil. The soil must be moist but not sodden, as the leaf will rot away. Water it by lightly misting the soil once in two days and keep the planting tray away from the direct sun and don’t disturb the leaf cuttings until new roots and shoots emerge in around 6-8 eight weeks. After the cuttings have two or more leaves, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots.
Propagating leaves in soil water:
Water propagation of the leaves is similar to the soil method except that the leaves are in water rather than soil. Place a thick mat of moist cotton wool inside a sterile and clean lid of a jar. Insert the callused ends of the leaves in the cotton, resting the leaves on the lid edge. Mist the cotton but don’t disturb the setup until translucent roots emerge. When the roots are long and strong enough, transplant them into individual pots.
This is the fastest way to propagate the plant as the plant naturally produces several offsets or pups when it is mature. This is usually better to be done when you’re repotting the plant to avoid disturbing the plant unnecessarily.
Separate the offsets carefully from the plant by cutting the connection to the mother plant carefully. Make sure each offset has a few roots to help the offset get established quickly.
Fertilization isn’t essential for this plant as it doesn’t need much nutrients and extracts what it needs from the soil. However, you can still feed it with a balanced and drastically diluted succulent feed. Be careful though as over-fertilizing this plant with chemical fertilizers can kill it – it’s better to add a little organic manure to the soil when potting it.
This plant is largely hardy and isn’t very affected by pests or diseases, however, some issues need to be considered and monitored.
Root rot is the main problem this plant has to contend with, this usually shows up when you see that the plant has become dislodged from its base when fungal infection sets in due to soggy and water-logged soil, particularly under growing conditions of low light and little or no ventilation. This is usually fatal but you can salvage a few leaves and propagate them. Watering and lighting conditions have to be monitored.
Mealybug infestation can suddenly induce leaf drop, revealing these pests hiding on the stems. This is a frustrating problem to resolve if not caught early. One or two are easily removed by touching the pest with an alcohol-saturated earbud. Prevention is the best cure and a preventive spray of insecticidal soap and neem oil solution once a fortnight will keep the plant free and healthy from this pest.
Fungus gnats are another pest that can potentially plague the plant if watering is mismanaged. Be sure to follow the recommended watering suggestions.