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Haworthia retusa (Star Cactus)


Scientific Name

Haworthia retusa (L.) Duval

Common Names

Star Cactus, Window Succulent


Aloe retusa, Apicra retusa, Catevala retusa, Haworthia retusa var. retusa

Scientific Classification

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Tribe: Aloeae
Genus: Haworthia


Native to South Africa (a small area around Riversdale in the Western Cape Province).


Haworthia retusa is a small succulent that forms star-shaped rosettes, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, of fleshy, lime green leaves with triangular translucent tips marked with longitudinal lines. In the wild, it is usually a solitary rosette, while in cultivation, it can offset and even form a clump of rosettes. Leaves are deltoid, recurved, up to up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide. Flowers are small, tubular, white with greenish-brown veins and appear in late spring to summer on unbranched, up to 20 inches (50 cm) long flower-stalks.

The specific epithet "retusa" derives from the Latin "retusus," meaning "blunt or rounded" and refers to the "retused" leaf-shape (curved back like a thumb).

How to Grow and Care for Haworthia retusa

Light: Although some species can grow in full, bright sun, most Haworthias live in more sheltered spots, and they are adapted to thrive in partial shade. Place the potted plants in a bright area with some protection from the hottest rays of the day.

Soil: All Haworthia species do not like their roots to remain wet for prolonged periods, so their potting soil should be well-drained. Use a commercial succulent soil or make your own well-draining potting mix.

Hardiness: Haworthia retusa can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: These succulents are very tolerant of underwatering, but overwatering can quickly lead to rotting. From spring to fall, water thoroughly, then wait until the top of the soil dries out before watering again. During the winter rest period, water just enough to keep leaves from shriveling.

Fertilizing: Haworthias do not require much fertilizer. For optimum growth, fertilization is a good idea. Feed only with a dilute fertilizer and only during the active growing season.

Repotting: These succulents are generally slow-growing and can stay in the same pot for years. For best health, Haworthias should be repotted into fresh soil every two to three years.

Propagation: Vegetative propagation, especially by offsets, is the quickest and most common method of propagating Haworthias. They can also be propagated by leaves and seeds.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Haworthia.

Toxicity of Haworthia retusa

Haworthia species are generally non-toxic to humans and animals.

Cultivars and Hybrids of Haworthia retusa


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