Haworthia retusa / Star Cactus: Small Succulent – Overview, care tips and propagation

Haworthia retusa / Star Cactus: Small Succulent – Overview, care tips and propagation
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Image Source: Abu Shawka / CC0 (Image Cropped)

They are slow growing succulent low-lying succulents with leaves arranged as rosettes. They are easy to grow and maintain and have very low maintenance. They are nontoxic. The name retusa is derived from Latin word retusus meaning blunt or rounded and describes the shape of the leaf.

Quick Details of Star Cactus

Other Common NamesStar Cactus
TypeIndoor/outdoor flowering succulent  plant
MaintenanceMedium
FloweringSpring-Summer
LightBright direct sunlight, can tolerate partial indirect light.
WaterWhen the soil is dry
TemperatureWarm humid conditions
SoilWell drained sandy soil
FertilizerAny liquid cacti fertilizer
HabitatSouth Africa
ToxicityNo
Common DiseasesResistant to diseases
Scientific nameHaworthia retusa

Star Cactus Buying Instructions

  • Plant should be healthy and grown in no soil media.
  • Buy the plant which should not have no damage or very little damage
  • Try to buy a plant in which have some offsets.
  • There should be proper drainage in the pot

Overview of Star Cactus

They are perennial flowering succulent plants native to South Africa. The leaves are arranged as rosettes. The leaves are triangular, green and succulent. The tips of the leaves have translucent structures. The plants produce offsets around the mother plants. they bloom during late spring and summer. The flowers are white tubular and present 40-50 cm above the rosette of leaves. The leaves are triangular shaped and curved back like a thumb. They are star shaped succulents and can spread up to 15cm in width.

Special features: The upper side of the leaves contain translucent tips which form a window to the green leaf. This gives a 3D appearance and illuminates the plant. The plants collect the required amount of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis during the night.(CAM pathway)

Usage and Advantage of Star Cactus

  • Grown as an ornamental plant.

General Care for Star Cactus

Soil: A well-drained and well aerated soil can be used. A cacti or succulent mix can be best for its growth.

Water: The plants do not require much water. The watering can be done only when the soil is dry. During winters, the plants require very little water and can be watered ones in one or two months. During summers, they can be watered to keep the soil moist and saturated.

Light: They prefer bright direct sunlight for its growth. The plants can tolerate cold and hot conditions. During winter they prefer colder conditions with a little shade. When grown indoors, it should be placed in areas with sufficient amount of direct sunlight. Exposure to bright direct sunlight for longer periods of time can be harmful.

Special care: They do not require much pruning. The plants are small and slow growers. During the blooming season, the wilted flowers can be removed.

Fertilizer: The younger plants can be fertilized during the summers. Any cacti fertilizer can be used. The plants can be fed ones or twice a month during the growing period

Pests and other problems for Star Cactus

They are not prone to any diseases.

Root rot can happen if there is excess water in the soil.

The leaves turn yellow due to excess water. Allowing the soil to dry up totally before deep watering them can help to get back the green colour in the leaves.

Propagation of Star Cactus

The propagation can be done either by offsets or leaf cuttings.

Offsets: The offsets are young small plants that grow from the parent plants. the parent plant can be uprooted and the offsets attached to the parent can be cut out and planted to grow into a new plant.

Leaf: The propagation through the leaf is a less preferred process. The leaf is cut from its base close to the stem. The cut leaf is left to dry for a day. The dried callus is planted on the cacti mix.

The moisture of the soil should be maintained and should be provided with proper sunlight and humidity.

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