Desert Adapted - South Africa
Haworthia, is a large genus of small, slow-growing clumping succulent plants that resemble mini aloe plants with rosettes of fleshy green leaves. Commonly kept as indoor plants but are happy outdoors as well. Haworthia is a succulent that belongs to the same family as aloe but it is not an aloe.
The Haworthia originally comes from South Africa and Namibia, where they thrive in rocky places in the shade of bushes and grasses. They require bright light but not hot afternoon full sun. Yellowing leaves usually signify too much sun. But if a plant isn't getting enough light, its vibrant green color will fade. Preferring temperatures between 70 to 95 degrees, with cool temperatures down to 50 degrees, they thrive in our mild weather fall through spring. Haworthia needs sandy, or gravelly soil with excellent drainage. Give water when the top inch of soil dries out. Reduce watering to just enough in the winter to keep the leaves plump. Never allow water to collect in the rosette; this can lead to rot.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.