Star Cactus Haworthia retusa

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
star cactus


The Haworthia retusa is a small succulent known for its striking, fleshy, and thick leaves that form in a rosette pattern. The leaves are usually a vibrant green and somewhat translucent at their rounded tips, often described as having a "windowed" appearance that helps with photosynthesis in low light conditions. Each leaf is plump and contains a pointed end, although not sharp, giving them a slightly triangular aspect as they curve inwardly towards the center of the rosette. The leaves can also exhibit variegation or faint stripes, adding to its attractive and textured look. This succulent commonly develops into a dense cluster, as it produces offsets around its base. The overall aesthetic is one of compactness and symmetry, making it a popular choice for container gardening or as a delicate addition to succulent collections.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Star Cactus, Window Haworthia, Cushion Aloe, Retuse Haworthia

    • Common names

      Aloe retusa, Apicra retusa, Catevala retusa, Haworthia fouchei.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Haworthia retusa, commonly known as Star Cactus, is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There are no known toxic effects from ingesting this plant or coming into contact with its sap. However, as with any non-food plant, it is not advisable to consume it intentionally.

    • To pets

      Star Cactus is also non-toxic to pets. It does not contain any known poisonous substances that would harm cats, dogs, or other household pets. Ingestion of this plant should not cause any symptoms of poisoning or serious health consequences. However, it is always wise to prevent pets from eating plants since they could cause digestive upset or blockages simply due to the physical nature of the plant material.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Spread

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Low Maintenance: Haworthia retusa is a very hardy plant that requires minimal care, making it ideal for busy or beginner plant owners.
    • Drought-tolerant: It can survive long periods without water, thanks to its succulent leaves that store moisture.
    • Small Size: Its compact size makes it suitable for small spaces, such as apartments or small offices.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: With its unique star-shaped arrangement of leaves, it offers an attractive aesthetic to any room.
    • Long Lifespan: When cared for properly, this plant can live for many years, providing long-term enjoyment.
    • Non-Toxic: Haworthia retusa is safe for homes with pets or children as it is not toxic if ingested.
    • Easy to Propagate: It easily propagates from offsets, so you can multiply your collection or share with friends.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Haworthia retusa can be used in miniature gardens due to its small size and slow growth rate, making it an ideal addition for creating scaled-down landscapes.
    • As an educational tool in botany classes, the transparent leaves of Haworthia retusa allow for the study of plant structures and adaptations to low light environments.
    • This plant is often found in terrariums where its unique and attractive shape adds visual interest to the plant composition within the enclosed ecosystem.
    • Haworthia retusa can serve as a model organism in studies on succulent water storage strategies due to its thick, fleshy leaves that store water efficiently.
    • It is utilized in feng shui practices where it is believed to bring positive energy to the home when placed in specific areas.
    • As a subject for botanical illustration and photography, Haworthia retusa is often chosen for its intricate leaf patterns and symmetry.
    • Plant enthusiasts use Haworthia retusa in bonsai cultivation, appreciating its slow growth and ability to thrive in shallow containers.
    • The plant can act as a natural tool for learning about light gradients by observing the change in leaf translucency based on the light conditions provided to the plant.
    • This succulent is sometimes used in jewelry making, with small leaves or sections cast in resin to create unique botanical accessories.
    • In creative activities such as fairy garden design, the small-scale and interesting texture of Haworthia retusa adds an enchanting element to these whimsical creations.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Star Cactus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Star Cactus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Haworthia retusa, commonly known as Star Cactus, often symbolizes resilience due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and adapt to less than ideal environments.
    • Protection: The robust and fleshy leaves of the Star Cactus contribute to its association with protection—representing a shield against negative forces and a safeguard for positivity.
    • Endurance: This plant's capacity to store water allows it to endure long periods without rain, symbolizing the ability to withstand challenges over time.
    • Purity: The clear, window-like tips of the Star Cactus leaves can symbolize transparency and purity, both in intentions and in life.
    • Beauty in Simplicity: The Star Cactus, with its straightforward and unassuming appearance, reminds us of the beauty found in simplicity and the importance of appreciating the basic aspects of life.

Every two to three weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every two to three years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Star Cactus should be watered once every two to three weeks during its growing season in spring and summer, but this can vary depending on environmental conditions like temperature and humidity. It's essential to allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again. When you do water, add enough water so that it runs out of the bottom of the pot, indicating the roots have received sufficient moisture. This might amount to around 8-16 ounces depending on the size of the pot. Reduce watering in the fall and winter to once a month or less, as the plant goes into dormancy.

  • sunLight

    Star Cactus thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. An east or west-facing window that provides a few hours of direct sun followed by dappled light or partial shade for the rest of the day is typically ideal. Avoid placing the Star Cactus in full, direct afternoon sunlight as it can scorch the leaves, but also keep it out of deep shade, which can weaken the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Star Cactus prefers temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand temperatures as low as about 50 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods but should not be exposed to frost as it can cause damage to the plant. The ideal temperature for healthy growth is typically around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning is generally not required for the Star Cactus since it maintains a compact shape as it grows. However, if there are dead or dying leaves, these can be gently removed to improve the plant's appearance and prevent potential rot. Pruning, if necessary, is best done in the spring or early summer, during the plant's active growth period.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Haworthia retusa, commonly known as Star Cactus, thrives in a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix with a pH around 6.0 to 7.5. A good recipe for Star Cactus soil is to mix equal parts of regular potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand. This ensures adequate drainage and aeration, preventing root rot and promoting healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Star Cactus should be repotted every two to three years or when it outgrows its current pot. Gentle handling is crucial to avoid damaging the fleshy roots. Repotting in the spring at the start of the growing season is ideal for the Star Cactus to establish in the new pot before winter.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Star Cactus prefers moderate humidity levels, typical of indoor environments, ranging from 40% to 60%. Excessive humidity can lead to fungal infections and rot, so it is important to maintain good airflow around the plant to mimic its natural arid habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow Star Cactus in bright, indirect light, with well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Place Star Cactus in partial shade; protect from heavy rain and frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Haworthia retusa, commonly known as the star cactus, begins its life as a seed, often germinating in the spring under suitable warm and moist conditions. Emerging as seedlings with small, initial leaves, they gradually mature into rosettes of fleshy, triangular leaves with transclucent "windows" that allow light into the inner leaf for photosynthesis. As a slow-growing succulent, it may take several years for the plant to reach flowering maturity, producing small, white flowers on elongated stalks that arise from the center of the leaf rosette. After pollination, which is often facilitated by insects, the flowers develop into small seed pods that, when dried, open to release seeds to start the next generation. During its lifetime, Haworthia retusa can also propagate vegetatively through offsets, or "pups," that sprout at the base of the parent plant and can be separated to grow independently. The plant can live for a few decades, with continuous growth and periodic flowering cycles given the proper care and environment.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagating Haworthia retusa, commonly known as Star Cactus, is through offsets. These are small, young plants that grow from the base of the mature plant. During the spring or early summer, when the plant's growth is most active, offsets can be gently removed using a clean, sharp knife. It’s essential to allow the offsets to dry and callus over for a few days to prevent rotting. The callused offsets can then be planted in a well-draining cactus or succulent soil mix. Water sparingly at first, just enough to dampen the soil without making it soggy, which translates to about a teaspoon (5 milliliters) of water. Once established, the new Star Cactus will gradually grow into a new mature plant.