Succulents are generally similar to one another. If you’re just starting to collect them, it could be challenging to tell them apart. Luckily, you can learn to tell them apart based on physical characteristics like leaf form, color, or blossoming time. The variety of species available if you want to create a succulent garden is practically unlimited!

In this article, we’ll examine the variations between gasteria and haworthia, two well-known and somewhat comparable succulents. Although the appearance and characteristics of these two succulents are similar, there are some significant distinctions to be aware of in terms of size, growth characteristics, and aesthetics.

Comparing Gasteria vs. Haworthia

Gasteria Haworthia
Classification Genus gasteria Genus haworthia
Alternative Names Ox Tongue, Cow’s Tongue Zebra Cactus, Pearl Plant, Cushion Aloe
Origin South Africa South Africa
Description A genus of succulents that lack stems and have leaves arranged in a rosette-like shape. A genus of small succulent plants that form rosette-like leaves and grow tiny white flowers.
Uses Used for skin rashes, arthritis, and burns. Also used as houseplants. Used for skin rashes as well as aesthetically-pleasing house plants.
Growth Tips Never overwater, don’t be too generous with fertilizer, and keep them in bright but not direct sun. Always plant in well-drained soil and avoid direct light.
Interesting Features As succulents, gasteria plants can store water internally. They have a similar appearance to aloe. As succulents, haworthia plants can store water internally. They also grow pearls or white spots on their leaves that form zebra-like stripes.

The Key Differences Between Gasteria and Haworthia

It’s no secret that gasterias and haworthias are very similar in appearance. Both of these plants have the typical aloe-like succulent look, complete with thick, squishy leaves, colors that range from bright green to deep violet to crimson, and color patterns that resemble stripes. They are both perennial succulents as well. However, there are some important differences between gasterias and haworthias that are worth knowing.

One of the biggest differences between gasteria and haworthias is their flowers. In complete contrast to aloes, haworthias have a narrow, wiry stem with tiny, white flowers. Aloes and gasteria blooms look similar, however, gasteria flowers are different in shape. Sedums and echeverias are much easier to distinguish because their flowers and plants are entirely different.

Another difference between gasteria and haworthia plants is their size. In general, gasterias can range from four to 24 inches in height, with a maximum width of about 12 inches. Haworthias usually stay much smaller at about three to five inches in height, though there are some species that can reach as high as 20 inches.

Gasterias and haworthias also have different care requirements. Both prefer sandy and well-drained soil, but the gasteria plant prefers acidic to neutral soil, while the haworthia prefers just neutral soil. Gasterias always bloom in the winter and spring, while the haworthia blooms in the summertime.

Gasteria succulent plant in bloom
Gasteria blooms are noticeably different to the small white flowers produced by haworthias.

iStock.com/soniabonet

Gasteria vs. Haworthia: Classification

The genus Gasteria contains aloe-like succulents that are relatively rare. Because its characteristic leaves have a lengthy shape and a rough texture, it occasionally goes by the popular name “ox tongue.”

The majority of the smaller succulent plants in the vast genus Haworthia are indigenous to South Africa. Although many species may have different common names, they are typically grouped together under the term haworthia.

There are around 20 different types of gasteria, such as G. carinata var. verrucosa, which is distinguished by its thick, oblong leaves that are covered in white warts. Another well-known species is G. maculata, which resembles G. carinata var. verrucosa in appearance but lacks any warty protrusions.

Haworthia has more than 100 species, though it might be difficult to classify them. The size of the leaves and the direction of the white marks on the leaves are what distinguish the common species from one another. As they all have identical care requirements, the best advice is to choose the type that appeals to you based on leaf structure and markings. The H. margaritifera, often known as the pearl plant, is a well-known species. Its tentacle-like leaves have white speckles on them which are quite attractive.

Haworthia succulent plants
Haworthias usually only grow to approximately three to five inches in height.

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Gasteria vs. Haworthia: Description

Gasteria leaves can have unique patterns and hues depending on the species. Additionally, in the winter to spring, mature gasteria plants often produce tubular, curving flowers.

Similar to haworthias, which are adorable little succulents that make lovely miniature houseplants. These diminutive, low-growing plants produce rosettes of mushy green leaves that are heavily adorned with bands or warts made of pearly white.

For the summer, gasterias and haworthias are usually transferred outside. Many plant parents keep their gasterias and haworthias indoors during the winter to avoid damaging them. In areas without frost, though, they are occasionally grown in gardens, especially in hotter desert climates.

Gasteria vs. Haworthia: Uses

The main purpose of cultivating or keeping gasterias is aesthetics. They are such stunning succulents with their deep green color, white dots, and rounded tentacle-like leaves. Additionally, this plant has potential medical applications for blood problems, constipation, and anti-aging. Gasterias are utilized in shampoos, soaps, and even mosquito repellent, and they can even be used to purify the air in indoor spaces.

Like gasterias, haworthias are primarily cultivated and grown for aesthetic purposes. Their zebra-like stripes make them very popular in little succulent gardens. Some species, such as the Haworthia limifolia, have medicinal characteristics that can be used to treat skin rashes, coughs, and other conditions.

Gasteria vs. Haworthia: Origin

The gasteria plant is indigenous to Namibia’s most southwesterly region and South Africa. The eastern cape of South Africa is where it is most frequently found. Haworthias are indigenous to both South Africa and Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Eswatini, among other nations. Even though these plants are native to Africa, they can successfully grow in USDA Zones 9 through 11.

Gasteria vs. Haworthia: How to Grow

The gasteria plant is a fantastic choice for a houseplant because it can endure lower light levels than many other succulents. Though generally speaking, you may start them as houseplants at any time, planting is best done in the spring. Gasteria is a plant with slow growth, and the majority of variations stay small.

If you’re growing your gasteria inside, like most gardeners do, pick a location with plenty of light but no direct sunshine. Additionally, if you desire to plant your gasteria in the garden and reside in one of USDA hardiness Zones 9 to 11, choose a location with dappled sunshine, such as behind a big tree. Additionally, for the summer, indoor gasteria plants in pots can be moved outside and positioned in a sparsely covered area.

You should be aware that plants don’t respond well to water that falls directly on their leaves, so if at all feasible, give them some protection from sprinklers and rain. The leaves might begin to decay if this happens. The same is true for producing healthy gasteria plants: good drainage from the soil and the planting container is essential.

Haworthias are often simple plants to grow, and the same growing techniques that result in wholesome gasteria plants also result in lovely haworthia plants. These plants do best when planted in the spring or early summer and are sometimes bought as potted examples. They have a somewhat moderate rate of growth, like many succulents.

Haworthias require bright light and sufficient moisture in the summer and relatively drier circumstances in the winter, just like other succulents. Don’t overwater them, but also don’t allow them to entirely dry out. Plan to fertilize the plant during the spring and summer while it is actively growing.

Haworthias thrive outdoors more often in somewhat shaded areas than in direct sunlight. They are therefore quite simple to grow indoors and likely to survive on a windowsill. Although they can be grown in many different containers, it’s preferable to pick one with enough drainage holes.

Gasteria Little Warty in a pot
The gasteria plant is a fantastic choice for a houseplant because it can endure lower light levels than many other succulents.

iStock.com/OllgaP

Gasteria vs. Haworthia: Special Features

Both gasterias and haworthias are known for being “miniature aloe” plants due to their appearance which resembles the common aloe. Both of these plants are also known for not easily becoming root-bound due to their slow growth and short roots. The gasteria plant is known for its beautiful, rounded appearance. The haworthia is known for being fairly slow-growing and mature plants rarely get very large.

If you’re looking for a succulent with some height, you’d be better off getting a gasteria. If you’re looking for a succulent that is a bit more vibrant, you might prefer a haworthia. With these differences in mind, both gasterias and haworthias look lovely together and are definitely complimentary indoor plants that can add an exotic, unique vibe to any living space.

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