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Agave / Aloe / Gasteria / Haworthia Succulent Description

All members of the Asphodeloideae family, Agave, Aloe, Haworthia, and Gasteria succulents, are known for their large leaves, beautiful flowers, and desert homes. These succulents are generally hardy, drought-resistant, and relatively large. As great outdoor desert plants and fantastic indoor companions, there’s always room for members of the Asphodeloidae family somewhere.

Although these succulents are all strikingly similar, there are a few ways to tell them apart. Aloe, for example, has watery, gel-like flesh inside its leaves. Agave plants do as well, but their leaves are much larger, and Gasteria succulents have large triangular leaves too, but their tips are rounded. Haworthia succulents are the smallest in the family and are best for smaller pots in compact places.

General Care

Your succulent's specific care needs will vary depending on the plant’s species and variety. However, most succulents of the Asphodeloidae family have similar general care needs. They are all desert plants and will thus need a similar environment to thrive.

If you want to look into your succulent’s specific needs and toxicity, use our search bar to find the in-depth guide!

1. Light

For light, your succulents will need at least six hours of bright, indirect light. While these succulents do well in full sun, direct sunlight can easily damage these succulents’ leaves. Keep them near a south or east-facing window to help these plants get the most light possible without damaging them. Your succulents will be shielded from the sun during the afternoon but will receive plenty of light in the morning. Outdoors, give your succulents a bit of shade to prevent the sun from burning their leaves.

2. Soil

Agave, Haworthia, Aloe, and Gasteria succulents require sandy, well-draining soil. If you’re growing these succulents indoors, use a cactus or succulent mix. You can also modify soil or potting mix using coarse sand, peat, and perlite to improve drainage. These succulents prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of about 6. Add a little compost or soil mix to your mix to increase your soil acidity.

3. Water

Only water your succulents when the soil is completely dry to the touch, which typically happens once every two weeks. Although these succulents prefer regular waterings, they can handle a few weeks of drought without much struggle. Like all succulents, their leaves store excess water for drought periods and will shrivel when underwatered. When you water these succulents, consider using the bottom-watering method if they’re potted, or use a single-hole watering can or bottle to get directly to the roots.

During the dormant season, cut back on watering the succulents to avoid root rot.

4. Temperature and Humidity

Since these plants come from the desert, it’s best to keep your home nice and toasty, around 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Outside, members of the Asphodeloideae family thrive in USDA agricultural zones 10, 11, and 12. For humidity, these succulents prefer dry weather and prefer low humidity year-round. 

5. Fertilizer

Typically, succulents don’t need fertilizer to survive. However, if you want to give your plants a little nutrient boost, add fresh compost to the succulent’s soil during its growing season.

 

Potting and Repotting

Members of the Asphodeloideae family require well-draining soil, and it’s best to prioritize drainage when choosing your pot. Pots with drainage holes are always leagues better than those without, but if you’d like to improve drainage further, consider using a pot made from a porous substance. Materials like concrete, ceramic, and terracotta work best for improving drainage.

You should repot your succulent once every one to two years in a pot at least 10% larger than the previous pot. When you repot, only do so during the growing season, so your succulents will have plenty of time to recover from any potential damage during the repotting process. 

 

Propagation

To propagate Asphodeloideae succulents, wait until the mother succulent begins to produce an offshoot. Often called pups, Asphodeloideae produce small offshoots to reproduce near the mother plant. Once your offshoots begin to take root, simply remove them from the mother plant using a clean, sharp pair of scissors, and plant them separately.

 

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