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david90531

Haworthia losing its green and browning, too much or too little water?

9 years ago
last modified: 9 years ago

Hi all,

Some of my Haworthias are losing their green and showing a more darker brown-ish colouration. I'm wondering if it's because they're getting too much or too little water. I know they change colour when getting too much sun as well, but I doubt that's the case since they'e been staying at my north-west facing window year-round, they get all day bright indirect light with occasional sunset showers. I water them every 7-10 days during their growing season of winter, but now I know they're getting out of their growing season soon so I've changed that to 10-14 days, they're in pretty gritty mix that drains almost instantly from their drainage holes since the pots are so tiny.

The H. transiens had some yellow dried tips since it came but the new growths look fine, but yea recently it's been losing the light green colouration.

Comparison: The main character here is the healthy H. attenuata variegata, but you can see the H. transiens to the right looking much greener late last year.

Another obvious one is the H. tesselata. The brown colours are pretty obvious on this one, even the seedlings.

Comparison to a pic from last year, the leaves also seem to curl up more now, another reason I suspect it's too dry?

The H. retusa is not as obvious but it's also showing a bit of brown on the leaves.

I should also mention that this has been an ongoing process, not just all of a sudden they turned brown, I would say they've been slowly losing their green colour and developing a brown-ish colour over the past half year. Could it also be because I didn't fertilize them during the winter growing season?

Any input would be amazing. Thanks!

Comments (36)

  • 9 years ago

    More sun, less water will make them color up. Mine do it all the time. If you don't like this look, move to more shade/water more. :)


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  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    David, what is the temperature like in your apt? I've read somewhere that fleshy Haw naturally grows under bushes with shaded sunlight and goes dormant/shut down when the weather gets warm. I know it might sound too early in the year now, but maybe the first guy is showing signs of shutting down. At times, they even go through great lengths to decompose all of its roots to become fertilizer for future growth when the weather cools again.

    DavidL.ca thanked bernardyjh
  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would say if the roots are firmly grasping in the soil, no movement, the stems are solid not soft and your culture is right on, I would agree that it's the amount of light (not necessarily sun) they are all receiving. I think light brightness is affected by season as well as overcast days etc. Here in S. Cali we're having overcast weeks for more than a month. My cactus flowers are not all opening fully and colors are off. My thinking is haws will probably stay bronzed from times when light was stronger.

    DavidL.ca thanked aztcqn
  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    azt - Where are the ideal conditions for haws to bloom? My flower had not bloomed yet but seems like it is drying up already. It's weird because it appears that my mummy retusa is focusing all its energy to push new growths on its pup instead of flowering..

  • 9 years ago

    @bernard the temperature these days has been pretty regular indoor temperature I think, usually between 20-25 celcius, maybe 15 the lowest at the windowsill. Thanks for the info. on dormancy, I did know that they lose their roots from time to time, but don't really know how that actually works, and when that's happening how should I water them, etc.

    @aztcqn thank you! it seems like mine is quite firmly grasping the soil (I didn't want to pull too hard..) Perhaps they got used to the darker conditions during the winter months, and now the brighter light is making them shut down. Do you think this is a good time to feed them once (the next time I water?)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    David, seems your retusa has the same bronzing color mine did. My haw reverted back to green after I moved it into the patio shade.


    Bernard, in an apartment I'd think humidity is hard to control. If the flower stalk dried up before opening, I'd say (but I could be wrong) - air is too dry in apt. If it's creating babies, perhaps its energy has been moved to that from flowering.

    I've moved my tessellated haws into a very bright light are with some sun. I'll be watching to see how they do.

  • 9 years ago

    Here, it's officially crispy. I know, my apartment is extremely dry, and other than misting constantly, there is no way for me to control that.

    I think I'm probably going to snip it off and let the plant focus on growing its roots and leaves instead.


    David - I'm still considered fairly new to Haws. Those temperature seems fine to me, good spring weather. Haws are funny to me because my idea is that some mother plant dies to provide a better chance for its babies. Then again, I just guessing. But if you believe the roots have been gone, I read people just lay off the watering and let it be till it regrows again..

  • 9 years ago

    David, here's a good resource that might get you more help and support.

    But I think you have to join the group first..

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Haworthia/info?referrer=MESEMBS

  • 9 years ago

    They look dry to me. It's a bit early for them to go dormant. I'd water more, perhaps fertilize weakly (1/4 of normal solution) for a couple of weeks. I water mine every 5 days or so. They're indoor in an east-facing window. I haven't fertilized in ages. Still fat and green from winter. I only lighten up on watering when they start to darken and look shriveled despite watering ... I know they have started to slow down, and so I slow down their watering schedule to match. When they green up again in the fall, I go back to the 5-7 day watering schedule.

  • 9 years ago

    not to bad for indoor David would be better if you could get them outside



  • 9 years ago

    @dannie Thanks! I will fertilize the next time I water them. Did not know much about their appearance change while dormant before, good to know!


    @nomen Thanks, but again at this point I am unable to bring them outside, as they would drop to the groud from 12th floor! But now that the temperature is nicer, I've started to open the window so they can have some fresh air. I also took your advice from before and have oscillating fan working from time to time.

  • 9 years ago

    Since we are on the topic of Haworthia roots.. I found this guy had a very peculiar way of dealing with his Haws when they go dormant..

    Looks brutal but apparently it's been working for him..

    http://jacculents.tumblr.com/post/109584995116/roots-cutting-is-extremely-important-for#notes


    Don't drool too much, his tumblr of succulents are all too yummy..

    -B

  • 9 years ago

    Bernard
    Interesting blog...I guess it's like other plants (non-succulent) that benefit from root pruning when re-poted.
    I usually trim long roots, but never tried such drastic root pruning.
    You certainly come up with some interesting links - you are very good google-surfer!

    David
    I nominate you for TOP INDOOR GROWER of succulents! I think you are doing extremely good job; your plants look great.
    Rina


  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Haha Rina - ever so lovely!

    I love looking at plants - succulents particularly, and I mostly get carried away online, eventually stumbling upon these interesting concepts people do, to grow them. - all share worthy

    I guess I'm not at the level to "trim my plants roots" yet, my plants are mostly babies. Nevertheless it's good to know!

    - B

  • 9 years ago

    Awesome find @bernard! Definitely an interesting blog. I have to keep in mind when browsing through that he's in Malaysia, the climate there is quite drastically different from here, but still he gives some good tips. I'm not sure if I'll ever prune my roots like that, I'm scared they might never grow it back haha.. but maybe I will give it a try at some point.


    In another post he mentioned that you can pretty much water Haws every day, I think that's kind of crazy too.. I know they like moisture a bit more than most other succs, but to what extent? Watering them every day in my growing environment will rot them, I'm pretty sure.


    Thanks @rina, I have managed to kill the grafted moon cactus (the top part just slowly turned to mush for no reason), 2 baby Lithops (they are HARD to figure out, even worse than adults I think), and the C. Buddha's temple so far, so I'm not sure I can live up to the title :P, but I think after a year of growing succulents I definitely learned what plants are suitable for my current growing space. Although I'm proud to say that my mesembs, opposite to most beliefs, are for the most part doing great. (5 Lithops, Argyroderma, Pleiospilos Royal Flush, baby toes, and Faucaria, etc.)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think I could do that root shearing, either (shuddering violently). I agree, David, climates are different. What I have found is that most temperate plants will get damaged when water sits on them in cool/cold conditions. Cold and bacteria make a wonderful pair. Maybe, in Malaysia the warmth prevents certain bacteria from destroying plants through wounds even tho humid? Guessing. :]

  • 9 years ago

    David/Azt - it is because of his drastic gardening methods that I thought it's worthy of sharing to all our delicate haws care givers here.

    Haha honestly watering daily does spook me. I mean Malaysia is extremely hot and humid - tropical rainforest climate, I'm from Singapore so I know. For the most parts, there are many big trees, so it's cool and damp under the canopies even during the hottest days. Heat + moisture = fungi heaven! If you ever leave an opened bag of potato chips un-clipped, it turns soggy within a day, that's how humid it is.

    There are 2 extreme ends to the weather annually though, an extreme rain season or dry spells for months. I guess he was probably watering them daily when its the dry season. Another explanation is that the Haws he bought are probably already adapted to such environments, since the temperature is pretty much similar to Meixco/South Africa, where they originated from.

    I still can't wrap my head around cutting off the bulk of the roots. My only logic is that he's forcing the plant to wake up from dormancy to grow. Just a thought too..

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yep. Your deduction sounds pretty logical to me. Eeew on the soggy chips - hate that. Interesting to see how different folks grow stuff. I've already lost 2 plants to rot. It's too cool here in Cali to allow any drops of moisture to sit on them. Delicate? - I pop awake and bolt outside in the middle of the night running to put my table of haws under the patio when I hear forecast of rain!!!

  • 9 years ago

    I don't have any problems with rot and rain in L.A. with my haws. They are growing during the winter when we get rain. I have tons both in pots and in the ground.

  • 9 years ago

    Azt and Nil - it also depends on the breed of haws you grow too. I believe the ones with juicer leaves are harder to predict. Because they generally grow under bushes in a natural habitat, but as we try to simulate the conditions, it's hard to assess how much shade/light/moisture is ideal for their growth.

  • 9 years ago

    I have a lot of different haws.

  • 9 years ago

    The window haws like cuspidata will rot on me if they get cold water in their centers. I keep the leaves as dry as possible and avoid watering in the evening.

    The fasciatas grow like weeds in the yard, rain and all.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's weird. I my cuspidata do just fine in the ground. They even get pounded by roof runoff and flooded when it rains.

    Where are you in SoCal, aztcqn?



  • 9 years ago

    Good news :D the Haws are doing better with some tweaks in their watering and lighting conditions, green is coming back and looking good! Watered them again today and keeping the fan on for awhile



  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    David, your plants are looking really good! Glad you are finding the right tweaks for your conditions.

    Nil13, I live in West Los Angeles. My cuspidatas are variegated. I dont know if that has a bearing on the problem. But, Ive lost 2 large plants to center rot and soft leaves falling off.

    If you're growing in the ground!!!! I wonder what I'm missing in culture or conditions......mine are also outside in pots with gritty type mix. Temps are no problem when leaves remain dry..

    DavidL.ca thanked aztcqn
  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    David
    Looking great!
    Can you share what 'tweaks' you made? - less watering? more? Less light? more?

    Rina

  • 9 years ago

    @aztcqn thanks!

    @Rina Basically I watered the day after this post, and then I watered again yesterday. I also try to keep the overall humidity higher with some spraying (some said that Haws like that, but not too much of course). Other than that I moved most of them behind other plants so they get less light (all my plants don't get much direct sun to begin with). Oh, and also I fertilized them when I watered them last week, that may have done something too.

  • 5 years ago

    I noticed yesterday my Haworthia is starting to brown at the stem. It is only soft at the very end of the stem. Is this pot to big? How about coloration of all Haworthia? I live in Northwest Arkansas and our weather has been cooler than normal. I keep them outside on our front porch. I dusted them with Diatomaceous Earth. Our front porch faces north. We get sun only in the morning, but they do not get direct sun. Please advise me on any thing I can do to comfort them more. I use only rainwater when I water. I have a moisture meter to check levels of moisture in the soil. I am using a Terra cotta pot with a drainage hole. I have put small rocks in the bottom before I used soil. Is the pot to big?





    I hope you can see these pictures good enough to advise me. The 4 show are the only plants that have gone soft on me. Should I repot all of them to make sure the soil is not contaminated?

    The soil I use has a lot of course sand in it. Below is a picture of the soil. Then a picture of the location of my plants at 8:38 am.

    Please help me. I will do anything I need to do.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Maybe sand is not as coarse as it should be and the soil mix doesn' drain well enough. They are ppl here that grow them in pure pumice; I grow mine in mix of coarse perlite, chicken grit and small amount of turface. Grit & perlite are approx. same size as seen here:


    If you pot them into more gritty mix, they should be happier. Soil in your photo doesn't look well draining. I don't think it is 'contaminated' but probably too water retaining (and that could eventually get 'contaminated' by rot from plants, if that is the problem).

    It's hard to judge from your phot, but soft is usually not so good - but I am just assuming.

    Why did you dust them with diatomaceous earth? - was there some bug problem?

    IMO, your light exposure is probably OK for haws; but I see other plants that would probably like more sunlight.

  • 5 years ago

    Had no bug problems, just avoiding them. Is Diatomaceous Earth bad for succulents? What other plants need more sun. Does cinnamon help with the squishy brown area? Can I trim off squishy brown area on Haworthias and let them callous and replant them. There were only 3 that were a bit squishy on the very tips. Do they grow new roots? Thank you so very much for your time. It is greatly appreciated.

  • 5 years ago

    On my haworthia above you told me to use turface, perlite, chicken grit. I, at one time was dabbling in bonsai, and I have some Akadama and Lava rock left over. I had ordered from Eastern Leaf. Can I incorporate that into the perlite and chicken grit or just use by itself to plant my haworthia, above, in?

  • 4 years ago

    Just a note that when most sources talk about using "coarse sand", they're talking horticultural-grade coarse, not anything you're likely to find labeled as "sand" at Home Depot; it is more like small gravel than anything you'd build castles with.


    I use chicken grit because it's the easiest for me to get (chicken grit comes in two types, I use the flint type, not the oyster shell-type, the latter will raise your soil's pH to an alarming degree). What I get from the feed store is basically small sharp red granite gravel. It incorporates really well into a gritty potting mix with lots of Perlite and bagged cactus/succulent soil, and it makes a lovely top dressing, too!

  • 4 years ago

    Hi! I have a truncata that is growing under grow lights. For the past couple of months, I noticed that it has turn dark brown and looks quite shriveled. Am I watering too little? I water a little around the sides around once a week and it is under direct grow light for 14 hours a day. I don’t think it is dying as I see new leaves growing in the middle. I’m quite new to succulents so any tips would be great. I am staying in Singapore and am keeping the succulents indoor. Weather is usually 78 to 90°F or 26-32 °C with relatively high humidity.


  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Haws don't seem to like direct sun, rather like more semi-shade. They also seem to shut down in the heat, I'm in NYC & my Haws seems to slow down or stop growing in extreme heat, like 80s.

    If mine, I'd remove it from under lights & let it sit next to the edge of a window for some bright, but indirect light.

    Does that pot have a drainage hole? That's an absolute must.

  • 4 years ago

    The drainage hole was plugged up by the shop that I got it from (they came in these cute pots with huge plugs similar to a coin bank). Guess I will have it unplugged and put it slightly away from the grow light. Thanks for your advice! :)