Is this what an etiolated haworthia looks like?

nathanblairFebruary 6, 2013

I was told to not bring succulents into an office environment, but if I really wanted to, a haworthia could survive. So I brought in this haworthia and it doesn't look as good as when I bought it. You can see in the photo that the bottom is weakening and even shriveling a bit, and the top looks stretched out. Is this what they mean by etiolated? I live in Utah where I can't take it outside yet, so is my only solution to put it by a big window and give it more light?

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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Yep, that would be what's happening. It needs as much light as it can get if it's inside.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Yes! definitely.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:48PM
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This might be a silly question, will an etiolated haworthia ever shrink back down after being exposed to more light?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:10AM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

The parts of the plants that have become etiolated will stay that way. You just have to wait for healthy new growth to grow in atop it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:41AM
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So as the lower leaves dry up and the new growth is compact, eventually it will be back to it's original size? Oh man, maybe I should have never bought any haworthias - as I am stuck growing them indoors.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:58AM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Yeah, that's the way. But I've grown these guys indoors, and it can be done. It's not ideal, because they will prefer a little outside sunlight, but you just need them by a good window if you're going to do it indoors. Anything sitting on a desk far off from a window isn't going to turn out well.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 3:27AM
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Can you get some extra light (maybe on timer for 14hrs/day)? - unless you can move it to a very bright window.
I have few inside in south window (not very large), and have fluorescent lights on too. They will have to wait for another at least 2mo before it's warm enough to keep them outside. Considering the light situation, I think they are in reasonable shape.


This post was edited by rina_ on Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 8:45

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:42AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi All,

Nice plantings Rina.

I too grow indoors only, including some Haworthias. I agree if one has at least the edge of a good window or two, it can be done.

One of my favorites, H. limifolia

Same Haw after I'd removed some pups a winter ago or 2.

This is a H. truncata & I grow it right on this west window sill for maximum possible light.

You could probably experiment w/ some less expensive ones (like from Big Box stores) to find a couple you can grow.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Thank you all for the responses!

I think this H. cymbiformis is starting to show signs of etiolation... unless some of them grow tall like that.

I acquired this hybrid last autumn. It seems to be a slow grower so the ill-effects of inadequate light might not show up until later.

@teatree: Thank you for all the info. I keep them by the windowsill, but I fear it still might not be enough light.

@rina_: Unfortunately, I do not have enough room in my apt to set up some grow lights. They currently sit facing NW (I could only wish I had access to a South-facing window). Your plants look happy!

@pirate_girl: It's great to hear that indoor growing can be done. I understand you live in NYC, so you too are limited on space. Your haws look happy too!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:09PM
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it's possible, but it needs good indirect light. i have sev zebra hawortias. i read that they are mislabeled 99% of the time - and really they are attenuatas. all from the one that i bought some 10 years ago. the ones in brightest light and hot in the western window - they are the smallest. they don't grow at all. i often forget to water them too. yeh, i should move them, i know...the ones in the north-east window get morning sun-light only 4-5 months out of the year. they are doing ok, but growing very slow. it takes them a long time to clump. there's barely any soil and i have already 7 in a cluster , but for 5 years it was a single. just sat there.
then i put 5 in a larger pot and it sat like that too for years, until i finally started putting it outside on NE balcony - it took off like crazy. it spends winters on a cold NE window too. i am on a hudson across from nyc.
if i paid them more attention, i think i would have ground cover by now. that would be windowsill cover, that is ;). they are exceptionally resilient.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:26PM
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It looks like your haworthia is stretching for the sun, and it's not streatching to do exercises. This is a horrible time of the year for them, watch of for scale and mailies on the leafes. take out all dead leaves. you also may need to change it's soil, at this time that will give it a jump start on the season, it will not like the hot summer sun, low light is fine but some sun to grow correctly, so do we. Norma

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:57PM
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@petrushka: Good to hear that they are resilient even in the least optimal conditions.

@norma: Thank you for all of the advice on keeping my haws healthy.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:40PM
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here's what the '5year-nogrow' looks like after it was switched from sunny window to NE. it's in 4" pot, maybe 1" deep. don't call me a torturer! it actually clumped suddenly and tripled in size in 5 years of NE.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:01PM
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@petrushka: Wow that clump looks great!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:14AM
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here's a comparative study... of neglect. yeh, i mostly neglect them.
i bought 1 single plant may be 10 years back?...?
1. the top right is what is left of it - it's a control ;) shallow 1.5" pot (replanted once about 4 years ago)
did 5 years in the east, 3 years in west, 2 years in NE, abandoned...
i took 2 cuts from it may be in 3rd year in eastern window (clumped with 5): one big, one small.
2. big is below mama - no grow until 2 years ago-it's about double what it was (half time in eastern window, it did a few years in western, then finally settled in NE and produced a baby).
3. small - is front, that's the one in prior pic (see life story above).
4. about 4 years ago i replanted choked mama and removed some more clumps((5?) from it and gave them a new house and send them on extended vacation to NE balcony from may thru xgiving.
they stay the moistest only because of hi humidity outdoors and a larger pot. usually it's in the darkest spot, smtimes under the shelf. and look how it grew !?
it winters in NE window. they all do now (family reunion).
am considering giving mama a rejuve : cutting off and potting in fresh soil. ... when and if i get to it...
there're so many plants, there are other things to do....and i need a vacation and rejuve meself occasionally too!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Thank you for sharing how the same haw grows so differently in different lighting conditions.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:44AM
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