Dying haworthia, help

amburlinApril 21, 2008

I have had this Haworthia (fasciata or attenuata I think) for two years and about a year ago it was tiped over and the roots were mostly broken off. It has since regrown its roots, though not as well, and the plant has never really thrived since. About 6 months ago it started to show dead areas of the leaves near the center of the plant at the top, but the leaf before the dead strip and after seamed alright. (I will try to upload photos if I can figure out how) Now the rest of the plant is dying. It is still trying to grow offspring though and they seam perfectly healthy. It is sitting in an east facing window, not too close, and I water it whenever the soil is totally dry. I have another haworthia (I think pumila) that I care for in the same way and it is fine.




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sorry, I think I posted in the wrong forum and I can't figure out how to move it :(

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 5:31PM
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No worries-- this forum should be fine; your post is C&S related & there is a picture.
The cut & paste links don't work for me, and the clickable link has a rather small picture...I can't tell for sure what's going on, but I can venture an educated guess.
It doesn't seem to be dying back in the typical way Haworthias do when they lose roots, so there's probably something more going on. When roots die off and the plants get water-starved, the leaves usually thin out pretty uniformly, and die-back starts at the tips. Your plant's leaves look like they're constricted part-way up. Necrotic spots like that could be from something fungal or bacterial. If it were my plant, I'd pull off a couple of the healthiest pups and root them separately in a well-draining C&S mix, to hedge my bets. The mix commonly offered at box stores is a bit heavy, but amended with perlite or pumice it'll generally do well. If the mix that the main plant is in is heavy or old, I'd repot that in fresh mix, too. Then I'd cut away any damaged-looking leaves and spray the plant (and the potted pups, to be on the safe side) with an anti-fungal/anti-bacterial. (Neem oil is a natural anti-fungal with low toxicity...just one option.)
I advise being especially careful with overhead watering for a while, so that no water sits in the plant's nooks and crannies. If it gets cold near the window in winter, it'll pay to take special care not to get the leaves wet at that time, too.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Thanks so much for your advice! I have other and larger photos but I couldn't get more then the one uploaded one to work. The soil I'm using is a store mix for cacti and succulents and I probably should replace the soil because it's getting old. Is there any trick to getting the pups to take root when they're really small? Mine always die if I try to transplant them early, but I don't want what's killing the main plant to kill the little ones, and I also would rather have the main plant's energy going to it's own growth.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 4:57PM
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Yeah, picture-loading can be frustrating sometimes!

I guess the main thing with getting the pups going successfully is not to water until they have enough roots to make use of said water. Set them in dry mix & check them from time to time. If you check once or twice a week, you'll see the roots starting to form before disturbing them becomes an issue. Sometimes they throw out roots right away, and sometimes it can take a very long time (months and months). If you've got some rooting hormone around, you could use a light dusting, but I wouldn't bother to buy any just for that (it'd cost as much as a new Haworthia). It's also a good idea to make sure you plant gets a thorough watering a day or two before you remove the pups so they're fully hydrated & have reserves to go on.
Early spring is a good time to start them, because they're usually in active growth then (now). I see your first post lists you as being in MN, but the later posts don't give a location, so maybe that was a mistake that you corrected. If you are in MN, you're in luck, because there's still a lot of good Haw. growing weather before summer heat sets in. If you're somewhere that's already getting hot days/warm night, you might want to put the pups in a cool spot to keep the heat from triggering dormancy.
Under ordinary circumstances I'd say you could spray down the pups in the morning to help keep them hydrated until they root, but if there's a fungal or bacterial thing going on with the mother plant, you'll want to be pretty careful that they don't stay wet. If the humidity is low and air circulation is good, you could go ahead. Use your best judgement for your own growing conditions.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 12:36PM
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Your advice is so helpful, Thanks! Yes I am in MN and I just put the pups in their own pot, so we'll see how it goes, right now they're looking healthy. On the main plant, it's looking pretty bad. Most of the leaves below the top are at least sick looking, and many of those are starting to show those dead spots around the edges of the base of the leaf. I'm wondering if there's a chance the plant will re-grow if I were to just cut the healthy top and re-plant it. It seams like these plants can re-grow roots from any center point.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 6:03PM
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I'm glad if I can help!
It's too bad the mother plant is deteriorating, but I'm glad the pups are doing well so far.

If you want to top the main plant, I'd advise taking the whole thing out of the pot and removing leaves from the bottom up until you get all the damaged leaves off. Then you'll be able to tell how far up the "stem" extends & you can trim it without having to worry about cutting it too high. As long as you get some of the core, you're right, they'll regrow roots pretty freely.

It looks like we won't have to worry about hot weather shutting the plants down for a while yet! I don't like it HOT, but these nights in the 30's are getting old!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Sounds good, thanks so much!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 3:09PM
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I know this post is coming Really Late for this, BUT, For ANYONE Reading this in the Future...One Very Important Factor to Always Remember when working with Cactus or Succulents is, after cutting a pup from a parent plant, or 'topping' a plant, It is Important to allow the Fresh Cut Area of the Stem(s) to Callus a bit. (Dry and Harden a bit.) Otherwise, there's a really great chance that the cut area will begin to rot if watered right away. That doesn't mean you want the entire plant to swivel up either. Just let the Wound Heal before watering.
Or a good way to think of it is, let a Scab form over the wound. (Now I know the Experts already Know this, but this advice is for Newbies or Novices.)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:58PM
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