Proper Haworthia Watering – 11 Things You Should Know

Too much or too little water can lead to all sorts of problems. If you follow the 11 golden rules for watering your Haworthia, it will thrive.

Haworthia is a versatile plant that grows in various climates and locations. While this may be true, you must get it right regarding its watering regime. If you are looking to keep your haworthia looking happy and healthy, you need to follow a few golden rules for watering. 

So, what are the golden rules for watering haworthia? Always water your plants when the top 2-5mm of soil is dry as a rule of thumb. Avoid watering during the coldest winter months, and only water your plants when exposed to full sunlight. Mind your growing mediums and make sure they drain well. Don’t water your haworthias from above, but let the pot empty before re-watering again. 

Haworthia may be a resistant plant, but this doesn’t mean it won’t need watering. Even so, it all boils down to using the right strategies while at it. We take a look at 11 golden rules for watering the haworthia.

1. Do not overwater

Watering haworthias is not as simple as sticking them in a saucer of water and forgetting about them. They need very little water and will suffer if you overwater them. If you’re new to growing succulents, your haworthia may be the first that you grow, and you may likely be tempted to water a little too much.

Haworthias hate having wet feet, and that means you should never stand your plant in a saucerful of water. If you do, the plant will succumb to root rot and die. To experiment to see if your haworthia has too much water in the potting mix, give it a good thorough watering (but not so that water comes out of the drainage holes). 

Haworthia plant with tools.
You can allow it to dry sufficiently before watering again.

You can then wait until the excess drips out of the bottom. This should take between half an hour to two hours, depending on the size of your pot. However, don’t just guess – place a container underneath to check. You can allow it to dry sufficiently before watering again.

2. Watering Strategies

Water your haworthias early in the day so that they can dry out before nightfall. Never water them during the evenings as this moisture will remain trapped within the leaves and cause rot. Nevertheless, don’t water them early in the morning, particularly if it is still dark. There will be less light for your plant to dry out fully, and you may get wet leaf bases that rot.

Remember, some haworthias are winter growers, so defer your watering until autumn if you see new growth developing in the spring and summer months.

3. Monitor your terrarium closely

If you are growing haworthia in a terrarium, ensure you empty any water from the bottom tray after watering and before you put it back together. This will prevent any rot from setting into the soil and killing your plant. Terrarium plants are synonymous with rot because people are always tempted to leave the water in the tray rather than pouring it away. If you believe you aren’t watering enough, try giving your plant a serious soaking. It should then last for about one week before needing another good drink.

4. Reduce watering before propagation

If you want to propagate haworthias, reduce watering to a minimum once the new growth has appeared. Remember, the soil needs to be dry before removing the offsets from the parent plant.

Haworthia plant offset.
Wait until the offsets are at least half as big as the parent plant.

 The best method is to wait until the offsets are at least half as big as the parent plant and then remove them with a sharp pair of secateurs. If you try to cut or break them away before they reach this size, you risk damaging the existing plant and preventing it from flowering and setting seeds.

5. Mind the Frequency

How often your haworthia needs to be watered depends on several factors. These include:

a) The size of the plant – Larger plants take longer to dry out than smaller ones.

b) The time of year – Plants that stay outside all year round will need much less water than those undercover during cool weather.  The weather conditions may also affect how much your plant needs to drink. If it’s very hot, plants will need more water than they would if it were cooler.

c) Potting Mix – The potting mix you use may also affect how much your haworthia needs to drink. For example, a 80% inorganic material mix will need more frequent watering than 60% organic.

 It’s important to note that some haworthias such as H. binata and H. cymbiformis will suffer if you overwater them. Still, others such as H. fasciata can take quite a lot of water without showing signs of distress. 

6.  The seasons matter

Your watering regime changes depending on the season. For example, haworthias grown in the winter or spring need less water than those grown during the summer months. The good news is that most haworthias only need watering every few weeks – often, once a month will be fine unless it’s particularly humid where you live. If your haworthia is looking droopy and not at its best, you could try giving it a thorough watering.

Haworthia plant in a pot with offset.
You may want to place a tray of gravel underneath your pot.

Try to avoid watering your plants if the weather is very cold or frosty, as the water could freeze and cause damage to your plant. You may want to place a tray of gravel underneath your pot so that any excess water can drain out, but this isn’t essential for all species.

7. Humidity Affects watering frequency

Humid conditions can affect how often you water haworthias. A greenhouse is a good example – if grasses are growing in your greenhouse, haworthias will need watering more often to prevent them from drying out too quickly. On the other hand, if your plant is not doing very well, high humidity plays a part in this, and it may be worth reducing watering frequency as a first step towards reviving your plant.

8. Watering needs vary based on varieties

For better watering, you may want to determine the variety of your haworthia. For example, H. cymbiformis is a winter-growing succulent. Most people water it sparingly during the cooler months and stop watering altogether when the air gets warmer in spring and summer. However, if you have an H. cymbiformis with red leaf margins, they prefer high humidity, so you may need to water more often or use a tray of gravel under the pot to improve drainage.

Haworthia cooperi plant.
For better watering, you may want to determine the variety of your haworthia.

9. Allow time for the soil to dry between waterings

When watering your plants, make sure they are completely dry before adding any water. If you water too soon, salts in the soil (caused by excess fertilizer) can build up and leave your plant weak and sickly. If this happens, flush the soil with a dilute solution of NFT or No-Salt to remove the salts.

 It’s best to allow the excess water to drain out and then stand the pot upright for a while so that there is no danger of it dripping onto the leaves. If you want to be 100 percent certain that your plant is completely dry, wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried out before watering again. 

10. Never water your haworthia from above  

Watering the leaves will promote the rotting of the tender new leaves on the plant. Instead, pour water into the pot slowly and drain out of the drainage holes. This will ensure that the leaves and stems of your plants remain dry and crispy.

A person watering the plant.
This will ensure that the leaves and stems of your plants remain dry and crispy.

In case you accidentally get the tender leaves wet, you can try wiping them with a soft cloth to remove the moisture, and then stand the plant upright and allow it to dry out before putting it back in your living room. Alternatively, you can wipe the leaves with a damp cloth moistened with NFT or No-Salt to remove salts.

11. Never water when the air is extremely cold or hot

Don’t ever let the roots of your haworthias freeze, as they won’t recover. Likewise, don’t water them if the air temperature is colder than 5˚C/40˚F or hotter than 40˚C/104˚F. Here’s why;

Frost damage

In winter, haworthias can be exposed to frost. If you have an outdoor haworthia and it’s cold overnight, ensure you protect the plant with fleece or cover it before nightfall. Don’t water your ice plants when exposed to frost because this will cause them to rot.

Hot temperatures 

In summer, hot temperatures can kill off your plants. In the wild, haworthias grow in very rocky environments exposed to high temperatures and little rainfall. If you have a greenhouse with many ice plants inside it, make sure there is plenty of ventilation so air can circulate them. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature of any plants in your living room or conservatory and water them more often if necessary.

Conclusion

Haworthias are wonderful plants, no doubt, and you don’t want to gamble on its watering. Getting its watering regime right shouldn’t be complicated and should help keep them healthy and happy. Just like any other succulent, haworthias require a limited amount of water, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution. In other words, don’t be too generous with its watering, as this can kill them off. 

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