aleous

My Haworthia retusa is shriveling up

aleous
22 days ago



I bought a haworthia retusa a few weeks ago. All of the leaves were nice and plump. I read that you should water it sparingly in the winter so I wasn't watering it for fear of overwatering. But then I noticed the leaves were shriveling up. I watered it a little bit, and didn't notice an improvement. So last week I gave it a good water, but that didn't seem to help. It still looks like this. Any suggestions?

Comments (16)

  • Chris (6a in MA)

    My plants do this every winter as e air in my house is very dry. Give it another good watering ensuring the soil is fully saturated. My Haworthia are planted in regular soil so I have to ensure the mix hasn’t dried and solidified into a hydrophillic mass.

    edit: hydrophobic and not hydrophyllic.

    aleous thanked Chris (6a in MA)
  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a

    Chris

    Maybe you mean hydrophobic? - I think so, and am asking because you said: ..."to ensure the mix hasn’t dried and solidified into a hydrophillic mass." ...Hydrophilicity is ability to absorb water, hydrophobicity is repelling of water (just my simple interpretation). So I believe yo meant hydrophobic mass.

    aleous

    What are approx. temps where plant is kept? Warmer it is, more watering is required. But plant shouldn't be overwatered, so the potting mix is also important.

    aleous thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Chris (6a in MA)

    Rina, you’re right. I get those two terms confused All the time.

    aleous thanked Chris (6a in MA)
  • Andrea ME z5b

    I agree, hydrophobic soil can be a problem, so make sure that the soil is thoroughly saturated when you water but also make sure you let all the excess drain away before putting the plant back into your cover pot. Also, I've found that when my succulents get so dry that they start to shrivel, it can take several days for them to plump up again, so don't overdo it, if you've gotten the soil nice and moist, just let it be.

    aleous thanked Andrea ME z5b
  • Elena

    Mine did this. I tried to water enough to get it to plump up, but I ended up rotting some of the roots. What worked for me was repotting it in a wide, shallow pot with cactus mix and extra pumice so I could water frequently without retaining water. I also put it under some LED grow lights. It's much happier now.

    aleous thanked Elena
  • aleous

    Thanks all! Maybe what I'll do is give it another good water, see if that works, and if it doesn't then follow Elena's suggestion and try repotting.

  • Brigids Armstrong

    I really wouldn’t water it anymore. I’d let it be for a few more days and make sure you’re not letting it sit in any wet soil.

    aleous thanked Brigids Armstrong
  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    Pls touch the soil w/ your fingers & feel around to see if it's hard to your touch at the base of the plant.

    I suspect it's very pot bound (root bound?) & the base of the plant at center of rootball is not getting the water. I've seen this before. Likely you can just lift it straight up & out of the pot to see. Does no harm at all & you can drop it right back into its pot.

    aleous thanked Karen S. (7b, NYC)
  • aleous

    Karen ---- you might be right! I pulled it gently from the pot, and the plant+root came out very easily. The soil around the root ball, as well the soil that stayed in the pot, were all bone dry. It was so dry that I don't think rot is the issue (would it be really obvious?) The soil appears to have a decent amount of sand in it (I did not repot it since buying from the nursery). Since all of the soil is dry, would you recommend giving it a deep soak to see if that helps?



  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a

    IMO, soil is the problem. Lots of sand that seems to be very fine looking at the photo, is impeding drainage. There could be lots of peat in that mix also, and together with sand, it creates problem. It is always recommended to repot newly purchased plant. It allows you to check the root system, pot plant in well draining potting mix, make sure there is no bugs.

    While sand may be compacting (as fine sand does), peat may have become hydrophobic. When that happens, it repels water. It hardens around roots. So regardless how much you water, it doesn't reach the roots. Hydrophobic peat and fine sand could be compacted creating cement-like mixture.

    Rather than watering such mix, it is usually much better to replace it. Very simple mix could be made by mixing Cactus & Succulent soil with perlite (or pumice - either one should be sifted to get rid of dust-like particles) in 1:1 ratio. Make sure you get that hardened soil off the roots completely. Shake off what you can, use your fingers to crumble off more, use a chopstick or skewer (or even fork!) to get it off. If some still left on roots, get a bowl of warm water and swish rootball in it. (Warm water helps to soften up hydrophobic peat.) After that, check the roots - get rid of any damaged and set the plant on paper towels to air dry. Prepare pot with drainage holes and new potting mix and pot the plant. If washing the roots, do not water immediately and pot into dry mix. Or let roots dry up bit longer (and callus if you pruned any) and plant could be watered after potting.

    BTW, rotting roots are obvious: they would be of blackish color, and they are usually soft/slimy.

    Sand is not recommended in potting mixtures unless it is coarse.

    aleous thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • aleous

    Wow thank you Rina --- that was really helpful! I really appreciate you sharing all of this information with me.

  • aleous

    Rina --- I did as you said and re-potted it in a mixture of cactus soil + perlite. That was about 5 days ago. Unfortunately I don't see any improvement. It doesn't look any worse, so I guess that's good. Any suggestions?





  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a

    aleous

    I am not sure what else to suggest. Hopefully, your plant needs just bit more time to recuperate.

    I do not keep plants in cachepots - maybe you should take it out and leave out for couple of weeks. Just to make sure air circulation is good. What temps is the plant in?

    In the meantime I would just make sure not to over water, but do not let it desicate either.

    aleous thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Karen S. (7b, NYC)

    I'm w/ Rina, I rarely use catch pots. Have you given it a thorough watering now after the new mix?

    Other than that, I agree, just give it some time.

    aleous thanked Karen S. (7b, NYC)
  • aleous

    thanks to the both of you! I think I will follow your suggestion of leaving it out of the pot to see if that helps. But you also raise an interesting point.... the temperature of the room is fine (my office at work, so it's probably 70 or so) but it's sitting on a ledge of a window that can be cold. Maybe I will relocate it farther from the window in case it's too chilly for it.


    thanks!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a

    I keep many haws on a windowsill, and it could be bit cold there since it is old window and leaky. I do not know if correct, but I read that haws grow well in colder night time temps. I seems to work for my haws, temps in that room is usually about 55F (approx. 12C) overnight, and is likely colder close to glass. I have other succulents on same windowsill, and they do not suffer from cooler temps. Some of them: few different echeverias and jades and haws, few cacti, and some more. Keeping succulents too warm indoors increases possibility of bugs - they generally like warmth. What would be problem? Watering plants too generously in cooler environment. JMO...

    I just measured temp of window glass in that room, it shows 48F (approx. 8.8C). It is 11:34am, and outside temps is 23F (approx. -5C); it was around 12F (-11C) overnight. Rest of the same room is showing 57-59F (approx. 14-15C). None of the plants are touching the glass, but are as close as possible to it. I used Mastercraft infrared thermometer - temps measuring gun (only $10 on sale). It seems to be quite accurate - I have checked readings with few different thermometers numerous times.

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