Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The gift that keeps on giving: A Haworthia story (23 pics)

Winter is over! Warm and sunny days are coming and I can't wait to watch the plants grow. The weather is still being funky - we've had snow and -2°C on Sunday and +15°C with some sun/rain combination yesterday - but most of the lithops are watered and conophytums are sleeping and things on the windowsill are starting to change for the better. Well, except for the mealy bugs. Still need to deal with those...

I've been thinking what story to tell you and decided that something positive and uplifting would be best for the start of the season. I need some cheering up myself and this is what makes me smile these days. If you follow me on Twitter, you might know this story already. It's fun to tell it in detail though :)

Last year, when I was seriously getting into Adromischus, I also started growing more of the Haworthias. These plants can get rather large so I can't grow many. After browsing through those beautiful pictures online, how can you resist? Several plants have found their way to my home. Amongst them, a Haworthia splendens, you know, the fancy Japanese kind, with fat chocolaty leaves and everything. I was quite proud to call it my own but even before I could brag about it it just rotted away in what feels like a day. It turned into a nasty stinking mush without so much as a warning. Tough luck.

I was still hoping to save some of it so I kept pulling of leaves and cutting it to get to the healthy tissue until all what was left were two small half-leaves. I stuck them into pumice and left them alone. This was last May. 



A couple of months passed and contrary to expectations the leaves neither rotted nor dried up. They just shriveled a little and looked like this in August. 

And then, in September, things started happening! Those are new roots. How exciting is that?

And it gets better! Although it still takes several more months until then.

Last November the leaves finally started pushing new growth. 

And check out those roots!

By January I could already separate one of the baby-plants from the mother-leaf.

(This one kinda grows from the backside of the leaf because why not?)

In March, with a bit of sunlight, the chocolaty color started coming out, too. Along with the leaf pattern and texture.

Every little plant comes with its own fully developed root.

And the thing is, after I started separating bigger plant-babies, the leaves kept growing new ones. I already have five of them and they just keep coming!  I'm very excited to watch them grow and will let you know the final count :D


  1. A wonderful story and a testament to your skill and your patience. Your knowledge and experience to clean and save only healthy tissue was the key. Of course we have to give the plants some credit because what kept them going until root development occurred was the water stored in those fleshy, succulent leaves. One question, what was your moisture management of the pots the leaf cuttings were in? Did you keep them completely dry until new root formation, or did you water occasionally? I wonder if a slight bit of moisture in the pumice encourages root development, or would the roots form also if the cuttings were kept in a protected location without even potting them. I have some offsets from a Gasteraloe plants that had no roots. I have kept them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel under fluorescent lights (no sun) and they are developing roots even though they are not potted in any type of substrate. Theoretically, the substrate would play no role until roots began to develop. It looks as though you are going to have some very nice haworthia from those cuttings. The new shiny leaves are very pretty. There's a whole beautiful new world with haworthias. :) I am currently pollinating some of my haworthias, primarily H. koelmaniorum and H. limifolia f. striata. Hope to get a few fruits. We'll see. Thanks for an interesting post and great photos. Hope the rest of the week and the upcoming weekend are full of fun and enjoyment for you. :)) Bob

    1. Thank you Bob! I'm really surprised that it worked at all. Sometimes not giving up on plants is really worth it.

      I don't think keeping them in substrate is strictly necessary. It just makes the moist environment creation easier. I have been watering the pot with rootless leaves regularly. Your method seems much more professional :)

      I'm very excited! Hopefully by the end of the year the plants will have an adult appearance. The leaves are indeed very pretty :)

      Thanks again! And Happy Easter!