Rooting

written on Jul 27, 2018 and last revisited on Aug 05, 2018

Haworthias are relatively easy to root with proper care especially during the early stage. A mild weather over the next ~3 weeks after rooting is essential. A too high or too low temperature reduces plant activities. This not only slows down rooting but also lowers the resistance to pathogen infections which may cause rot.

Before rooting, remove any dead roots and fine roots. They won’t survive and merely become potential causes of rotting. If a plant has wounds, make sure that calluses have developed.

A Haworthia with its underground stem trimmed
A Haworthia with its underground stem trimmed

If a plant has a long underground stem, it can be trimmed to make more rooms for new roots. This also prevents the whole plant from being affected if the underground stem rots later. The downside is that this will make a big wound and the plant needs to take extra time to recover.

Moisture in the root zone is the main trigger of rooting. On the other hand, excess water also increases the chance of rotting. Therefore for rooting mediums, moisture retentive components like sphagnum peat moss are excellent choices because they need less frequent water supplies.

Unrooted plants in peat moss, being grown under grow lights in order to keep a cool temperature.
Unrooted plants in peat moss, being grown under grow lights in order to keep a cool temperature.

Rinsing Peat Moss

Peat moss often contains undesired colloids and dust which tend to compact and make roots difficult to breathe. To remove them, soak the peat moss in water thoroughly and keep for ~1 day. The colloids and dust will precipitate and the fibers will float on the top. Take out the fibers, squeeze the remaining water and let dry completely. When dry, the fibers will form particles of different sizes, from fines to larger clumps. They have a good balance between water retention and aeration.

A rooted Haworthia that is ready to be moved to the growing medium
A rooted Haworthia that is ready to be moved to the growing medium

The plant should be kept in a cool and shaded place during the whole rooting process. This helps the plant establish roots faster because a strong sunlight moves auxins to the top part of a plant and slows down the root growth. Don’t water for the next ~1 week. After that when watering, only supply a small amount at just one side or one edge of the container and only wet a part of the medium. Rewater only when the medium is approaching dryness. Every 2~3 weeks, take the plant out and check if it puts down new roots. If yes, remove the rooting medium and transfer the plant to the growing medium. Again, don’t water for the next ~1 week. After that, gradually increase the water supply and the light intensity.