Watering

written on Oct 25, 2017 and last revisited on Aug 20, 2018

Watering is the most difficult skill to master for growing Haworthias. Watering at a bad timing can damage or even kill a plant due to rot. Weather conditions, especially temperatures, should be the main considerations to decide when to water and how much to supply.

A watering can with a narrow spout gives a better control of water direction.
A watering can with a narrow spout gives a better control of water direction.

In Mild Weather (Spring and Fall)

The growth speed of Haworthias is largely impacted by temperatures. In spring and fall, when they are actively growing in moderate temperatures, they can be watered immediately when the growing medium around the roots approaches dryness. And the best time of a day to water is late afternoon or evening.

How to Measure the Humidity of Growing Medium?

A precise yet simple way is to pick several plants for each container size, weigh them when the growing mediums are dry and record in labels. After watering, the remaining water in the growing medium can then be measured by the weight difference. Repeat this weighing process several times can further improve the accuracy.

When watering, thoroughly wet the growing medium and stop after 10~20% of the water applied exits the drain. This flushes any accumulated salts and metabolites away from the growing medium. Such accumulations can inhibit water and nutrient uptakes of plants. The bottom-up ‘soaking’ approach is not recommended because it is less efficient at taking away accumulations.

It is important to check weather forecast before watering. When expecting an extreme weather, the water regime should be adjusted beforehand (see the below section).

The container weight when the growing medium can be used for inferring the humidity of the growing medium.
The container weight when the growing medium can be used for inferring the humidity of the growing medium.

In Hot and Cold Weather (Summer and Winter)

Haworthias slow down and even stop their growth in high or low temperatures. They not only reduce the water uptake but also become more susceptible to infections. Excess water in a growing medium can lead to rot more easily, and is especially dangerous when hot, as pathogens and fungus are more active.

In winter, water only when the next ~7 days are relatively warm and dry, often at the beginning of a series of sunny days. Water at early morning so that excess water can be evaporated during the day. Only wet a part of the growing medium in a container and let capillary action spread the moisture.

In summer, water when the next ~7 days are relatively cool and dry. Water at late night after the temperature drops below 24 ºC so that excess water will be gone before the temperature raises at the next day. Pay attention to not let too much water reside in the center of a plant, otherwise the plant is likely to suffer from rotting.

A general rule is that always check weather forecast and when in doubt, don’t water. A Haworthia can live without water supply for many months but can die in one day because of rot.