Watering

Published on 2017/10/26 (Last updated on 2018/02/11)

The golden rule for watering Haworthias during their growing season is to wait until the growing medium around the roots is dry before re-watering. Spring and autumn are the two peak periods of the growth of Haworthias. Fertilization and adjusting water pH are also important considerations in every watering.

A watering can with a narrow spout gives more control of water
A watering can with a narrow spout gives more control of water

Timing

Haworthias start growing in autumn and slows down during the coldest part of winter (when the daytime temperature is below 7 ºC) and pick up growth rate again during the early part of spring before shutting down for dormancy during summer (when the night-time temperature is above 33 ºC). A shriveled plant during the growing season is a sign that it needs water. A shriveled plant during the dormant and slowing down season is a sign of resting and the watering should be reduced even stopped.

The best time of day to water is early morning during cold days, and late afternoon or evening during hot days. This maintains a moderate temperature (15~25 ºC) for several hours after watering so that the excess water in the growing medium can mostly evaporate. A low temperature slows down evaporation, and a high temperature increases the chance of pathogens infection. They both can lead to root rot.

When to Re-Water?

Experienced growers can tell this from the weights of containers with plants. A beginner’s method is to fill a container with the growing medium, and when needed, dig the growing medium from deep and check its moisture level.

An container without plan, for checking the moisture level of the growing medium
An container without plan, for checking the moisture level of the growing medium

Method

With a well-drained growing medium, water the plant from the top down until ~20% of water applied exits the drain. This process of flushing prevents salts carried by fertilizers and water from accumulating in the growing medium. The accumulate salts cause difficult for the plants to absorb water and the nutrients. For the same reason, the bottom-up ‘soaking’ approach is less efficient at taking salts away and therefore less ideal.

It is often fine for damping plants during watering. However, in some areas, tap water can contain high mineral content and leave water stains on the leaves of a Haworthia. A solution is to use rainwater, distilled water or filtered water (for example, reverse osmosis water). Water softeners are not recommended because they often contain sodium chloride and cause the accumulation of salts.