I think my succulent hit puberty (plantfilter)
December 7, 2017 5:18 AM   Subscribe

I bought a haworthia about a year ago, when it first looked like this round, happy thing. It now is taller, but looks like this instead.

I miss my tiny, rotund plant; is this just how haworthia retusas grow? Or is there an obvious thing I'm missing? The leaves look sunken in, but they're still growing taller and more plentiful, and there's no obvious discolorations, except for old leaves on the side.

So, it's not dead. But dang it I really miss the round leaves.
posted by lesser weasel to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The change in habit is due to a change in condition. In a dry, high light environment, the leaves form compact rosettes and stay as full of water as they can.

As water is more plentiful and light less so, you get what you got: less storage of water and larger height/width ratio. Note the leaves also have more cross sectional circumference to area, that also helps it do better in lower light.

It will never fully go back, but it will eventually look like a bigger version of its past self if you can give it more light and less water. Likely this will mean supplemental light, assuming it winters indoors.

You are right it’s totally healthy for now, though if you give it less light and more water it could go south pretty fast.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:23 AM on December 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Perfect, thank you! I've been searching for answers off and on for months, and Google has never quite turned up anything relevant.

I'll cut back my watering even more than I already am to see if it goes into fat-and-happy drought mode. Are there visible signs that I should water it? I usually go by tactile touch for my other (flat-leaf) plants to tell when they're getting thirsty, but I haven't quite figured out the haworthia.
posted by lesser weasel at 5:43 PM on December 7, 2017

Best answer: Cutting back watering isn't going to be enough; it is etiolated. Haworthias can sort of wrinkle up when very thirsty, but if your plant is in high light and a well-draining soil that doesn't stay wet for long, I'd water it once every two weeks in the summer (watering enough so that excess water comes out the bottom to wash any salt/mineral deposits out) and once every month or so in the winter. If it is not in high light (which it's not been as evidenced by the etiolation) or in water-retaining soil, fix those issues first. I can't tell if your yellow pot has a hole in it or not, but if it doesn't, when you water it and excess runs out the bottom you should drain it out so it doesn't just sit in water.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:06 PM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I recently remembered I had asked this question, and I wanted to give an update after having moved it to a location with better light. Thank you again! I always enjoy seeing my plants perk up. :)
posted by lesser weasel at 4:38 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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