Haworthia is getting old
by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY, U.S.)
I've had this Haworthia attenuata for years now. It was probably the first succulent that I was gifted. Anyway, I was just wondering what, if anything, I should do with it.
As you can see, it has gotten quite tall (albeit lying down) and has developed several offsets (which took years to finally appear). The tall portion has been burned previously, I no longer open the sheers in that room, and I also wasn't sure how big the main part of it would get, it's quite large now.
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Ahh, Haworthia - I love these guys, but when they look like yours, it's time for some drastic action!
First of all, I would take the whole thing out of the pot and see what you have.
Gently shake off the soil, and you'll see that the roots if healthy are a pale yellowish colour, but if they're rotten, they will be shriveled and brown.
Cut off any that are really rotten, or obviously dead.
Pull apart the crown of the plant - by the looks of it, you have one really old rosette, and several that have potential.
Separate them so you have one rosette per pot and repot them.
This is important: don't water them!
The roots will rot if you have just done surgery, and then water them, so leave them in dry potting soil (with extra pumice or perlite or small gravel if you have it) and even when they look very sad and shrivel up, wait another couple of days.
This forces them to completely callous, and then the roots will emerge.
In a week or two, you can gently tug on the top part, and see if it's rooted.
Alternatively, simply cut the tall leggy piece off, and allow the other smaller 'pups' to grow as a clump.
Haworthia really prefer a small pot, so even if the plant looks top heavy, leave it to get really good and rootbound.
I use terracotta clay pots due to this, as plastic pots will fall over with the weight of the plant.
See the page on succulent soil for more on potting soils.