The only thing better than a Haworthia is a slew of them! As they age, these fast-growing succulents produce pups, and it’s super easy to propagate that pleasant surprise into a new plant. You don’t need a good set of roots on the pup to get them going.
If a rootless Haworthia pup is given time to callus before being planted in a suitable potting blend, it will quickly establish roots and begin reproducing. Keep them in a well-lit place and give them just the proper water to grow a new root system promptly.
Why Haworthia Has No Roots
A Haworthia pup without roots has probably lost them because it was hurt, got sick, or was not cared for well.
It’s not unusual for Haworthia pups to die after a rough re-potting. After all, they want to get away from their parent! They may also lose their roots when separated from their parent plant.
Haworthias require dry, well-drained soil. An abundance of water close to the roots will push out any air in the soil and eventually drown the whole system, causing them to die off. They’ll rot and fall off once they’re dead.
A Haworthia will let its roots die if the soil is too dry. Likewise, the root system will dry out and break off entirely if kept in very hot or sunny conditions.
How Long Does Haworthia Take To Root?
A Haworthia can grow new roots in as little as two weeks if kept warm, well-lit, and adequately watered. A month is more typical.
Cold weather slows the process, and poor lighting will make you wait even longer. It’s best to put off propagation until spring or summer if possible, as doing so in the winter can take up to three months.
How To Root Haworthia Pups With No Roots
To root a Haworthia pup, take advantage of how eager succulents are to propagate and provide them with the nutrients they require to thrive.
If the pups are given good potting soil, adequate water levels, and adequate light, they will quickly begin to grow their roots.
Will An Haworthia Root In Water?
Succulents do not root as easily in water as in soil, so I do not recommend rooting them in water. They are also so fleshy and damp that the pup can rot away before roots can form.
This is particularly true of the softer Haworthias, such as H. truncata and H. retusa. Succulent or cactus soil is always a better choice.
However, if you’re in a pinch and only have water to root your pups (for example, if a pot has fallen from a window or you’re treating root rot in the parent plant), you can always give it a shot.
Use clean, filtered water and a small enough vessel to keep the pup above the surface. Keep the leaves away from the water to avoid becoming too saturated.
Place the pup in the vessel in a warm, well-lit location. Avoid direct sunlight, which can overheat the water and cook the poor pup.
As the roots grow, I recommend checking in regularly and changing the water weekly.
Why Is My Haworthia Not Rooting?
Poor care practices usually cause failure to root, so if you’re having trouble getting the Haworthia pup to root, consider how they’re being grown.
Haworthia prefers bright light, including direct sunlight in the mornings and afternoons. However, pups are more fragile, so while lots of light is good, direct sun should be avoided.
Another thing to look at is the temperature. Your new Haworthia pups are babies; like all babies, they like to be kept warm. So keep them at 75 – 90°F (24 – 30°C).
How to Propagate Haworthia Offshoots (Step by Step)
Step 1: Find your pups
Begin by locating the puppies. The pup will be clustered at the bottom of the plant in the spikier varieties of Haworthia and will be easy to spot.
However, it’s easy to confuse the pup for an undersized leaf or shoot of the parent in the more spread-out, glassy varieties.
The pup will be a different plant from the parent, regardless of the type. For example, the little cluster is a pup if the central stem does not connect to the parent.
Step 2: Separate the Haworthia pups
Next, the pup is taken from the parent plant. Haworthias are such compact growers that you may need to un-pot the whole thing.
Don’t worry; the parent plant is tough as nails and will barely notice the humiliation.
If you’re rescuing pups from a sick or damaged plant, be careful not to take any diseased roots with you. Discard any that are discolored or damaged.
Step 3: Allow the pup to Callus
Place the pups in a cool, well-shaded location for 2-3 days. Keep it out of the sun, avoid watering it, and let it dry.
When propagating a rootless Haworthia pup, this is the most critical step. First, the plant’s soft, wet end must be allowed to dry and develop a layer of tough skin known as a callus.
This is where new roots will sprout; without them, everything will rot away.
Step 4: Pick an appropriate pot
Now comes the exciting part: selecting a pot! Haworthia remains small, so it is best to start small as well. To begin, a shallow pot (Amazon link) no more than a few inches across is ideal.
Material is equally essential. Terracotta is an excellent choice for Haworthia because it absorbs moisture from the soil and protects it from over-watering. Unglazed ceramic and stone are also acceptable.
Check that the pot has enough drainage holes – terracotta pots often only have one for structural reasons, so make sure it’s a good size and well placed.
Other materials, particularly plastic, should have three or more drainage holes.
Step 5: Prepare the potting soil.
Haworthia thrives in a dry, free-draining medium. I like to make my own by combining one-half good quality potting soil and one-half coarse sand with a sprinkling of gravel for texture.
This provides adequate stability and nutrition while preventing waterlogging of the roots.
If you don’t want to make your own, a good quality commercial cactus and succulent mix (Amazon link) will suffice.
Step 6: Plant the pup
It’s time to pot once the Haworthia pup has callused!
Fill the pot halfway with growing medium and keep it damp. Place the puppy gently into the soil, no deeper than a quarter-inch. A chopstick or Popsicle stick can be used as a stake to keep them stable.
Don’t try to plant them too deeply. They only require a deep enough planting to keep the callus and incoming roots beneath the soil. If there is too much below the surface, the lot may decompose.
Step 7: Encourage new roots with good care.
Now it’s just a matter of watching the little Haworthia grow roots.
Keep your growing baby out of direct sunlight, regardless of the variety.
While many adult Haworthias benefit from a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning or afternoon, the tiny pup is still developing and much more vulnerable. The best lighting is bright, indirect light.
You must also keep the little Haworthia hydrated. As those roots grow, the potting soil must remain gently moist – the moisture level is what stimulates their growth in the first place.
In the early morning, I spray a gentle haze of clean water over the Haworthia pups with a plant mister. This will keep the moist soil while also increasing the local humidity.
How Do I Know If My Haworthia Has Root Rot?
Root rot in a succulent like Haworthia is easy to spot because it quickly progresses to leaf and stem rot. Keep an eye out for
- Soft, brown leaves
- Squishy stems
- Foul smells coming from the soil
- Roots that are black or brown.
- Roots that disintegrate when touched.
If you catch it early enough, you can remove the sick roots and help the adult plant grow new shoots like the above.
If the rot has spread from the roots into the body of the Haworthia, all that needs to be done is to remove the unhealthy upper half of the plant and start new ones from the roots.
All Haworthias are actual survivors, and it won’t be long before they regain their former vigor.