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9 Causes of Haworthia Turning Brown (And Solutions)

Even though Haworthia is a tough plant, it can get sick. A Haworthia becoming brown isn’t unusual, especially if it’s neglected or its care requirements aren’t met.

You need to identify the problem and make the required changes or treatments as early as possible.

The most common cause of Haworthia turning brown is sunburn and fungal diseases. Underwatering and root rot due to overwatering can also be the reason. Fertilizer burn and lack of nutrition can also be the potential cause of Haworthia leave turning brown. 

Haworthia turning brown is often an indication that the plant is going through some stresses. I’ll walk you through each of the causes and help you fix them as well. 

Haworthia Turning Brown
Haworthia Turning Brown

Leaf Burn and Drying Out

Sunburn is the most prevalent cause of brown Haworthia leaves, which you may be seen on other plants also. Haworthia may have developed brown patches on their leaves after being relocated to a more sunny area or during a recent heatwave.

Even though burnt leaves are unsightly, they do not pose a threat to the plant. It will take time for the scars to disappear, but the leaves will fall as new growth appears. Sunburn happens more frequently in young plants than it does in mature plants.

How not to Burn Haworthia

If the Haworthia plants begin to burn, relocate them or provide them with some shade. 

In order to prepare your plant for direct sunlight, gradually increase the amount of light it receives over a period of time. 

During a prolonged heatwave, even mature plants that are acclimated to the full sun may suffer from sunburn.

If a heatwave is forecasted, relocate your Haworthia or provide shade. You should keep your young or repotted Haworthia away from direct sunlight or plant parts that are in the process of propagation. If they are not shaded, they will become burnt.

Although other factors might cause leaf darkening on succulent plants, the most prevalent cause of brown leaves on Haworthia is solar damage. 

While the majority of them are straightforward to manage, there are a few that are more complicated.

Fungal Diseases Cause Brown Leaves on Howorthia

Haworthias are more susceptible to fungus diseases than most indoor plants, mainly due to the fact that their leaves retain moisture for longer periods of time. 

If you change the way you water your Haworthia, it will become more susceptible to fungus. 

Among the most frequent fungal diseases that affect plants, southern blight and rust are the most common.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew shows as dusty-looking flecks or patches in light grey or white. Normal ones are circular and fluffy, with a small rise. If you find the particular dots on top of the leaves then consider it as a warning sign.

Powdery mildew infestations make plants look like they’ve been sprinkled with powdered sugar or sifted with flour. 

The infected leaves will slowly turn yellow and then brown. Powdery mildew is easy to recognize in its many forms once you learn about it.

Powdery mildew rarely kills Haworthia! This does not mean you should ignore it. Some tiny spots won’t hurt the host plant at first, but they can spread spores to other plants or remain in the garden soil. 

The fungus feeds on the plant’s nutrients, stunting its growth and decreasing its yields.

It can stop photosynthesis if powdery mildew coats your Haworthia leaves. Similar to starving the plant slowly. A stressed Haworthia is more susceptible to various diseases and pests.

Solution

  • Cut diseased leaves: If powdery mildew is found early enough, cutting off a few infected leaves can typically stop or dramatically slow its development.
  • Neem Oil Spray: It appears to inhibit the spread of powdery mildew, but does not fully eliminate it. Dilute neem oil before use. Because it is an oil, you must add dish soap or Castile soap to combine evenly.
  • Copper Fungicide: Copper-based fungicides may help fight powdery mildew. If your Haworthia is affected, use fungicides immediately and repeat every 7–10 days.
  • Sulfur: To manage powdery mildew, sulfur is a traditional fungicide, but it must be used preventively before symptoms appear. It can be sprayed on vulnerable plants to avoid infection.
  • Baking Soda: If you mix with liquid soap and water, baking soda can be a potent powdery mildew cure. You can use this as a preventive measure rather than treatment.  Mix up 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon liquid non-detergent soap, 1-gallon water, and spray on your Haworthia. 

Rust

Rust is a fungal disease that damages a variety of plants, including succulents like Haworthia. Plants that have been affected are often mature in nature. 

You will find white raised spots beneath the leaves or around the stems of Haworthia. As the infection progresses, white spots turn orange-brown and ultimately black.

Southern Blight

It is often referred to as southern wilt or southern root rot. The fungus Sclerotium rolfsii is responsible for its development. If your Haworthia gets southern blight, it will be droopy and have brown patches on it. 

If left untreated, the leaves will be yellow and turn pale brown. It can be fatal for you Haworthia when it infects the root system.

Solution

The first thing you should do is ensuring sanitation. Keeping the plant pot and surrounding clean prevent disease transmission.  Move your Haworthia away from the rest of the plants.

As this is a soil-born disease you need to sterilize the soil with solar heat. A microwave oven is an effective and quick way of sterilizing the soil. 

Botrytis blight

Botrytis blight is characterized by brown dots on leaves and buds, as well as black spots on flower petals, which are prominent early indicators of the disease. 

The leaves rot as the disease develops, and patches of fuzzy, grayish mold appear in the affected areas.

Botrytis blight is a fungal infection that manifests symptoms of the underlying disease as well as the offending fungus. 

A mound of dust-like gray fungal spores forms on the surface of dead and rotting plant tissue. These spores are easily visible.

Solution

Once active, botrytis blight is difficult to control.  You must take action quickly to avoid further damage. 

This disease typically infects Haworthia through minor wounds and spreads swiftly once initiated. 

Early fungicide application can help prevent botrytis blight infections and slow disease spread.

Improper Watering

As Haworthia is a kind of succulent, it does not need a lot of water to survive. You should only water when the topsoil layer feels dry. It is possible that you will go a month without watering yourHaworthia. 

In some cases, over-watering might result in brown and mushy Haworthia leaves. The plant may be harmed throughout, from the leaves to the roots.

Brown patches appear on Haworthia leaves when they absorb an excessive amount of water, causing their cells to become oversaturated and rupture. The black patches on leaves may also indicate that a plant has been soaked in too much water.

Splotches in the center of your Haworthia leaves typically indicate that the plant has been overwatered, while browning around the margins of the leaves typically indicates that the plant has been underwatered.

Underwatered Haworthia
Underwatered-Haworthia

Solution

In order to avoid this, only add water when the top 1-2 inches of soil is completely dry.

Pay special attention to soil moisture during the fall and winter months. Because Haworthia does not grow well in the cold, less water is required to maintain its health. Watering should be done less regularly in the winter than in the summer.

Watering your plant on a regular basis will keep it healthy. But be careful not to overdo it, or the leaves will turn yellow or fall off completely. Excessive watering can be detrimental to the foliage.

Root Rot

In most cases, brown leaves of Haworthia are caused by a fungal infection triggered by an excess of moisture in the roots.

Overwatering and inadequate drainage are the primary causes of root rot. Haworthia roots must be allowed to dry out between waterings in order to function properly. 

After becoming infected with a fungal disease, the leaves turn dark and eventually fall off. Remove the pot and examine the roots to see if there is any root rot present. 

Waterlogging or inadequate drainage are the most common causes of brown spots on the leaves of Haworthia.

The condition could be exacerbated by a lack of natural light. A large pot can keep your plant’s roots moist between waterings, which would be helpful.

 Haworthia Root Rot
Haworthia Root Rot

Solution

  • If you can detect root rot early enough, it is usually treatable. Because root rot is typically caused by poor drainage, it is important to address the problem as soon as possible.
  • Water less frequently and use a well-draining container and fast-draining potting soil to ensure that your plants thrive.
  • After that, determine the extent of the damage. If your Haworthia’s leaves have only a few brown spots on them, there is no need to repot them. 
  • Allow at least two weeks for your plant to dry out completely to allow the roots to recuperate. Make certain that your Haworthia receives enough sunlight.
  • If you are not sure if the roots of your Haworthia are wet or not, you can use a moisture meter. 
  • Also, If the damage is severe or spreading rapidly, root trimming and repotting will be required to remedy the situation.
  • Take your plant out of its pot and give it a good rinse of water. Remove any mushy roots that may have formed. 
  • Replace the soil in the pot with a fast-draining house plant soil such as this. Continue to water correctly in order to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

Lack of Nutrition

Iron (Fe) and manganese are essential for chlorophyll production. If your Haworthia lacking these nutrients there will be less chlorophyll and consequently less food production.

Less chlorophyll will lead to physiological disorders like chlorosis and browning of your Haworthia leaves.

If none of the above explanations work for you, your Haworthia may require extra nutrients. Lack of nutrients causes Haworthia leaves to turn brown. 

Adding fertilizer will help your Haworthia to fix the problem. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are the three most important nutrients in the fertilizer. Every year, two to three applications should be sufficient.

Your Haworthia goes dormant during fall and winter, all the physiological activities slow down. So during this period, you should avoid adding any kind of fertilizer.  

During the spring and summer seasons, begin applying fertilizer at an 8-10-week interval. You can opt for a kind of succulent food (amazon link) and apply it mixing with water.

Edema or Oedema

Edema (oedema) is a physiological problem that occurs commonly due to overwatering. If your Haworthia intakes too much water that it can handle then the leaves develop brown blisters or crystal-like growth on leaves. This occurs in the summertime as during this period overwatering mistake occurs. 

It is important to remember that this is neither a fungal nor a bacterial infection. As a result, your other plant is not adversely affected.

The blisters will turn brown and severely affected leaves are vulnerable to diseases and pests. The brown spots on haworthia will look like they are caused by spider mites or thrips. 

Solution

Although mildly damaged haworthia can be saved from edema, if it is seriously affected, it may be best to leave the diseased leaves entirely. Because the brown lesions on the plant will not heal, it is not worth your time and effort to try to rescue it.

  • Here are the suggestions to manage the Edema on Haworthia:
  • Choose a well-draining succulent soil.
  • Place the plant pot in a well-lit area.
  • As haworthia grows slowly, do not overfertilize it.
  • Maintain a moderate humidity level.

Low Humidity

In extremely low humidity, plants tend to lose more water through the transpiration process. There will not be enough water to keep the cells thriving. Eventually, if the leaves lose too much water then they will wither and turn brown.

Solution

You can gauge the humidity level with a humidity meter available on amazon. Now, if you are living in low humid conditions then you need to increase the humidity level to a moderate level of 50-60%. 

Using a pebble tray to increase humidity is easy to do if you do not have access to a humidifier.

Insect Infestation

Haworthias are well-known for their ability to grow without being bothered by pests. Mealybugs and spider mites are possible, but they are quite rare. 

Those sap-sucking insects cause the leaves to turn brown. 

Solution

If your Howorthia is infested with mealybugs or spider mites then you can remove them manually or spray neem oil mixing with water. Neem oil works great against those sap-sucking pests. 

Fertilizer Burn

Overfertilizing plants might cause your haworthia to burn. Fertilizers contain high amounts of different salts that might dehydrate roots which is a process called Reverse osmosis. 

Reverse osmosis occurs when the soil salt level surpasses the plant’s salt level, causing chemical burns and dehydration.

The most serious damage occurs in the roots, where the dirt is. Salt in fertilizers can burn roots and hinder water absorption. A plant that cannot absorb water is doomed!

Here are some signs that may cause due to over-fertilization:

  • A layer of fertilizer crust the soil’s surface.
  • Tip of the leaves and sometimes edges will show burnt symptoms.
  • Yellowing Leaves
  • Burnt roots will turn dark.
  • Haworthia will grow extremely slow.

Solution

Now,  if you found the above-mentioned symptoms, probably you’ve overfed your haworthia. But you can fix this and here is how:

Scrap away the excess fertilizer from the surface of the soil. I recommend removing 2-3 inches of soil from the top of the pot. This will save your plant from further stress. 

After that remove the brown or burnt leaves because you can not revive them. 

Flash out the extra fertilizer from the potting soil with a rinse of freshwater. 

Do not fertilize within the next one month. After this, your plant should recover eventually.

Final Words

I hope this article has helped you understand the causes and solutions of Haworthia leaves turning brown.

Inspect the plant carefully and try to identify the problem and solution following this article. Your Haworthia will perk and again.