How Do I Save My Haworthia From Root Rot?

Haworthias are designed to handle hot and drought-like conditions. However, this means they tend not to do very well when they get too wet. Overwatering can cause roots to fall off, leaves to die, and even root rot. 

To save your Haworthia from root rot, cut off damaged stems, leaves, and roots before repotting in new soil and use a fungicide to prevent the fungus from attacking your plant again. 

If you want to know more about root rot and the resilience of your Haworthia, keep reading below. We will also cover how to save your plant, even when there are no roots left and only a leaf or two that wasn’t infected. 

How Do I Revive Haworthia?

To save your Haworthia from root rot, you have to move quickly. The first step is to take the plant out of the pot it is in and remove as much of the extra dirt as you can. You will want to be careful when moving it, as many leaves, stems, and roots will be fragile. 

Then, you will want to use sterilized cutting tools to remove the damaged roots. Like the leaves and stems, the roots will be swollen, mushy, brown, or black. Leave any completely healthy roots. To be on the safe side, remove any roots that are questionable as well. 

A fungus causes root rot, so eliminating where the fungus is growing is key. This means that if you don’t remove all of the damaged roots and stems, it might still follow your plant as you move it to a new pot and reduce your watering. 

Then you will want to find a new pot. You can use this opportunity to give your plant a new pot that is a bit bigger if you wish to, but the important thing is that it has proper drainage on the bottom. This will prevent it from staying too wet and causing root rot again. 

To be safe, you can spray your plant, new soil, and new pot with fungicide. Just read the instructions on the bottle, as they are all a little different. 

Then, replant the plant into the new pot with fresh soil. You will want to water your plant lightly to help it adjust to its new location, but make sure not to give it too much. 

Then keep an eye on your plant, and make sure the root rot isn’t still growing. Your plant should begin to grow new stems and leaves and look healthier overall. 

How Do You Save a Haworthia Without Roots?

Haworthia Plant
Succulents can survive many conditions, even losing all of their roots. If all of your roots were rotted from root rot, but you still have some healthy leaves and stems, your plant has a chance to survive. 

Simply leave your plant set on top of the soil or somewhere it can dry out. If the lack of roots was caused by root rot, we don’t recommend using water to propagate it, as that might further the rot. 

After it dries, trim off any areas still harmed by root rot. Let the open cuts callous over before planting into the soil. Don’t plant it deep. Eventually, you should start seeing new plant growth, but be patient. Some owners have said it’s taken them up to three months to see anything growing. 

As long as your plant seems to be still green (or whatever color it originally was) and healthy, it is still growing and getting proper nutrients. 

How to Save Overwatered Haworthia?

To save an overwatered Haworthia, it is important to let the plant dry out completely. If you don’t see any signs of root rot, you just have to let it dry completely before watering again. Succulents do well in drought conditions, so if you are unsure if it is time to water again, you can always wait an extra day or two. 

Usually, you want the top 2 inches (5 cm) of your soil to be completely dry. Though you can start to learn a schedule for your plant and get a general idea of how long it can go without water, we recommend checking the soil before watering, as they might not grow as much in certain seasons, like winter. 

Why Did My Haworthia Roots Fall Off?

There are two main reasons why Haworthia roots will start to fall off. The first is overwatering. If the roots are soaked in water to the point they cannot breathe, they will rot and die off. 

The best way to prevent overwatering is to ensure the soil is dry at least 2 or 3 inches down (5 to 7 cm). As long as your pot and soil drain well, you don’t have to worry about how much you water the plant, it will dispose of the extra water, and you just have to wait for the soil to dry.  

The other reason is soil mixture. Without the right kind of soil, Haworthia will not be able to root and gain the nutrients as it should, and the roots will start to fall off over time. 

Though they are succulents, they don’t do best in the standard succulent mixes you can buy at most stores. Instead, you want to find or make soil with plenty of aeration. They don’t do well with loamy soil or fine sand. 

Besides these two main reasons, there are other reasons why your roots might begin to fall off. Things like diseases and pests can cause root loss. Also, Haworthia has an issue known as clustering. Clustering is when Haworthia grows into a large group of plants, and the new roots start to wrap around the main roots. 

What Does a Rotting Succulent Look Like?

Wilted haworthia
Depending on the severity of the rotting succulent, you may have different symptoms. Usually, the most noticeable sign that pops up is rotting leaves at the bottom of the plant. The leaves will often be black, brown, and mushy. As the plant worsens, the rot will climb up from the base and move around.

Leaves will also start to fall off. As the stem loses its rigidity, it will also begin to fall over as it doesn’t have the strength to support itself or the leaves on it anymore. 

Is Root Rot Contagious?

Root rot is contagious, unfortunately. A fungus causes root rot, which uses airborne spores to spread. These spores can be moved by the wind, insects, and even dirty gardening tools.

That is why, when cutting roots and stems infected with root rot; you must sterilize them after every cutting to prevent the spread. 

To also help reduce the spread, make sure you aren’t overwatering any of your other plants, and make sure your soil is draining properly, so there isn’t as much of an ideal condition for the fungus. 

Can You Reverse Root Rot in Succulents?

While you can stop the problem from worsening, you can’t reverse root rot in succulents. Succulents need water to keep their cell walls rigid, allowing them to stand tall. 

You may have noticed that it begins to wilt and shrivel if you’ve gone a long time without watering your succulent. 

Overwatering, and root rot, do the opposite. The plant is getting so much water that the cell walls are bursting and losing rigidity. Once these cell walls break open, there is no repairing them. 

This means that any stem or leaf that is brown and mushy will stay that way until it dies. It is usually best to cut these parts off to allow the plant to focus on new growth. 

However, if you catch root rot while the stem and most of the leaves are still healthy, you can prevent any other leaves from suffering from burst cells. 

Can Succulents Regrow Roots?

Succulents can regrow their roots fairly easily. Even if all you have left is one healthy leaf, with the proper care, it can create roots from the bottom of the leaf and form a new, healthy plant. 

Simply let the bottom form a callous and dry out a bit before you place it into soil or water. Place the leaf on top with the calloused edge pressed into the ground or shallow water. Eventually, the leaf will begin to grow roots and wither. Withering is expected, as the energy is all going towards growing new leaves.


Haworthias are sturdy succulents that can handle hot and dry conditions without a problem. However, when it comes to wet soil, they tend not to do so well. If they are overwatered, you can risk bursting the cell wall that allows the plant to stand upright or even make an ideal condition for the fungus that causes root rot. 

To save your Haworthia from root rot, you need to prevent the fungus from spreading by cutting off damaged stems, leaves, and roots before repotting and providing new, healthier soil with a fungicide to prevent the fungus from attacking your plant again. 

Thankfully, if caught early enough, a simple cutting and repotting (with some fungicide) can easily bring your plant back to life. Even if it wasn’t caught until late, these plants are strong and resilient enough to grow back from a single healthy leaf if given enough time.