Why is My Haworthia Turning Brown: Causes + How To Fix

Why is My Haworthia Turning Brown

The Zebra plant, or Haworthia, is a beautiful succulent with a unique appearance grown by many of us at home. Unfortunately, several Haworthia plants turn brown over time due to poor care. Don’t worry if your Haworthia has also started to turn brown – you can save it with the help of the following article.

As a general rule, what causes Haworthia to turn brown is often linked to improper care practices that can stress these resilient succulent plants. Overwatering is a primary culprit, leading to root rot and browning of leaves due to soil moisture imbalance. Ensuring well-draining soil and allowing the soil to dry between waterings is crucial. Inadequate light conditions, including excessive direct sunlight, can scorch leaves and contribute to browning. Temperature stress from sudden fluctuations or extreme conditions can also damage leaves. Diseases like fungal or bacterial infections and pests like mealybugs exacerbate browning.

Additionally, nutrient deficiencies resulting from improper fertilization can impact the plant’s health. Addressing these factors requires adjusting watering habits, providing appropriate light exposure, regular inspection for pests and diseases, and considering repotting if the plant is root-bound. Ultimately, understanding the balance between water, light, temperature, and nutrients is critical to maintaining the vibrant green hues characteristic of healthy Haworthias.

 Stay with me if you are concerned that your zebra cacti are suffering from one of the factors I mentioned above, and together we will determine the solution.

Haworthia plants: what are they?

Haworthia plants belong to the genus of succulent plants and are low-maintenance succulents native to South Africa. These unique plants are known for their striking appearance, featuring thick leaves that often grow in a rosette pattern. One particularly well-known variety is the Haworthia fasciata, commonly called zebra succulents due to the distinctive white stripes that adorn its succulent leaves. This eye-catching characteristic has made Haworthia fasciata a popular houseplant choice among succulent enthusiasts.

Haworthias are adapted to arid climates, making them well-suited for indoor environments where they can thrive with minimal care. Their ability to store water in their leaves allows them to withstand periods of drought, making them a resilient choice for those seeking easy-to-maintain plants. These succulents are often grown as potted plants, adding a touch of natural beauty to windowsills, desks, and other indoor spaces.

Haworthia plants have gained popularity not only for their visually appealing aesthetics but also for their suitability as indoor companions. With their unique patterns, including the zebra-like stripes of Haworthia fasciata, these plants bring a touch of nature’s artistry into homes and offices. Their ability to thrive with infrequent watering and low light requirements makes them a hassle-free choice for both experienced plant parents and beginners. So, whether captivated by the mesmerizing patterns or seeking an easy-to-care-for plant companion, Haworthia succulents from South Africa offer a delightful and charming addition to any indoor plant collection.

Why is my Haworthia turning brown, and how can it be fixed?

Why is my Haworthia turning brown, and how can it be fixed
Why is my Haworthia turning brown, and how can it be fixed

The following are a few reasons your haworthia’s leaves are turning brown:


The most common reason that Cause the browning of Haworthia leaves is often a result of a watering problem, particularly the issue of overwatering. When these resilient succulents are given too much water or subjected to excess moisture, their delicate root systems can suffer from root rot. This root damage impedes the plant’s ability to take up nutrients and water, leading to browning, wilting, and a general decline in health. Additionally, overwatering creates an environment that invites fungal growth, further stressing the plant and contributing to leaf discoloration. It’s essential to recognize that Haworthias are adapted to survive periods of drought and prefer well-draining soil, making them susceptible to damage from too much water.

How It Can Be Fixed

Resolving the browning issue caused by overwatering requires a shift in your watering practices. Instead of giving your Haworthia a lot of water at once, aim for a more moderate and measured approach. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent the roots from waterlogging. Before watering again, perform the “finger test” – insert your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water.

Moreover, choose a well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes to promote proper water flow. Repotting your Haworthia into fresh soil can also help if the current mix has poor drainage. By practicing good watering habits and being attentive to your Haworthia’s specific needs, you can rectify the overwatering issue and restore your plant to vibrant health, free from unsightly browning.

Poor Drainage

Poor drainage is among the most common problems that can lead to the browning of Haworthia leaves. When the potting mix does not have proper drainage, or the container lacks drainage holes, excess water accumulates around the roots, causing them to become waterlogged. This condition deprives the plant of the oxygen it needs and triggers root rot, resulting in browning, wilting, and overall deterioration of the plant’s health. Haworthias, like the zebra cactus, are adapted to thrive in arid conditions, making them sensitive to standing water and a lack of proper drainage.

How It Can Be Fixed

Rectifying the issue of poor drainage is crucial to prevent further browning of your Haworthia. Start by ensuring that the pot your plant is in has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom. If it doesn’t, consider repotting your Haworthia into a container with proper drainage. Choose a well-draining potting mix designed for succulents and cacti, allowing excess water to flow away from the roots. When watering, ensure that you provide enough water for thorough moistening but allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering. This approach helps balance the plant’s need for moisture and its sensitivity to standing water. By addressing the issue of poor drainage and adopting these corrective measures, you can promote healthy root growth and vibrant green leaves in your Haworthia, effectively resolving the problem of browning due to inadequate water management.

Improper Light

Inadequate or improper light levels can be a significant factor contributing to the browning of Haworthia leaves. These plants, known for their striking rosette growth pattern, typically thrive in bright but indirect light environments. Exposing your Haworthia to too much direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day, can lead to sun stress and leaf scorching, which may manifest as browning and discoloration. On the other hand, if your Haworthia is receiving too little light, it might struggle to photosynthesize efficiently, resulting in weak growth and brownish leaves.

How It Can Be Fixed

To address the browning issue caused by improper light, finding the right balance for your Haworthia is essential. Place your plant in a location with bright, indirect light – near a north facing window or in an area with partial shade. Shield your Haworthia from the intense midday sun, especially in a region with intense sunlight. If your plant has been receiving too little light, consider gradually acclimating it to slightly brighter conditions, being mindful not to subject it to sudden light changes. If you’re growing your Haworthia indoors, you can also use artificial grow lights to ensure it receives enough light for healthy growth. By providing your Haworthia with the appropriate light conditions and mitigating exposure to too much or too little sunlight, you can help prevent browning and promote vibrant, thriving foliage.

Temperature Stress

Temperature stress can play a role in causing browning of Haworthia leaves. These succulent plants, native to arid regions of South Africa, are adapted to thrive in conditions with moderate temperatures and low humidity. Exposing your Haworthia to extreme temperature fluctuations, especially sudden drops or prolonged exposure to cold conditions, can lead to stress that manifests as browning and discoloration of the leaves. Similarly, subjecting your plant to high humidity levels can create an environment that promotes fungal growth and moisture-related issues, contributing to leaf browning.

How It Can Be Fixed

It’s essential to provide your Haworthia with a stable and suitable environment to address the browning issue linked to temperature stress. Aim to maintain room temperature within the ideal range for these plants, generally between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Avoid placing your Haworthia in drafty areas or near heating or cooling vents, as rapid temperature changes can stress the plant. If you live in a region with colder winters, consider bringing your Haworthia indoors or providing protection to shield it from harsh weather conditions. Additionally, ensure that the humidity levels around your plant are not excessively high, as reducing humidity can help prevent fungal issues and moisture-related stress. Creating a consistent and comfortable environment for your Haworthia can mitigate temperature-related browning and promote healthier, more vibrant foliage.

Disease and pests

Disease and pests can be the primary reasons your Haworthia leaves turn brown. These resilient succulents are not immune to the challenges posed by pests like spider mites and fungal diseases. Spider mites are microscopic pests that feed on plant sap, often causing stippling, discoloration, and browning of leaves. Additionally, fungal diseases can take root in the soil or on the affected areas of the plant, leading to symptoms such as leaf spotting and eventual browning. The spread of these issues can result in a decline in your Haworthia’s overall health and appearance.

How It Can Be Fixed

Addressing disease and pest issues requires proactive measures to prevent further browning and damage. Regularly inspect your Haworthia for signs of pests or fungal infection, such as webbing, tiny crawling insects, or discolored spots on the leaves. If you detect a problem, isolate the affected plant to prevent the issue from spreading to other plants. To tackle pests like spider mites, gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove them. For fungal diseases, prune away the affected leaves and provide better air circulation around the plant. You can also treat your Haworthia with neem oil, a natural insecticide, and fungicide to help combat pests and fungal problems. By promptly addressing disease and pest issues and adopting preventive measures, you can save your Haworthia from further browning and help it regain its health and vitality.

Nutrient deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to the browning of Haworthia leaves. While these plants are generally low-maintenance, they still require essential nutrients to thrive. A lack of proper fertilization can result in nutrient deficiencies that affect the plant’s overall health and color. Common nutrient deficiencies, such as a shortage of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium, can manifest as yellowing or browning of leaves. Without an adequate supply of essential nutrients, your Haworthia may struggle to maintain its vibrant green appearance and exhibit signs of stress and discoloration.

How It Can Be Fixed

To address nutrient deficiencies and prevent browning caused by inadequate nutrition, provide your Haworthia with a balanced fertilizer formulated for succulents. During the growing season, typically from spring to early fall, apply a diluted liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to supply the necessary nutrients. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to other issues. Additionally, consider repotting your Haworthia every 2-3 years using fresh, nutrient-rich soil to ensure the plant has access to the essential elements it needs. Regularly monitor your plant’s growth and appearance, and if you notice any signs of nutrient deficiencies, adjust your fertilization routine accordingly. Supplying your Haworthia with the proper nutrients can promote healthy growth, prevent browning, and enhance the overall vitality of your plant.


A root-bound condition can contribute to the browning of Haworthia leaves. Over time, as your plant grows within its container, its roots may become tightly packed and constrained by the limited space. This can hinder the plant’s ability to access water, nutrients, and oxygen, leading to stress and browning of the leaves. As the roots struggle to expand, the overall health of the Haworthia can decline, and signs of distress become evident in the form of browning or yellowing foliage.

How It Can Be Fixed

Addressing a root-bound situation is essential to prevent further browning and promote healthier growth. If you suspect your Haworthia has outgrown its current pot and is root-bound, consider repotting it into a slightly larger container. Choose a pot with proper drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining succulent potting mix. Gently loosen the roots before transplanting, and trim any excessively long or damaged roots. Repotting gives the plant ample space for root growth and allows it to access the necessary resources more efficiently. Monitor your Haworthia’s growth and root development over time, and repeat the repotting process as needed to prevent future root-bound issues. By giving your Haworthia room to flourish, you can help alleviate the problem of browning caused by a cramped root system and encourage a healthier and more vibrant plant.

Best Way to Grow Zebra Haworthia

Best Way to Grow Zebra Haworthia
Best Way to Grow Zebra Haworthia

Growing Zebra Haworthia (Haworthiopsis attenuata), commonly known as Zebra Plant or Zebra Haworthia, can be a rewarding experience as these striking succulents are known for their unique appearance and low-maintenance nature. Here’s a guide to help you successfully grow Zebra Haworthia:

  • Light: Zebra Haworthia thrives in bright, indirect light. Avoid exposing them to intense, direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day, as this can lead to sunburn and browning. A north-facing or east-facing window is usually ideal. If growing indoors, ensure they receive sufficient light, and consider rotating the pot occasionally for even growth.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix. To improve drainage, you can also make your mix by adding sand or perlite to regular potting soil. Good drainage is crucial to prevent overwatering issues.
  • Watering: Zebra Haworthia are adapted to survive periods of drought. Water them when the soil’s top inch (2.5 cm) is dry. Water thoroughly, but allow excess water to drain away, and empty the saucer beneath the pot to prevent root rot. During the dormant winter months, water less frequently.
  • Temperature: Zebra Haworthia prefers average to warm temperatures, ideally ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures during winter but should be protected from frost.
  • Humidity: These succulents are accustomed to low-humidity environments. Avoid high humidity conditions, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal issues.
  • Container: Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating around the roots. Ensure the pot is not too large, as Zebra Haworthia prefers to be a bit root-bound.
  • Fertilization: Feed your Zebra Haworthia sparingly during the growing season (spring and summer) with a diluted, balanced, liquid fertilizer formulated for succulents. Follow the package instructions and avoid over-fertilizing, as succulents have relatively low nutritional needs.
  • Propagation: Zebra Haworthia can be propagated by offsets, the tiny baby plants that grow around the base of the parent plant. Gently separate these offsets and allow them to callus for a day or two before planting in well-draining soil.
  • Pests and Diseases: Look for common succulent pests like mealybugs and spider mites. Regularly inspect your plants and treat any infestations promptly.
  • Pruning: Remove any dead or browning leaves at the base of the plant to maintain its appearance and prevent potential pest or disease issues.


Hey, My name is Liat and I am addicted to house plants! I have at home more than 50 different types of plants of all kinds - succulents, cactus, tropical plants, orchids and more! Feel free to share the blog with friends on social networks.

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