If you’re anything like me, you’re tickled pink admiring the awestruck beauty of Zebras in the jungles of Africa.
But you’re also frustrated when you just can’t figure out whether Zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes. Well, thanks to the quirkiest plants on the planet, you can have a green version of the Zebra growing in your garden or living room!
These eye-catching succulents add an ambience of wildlife to living rooms and offices. Their versatile and tenacious qualities ensure that even the most amateur gardener has an easy time growing them.
Quite a conversation starter, the Zebra plant is one succulent you’ll want to get your hands on.
The Zebra Plant— Haworthia Fasciata
The Zebra plant is a low growing succulent reaching to a height of between 4-8 inches. This heavily suckering plant forms proliferating rosettes arising from the base. Haworthia fasciata is generally a slow growing succulent that can last a lifetime. This dainty succulent is clump forming and thus it can fit well with other succulents in the same container.
This South African succulent stands out for its erect, multifarious leaves having streaks of white tubercles on the outer surface which gives it the Zebra effect.
When stressed (mainly due to long hours in hot sun), the tip of the leaves may turn red. Haworthia fasciata has a miniature leafy stem which appears to be almost invisible.
Due to its slow growing nature, the Zebra Haworthia rarely blooms especially when planted indoors. When it does, blooms appear in summer characterized by tiny, tubular pink or white flowers on an inflorescence (a thin tall stem).
Botanically referred to as Haworthia Fasciata, this fascinating succulent hails from the family Asphodeloideae, and Haworthia as the Genus. The genus Haworthia is named in honor of Adrian Hardy Haworth, who was an entomologist and a botanist. (How cool is it to have a plant named after you!)
With about 80 species under its belt, Haworthia is one genus that offers a wide variety of succulents for one to explore.
Haworthia fasciata is commonly known as the Zebra cactus though it’s not a cactus but a succulent. Other names include the Zebra Haworthia and the Zebra plant. It’s like the Zebra name is given to anything that has white stripes on it and thus, the name Zebra plant can be quite misleading.
Two other plants (that are not succulents) are also referred to as Zebra plants. These include Aphelandra squarrosa and Calathea zebrine. However, nothing can come close to the glamour exuded by our Zebra Haworthia.
Origin of the Zebra Plant
Haworthia Fasciata or the Zebra plant, is native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They always get the good ones!
It was introduced to Europe in 1600 by a group of adventurous collectors and is now a popular household beauty around the world.
Haworthia attenuata closely resembles the Zebra cactus. In fact, both succulents share the name Zebra plant. The only distinguishing feature between the two is the tubercles on the leaves.
Whereas Haworthia attenuata has both of its leaf surfaces covered by white tubercles, Haworthia fasciata’s leaves have a smooth inner surface devoid of any white marks.
Something else to note is that Haworthia fasciata is considered a rare species.
Hordes of succulent beginners tend to think that the Zebra plant is a stripped version of the Aloe. It’s not. Sure, they are from the same sub-family and are both native to South Africa, but there are marked differences that distinguish the two.
How to Take Care of Haworthia Fasciata
The Zebra plant tops the list in the succulents’ starter pack for beginners. It’s an easy care plant that will grow brilliantly even when most neglected. However, giving it ideal growing conditions when its young will ensure it turns out to be a healthy plant.
Continue reading for an in depth guide on how to grow and take care of your Zebra Haworthia.
What is the ideal temperature for the Zebra plant?
This xerophyte has been long adapted to desert conditions and will therefore thrive even in high heat levels. As an indoor plant, it will do just fine with room temperatures between spring and autumn. During winter, it prefers cool temperatures. However, Haworthia fasciata can’t tolerate freezing or anything below 4°C.
As the case with many succulents, the Zebra plant doesn’t require any humidity.
Light requirements for haworthia fasciata
Although The Zebra plant is a total sun zealot, it can also do well in partial shades. If growing outdoors, find a spot where your Haworthia will receive at least four hours of bright, indirect sunlight. Indoor Zebra plants will receive adequate lighting when placed near a huge, uncovered south-facing window.
Avoid exposing your Haworthia fasciata to direct sunshine for long hours especially during summer. This leads to sunburn, giving the leaves an undesirable purple, red or brown color. Similarly, placing your Zebra plant in a shade for extended periods will result in a weak and lanky plant. Avoid both extremes for robust growth.
Soil & Fertilizing
The ideal soil for Haworthia fasciata is grainy and well-draining to ensure that the plant does not sit on damp soil for long. The best bet is a commercial cacti mix which you can easily buy online.
Alternatively, you can use common gardening soil by mixing it with equal portions of pumice and perlite. This gives it good drainage ensuring that the roots don’t rot due to excess moisture.
Give your Zebra plant a weak solution of fertilizer occasionally. Twice or thrice a year is probably too much. Do NOT feed it during winter.
Watering your Zebra Plant
The Zebra cactus can go for long periods without water. On that account, they can cope with under watering but easily succumb to root rot due to overwatering. In warm climates, watering it once a week is recommended. Water the Zebra plant once a fortnight in cooler areas.
Use the “soak and dry” method to water your plants. This is giving your succulents a drench and waiting for the soil to dry out before watering again.
Minimize watering during winter as these plants lapse into inactivity.
Pests to look out for
Fortunately, Haworthia fasciata does not suffer from many pest invasions. Spider mites and mealy bugs are the most common insects that occasionally plague it. Nothing too unordinary!
Haworthia Fasciata Care Tips
- Leaves turning red: This is due to excess sunlight. Move your zebra plant in a shaded area and the undesirable red tinge will begin to fade back to normal. (Keep in mind if your succulent is sun burnt, it may not be reversed).
- Leaf tips are brown and dead: This is quite normal depending on the degree of color on the tips. Browning is typically only confined to the tips of the leaves, don’t worry.
- Plant collapse: This is typically caused by overwatering and exposure to very cold temperatures. Warm that baby up and let it drink all of its nutrients first.
5 Reasons to Grow a Zebra Plant
- It’s one of the most visually appealing succulents.
- Requires minimal maintenance, super easy to take care of.
- The Zebra Plant is not poisonous, being safe for both humans and pets.
- They take up very little space. So much so that little baby shoes and teacups are used as planters. (Check out these cute modern planters we found).
- It has a long life span, perfect for gifting to generations.
How to Propagate Haworthia Fasciata
Just like Aloe, propagating Haworthia fasciata is a painless and straight forward process with a high rate of success. Either offsets or leaves can be used as propagates. When propagating using leaves, pluck a healthy leaf from the mother plant.
Allow the wound to heal for a few days. Stick the calloused leaves in a well-draining potting mix. Water only once and wait for signs of growth to water again.
Propagating using offsets is much easier and thought to have a higher success rate. Any healthy Zebra plant will often produce offsets. Use a sharp knife to neatly remove them, cutting as close to the mother plant as possible. This is to ensure that the offset gets some roots.
In some cases, a knife may be completely unnecessary as the offset may be loosely attached to the plant and come off easily with a gentle tug.
Wait a few days for the wound to heal. This is to reduce the risks of rot in the new wound. Set up the dried offset in a cacti potting mix, water slightly and place in a warm, brightly lit area.
The best time to propagate Haworthia fasciata is during summer or at the end of spring. This is because it’s warm and there’s a lot of sunlight – excellent conditions for optimum growth.
Repotting Tips for Haworthia Fasciata
Zebra plants are generally tiny and slow growing. Therefore, it might take a while for the plant to outgrow its pot. Repotting is done every so often and only when the pot is filled with offsets.
In some cases, the roots may overgrow the pot and hence a repot may be necessary. Use similar potting mix when repotting.
The recommended time to repot is during summer or late spring. Change the soil every two years to get rid of molds, pests and to revamp the nutrition of the soil. Read more about repotting succulents here.
Where can I buy the Zebra Plant Succulent?
Haworthia fasciata is a rare and hard to find succulent. However, during summer or spring, it can easily be sourced from nurseries, conservatories and local garden centers. If not, online stores such as Mountain crest gardens, succulent box and Etsy may be your best bet.
Have you had enough of the Zebra Plant yet? If not be sure to spread the word to your friends about how amazing and easy it is to care for a rare succulent like this. Leave a comment below about how this article has helped you with your zebra plant.
Happy Planting! ?