Haworthia plants, also known as zebra haworthia, come in many variations. Two of this succulent’s most popular variations are the Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata. Even though these succulents look similar, they’re quite different in appearance.
These two Haworthia types are similar in many ways, but some key visual and horticultural differences make them different species. Keep reading to learn more about Haworthia species and their care.
The Differences Between Haworthia Fasciata and Attenuata
At first glance, Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata may seem like very similar plants. Since they’re from the same family of succulents and can be found in generally the same area, this is very true.
However, these succulents are distinct species. One of them is much more common and less expensive than the other.
The differences between Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata can be broken down into three major categories.
- Visual differences: The main visual difference between Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata is bumpy white tubercles on the outer leaves in the Haworthia attenuata species. These white bumps scattered across the outer surface of the leaf are a quick way to identify between the two types.
- Structural differences: Appearance is the easiest way to tell Haworthia types apart, but they also have major structural differences when you place them side by side. Haworthia fasciata has longer, more fibrous leaves and grows in an oval shape. Haworthia attenuata is more round and has softer leaves with a less fibrous inner structure.
- Geographic origin: Both Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata originate from South Africa. However, Haworthia attenuata grows near Makhanda, while Haworthia fasciata grows in a much more limited area near Port Elizabeth in the southern region of South Africa. Haworthia fasciata is considerably rarer than Haworthia attenuata.
In many ways, the care of these two Haworthia varieties is similar. But there are a few requirements of each that set them apart from one another.
Making a point to adhere to their slight variations in care can make the difference in how healthy your Haworthia plant looks.
How to Care for Haworthia Fasciata
Haworthia fasciata plants are miniature plants that don’t require a lot of room but need exposure to bright indirect, or direct light to grow properly.
If Haworthia fasciata plants are placed in direct sunlight, care should be taken so that the leaves don’t begin to become scorched and the plant doesn’t dry out from over-exposure.
Light intensity is an essential factor of Haworthia regeneration, found a study.
Because it’s an arid succulent, the Haworthia fasciata doesn’t require much watering. Watering the plant every two to three weeks and ensuring it dries completely out between waterings is the best way to ensure its continued health.
More succulents have been killed by over-watering than under-watering, so set a schedule if you’re apt to forget when the plant has been watered.
How to Care for Haworthia Attenuata
The care of the Haworthia Attenuata is similar to the care of the Haworthia fasciata. The major difference in horticulture of the two species is that Haworthia fasciata prefers slightly acidic soil (5.8-6.3 pH), while the Haworthia attenuata requires a more neutral soil pH.
In other regards, care for the Haworthia attenuata is the same as caring for a Haworthia fasciata. As long as you consider the soil composition difference, you should be able to grow either plant successfully.
For a further breakdown of the differences between the two Haworthia species, here is a summarizing table of their general horticultural requirements:
|Hardiness Zone Requirement
|Zones 10a – 11b
|Zones 10a – 11b
|Bright indirect to direct light
|Bright indirect to direct light
|Succulent mix or other soil that drains well
|Succulent mix or other soil that drains well
|6-7 inches tall, 6 inches wide
|8 inches tall, 6 inches wide
|Every 2-3 weeks
|Every 2-3 weeks
Other Haworthia Types
Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata may look similar enough to confuse, but the world of Haworthia succulents is varied. There are at least sixty recognized species of Haworthia succulents worldwide, and around a hundred and fifty named cultivars and varieties within those species.
Older botanical reference books refer to Haworthia succulents as part of the lily family. Modern-day botany has Haworthia plants in the aloe family due to their similar structures and growing habits.
Why Are Haworthia Succulents Popular?
There are many reasons why Haworthia succulents have enjoyed widespread popularity in the houseplant world. Here are just a few of them :
- Diversity: Haworthia succulents come in a startling range of shapes, colors, and patterns. This makes it easy and fun for gardeners to start a collection of different cultivars and species.
- Size: Haworthia succulents are considered miniature houseplants, with no specimen exceeding six to eight inches in size. This makes them the perfect addition for smaller indoor spaces where large house plants such as parlor palms and ficus would get in the way.
- Simple maintenance: Like many succulents, Haworthia is forgiving to new gardeners and can withstand a degree of neglect before getting sick and dying. However, they aren’t invincible and require little care to be strong and happy plants.
- Herbal medicine: Like its relative plant, aloe, some varieties of Haworthia plants, such as Haworthia limifolia have been used for centuries for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Science has recently proven that these plants have measurable effects in these areas of medicine.
Aside from their good looks, there are plenty of good reasons to keep a few Haworthia specimens around the house if you have the proper lighting.
How to Water a Haworthia Plant
Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata are both succulents, meaning their watering requirements are unique. As relatives of the cactus, succulents are built to store water for long periods of drought due to the arid conditions they grow in.
This makes succulents great plants for indoor gardeners who tend to kill more thirsty varieties, but it doesn’t mean succulents don’t need any water. While underwatering succulents like Haworthia is preferable to overwatering them, they still need hydration to live.
Knowing when to water Haworthia is as simple as examining the leaves. When a succulent like Haworthia becomes dehydrated, the cell walls of the leaves will begin to collapse due to a lack of internal pressure. This causes the leaves to start looking shriveled or deflated. When you see this, ensure the succulent is watered ASAP to prevent long-term damage.
If your Haworthia still has plump full leaves, however, you should forego watering. Watering a succulent too much can cause the plant to be drowned.
Like animals, plants need to be able to breathe through their root systems and take in oxygen. When the soil in a potted plant is saturated with water, the plants cannot pull dissolved oxygen from the soil.
Here are a few more tips for watering your Haworthia properly, whether you have a Haworthia fasciata or a Haworthia attenuata :
- Use a “soak-and-dry” method. The soak-and-dry involves watering the plant until the dirt is completely damp and then waiting until the soil is completely dried out before adding water. This watering is done to help emulate Haworthia’s native climate, where torrential rains are sporadic, and the ground is dry for most of the year.
- Observe the plant. It’s easy enough to tell you to water your succulent every two to three weeks, but this won’t give the plant water when needed. Instead, observe your succulent daily to see when it appears dehydrated before watering. Ambient conditions such as humidity can affect how frequently a plant needs water.
- Apply water to the plant’s base. Getting the leaves of the succulent wet can encourage them to grow fungal mold or bacterial infections. Keeping the leaves dry and the roots hydrated helps reduce the conditions that encourage plant illnesses to flourish.
Watering Haworthia isn’t rocket science. Taking a methodical approach to it and knowing the plant’s specific needs can help prevent most amateur gardening mistakes with this or any other succulent type.
Do Haworthia Plants Need to Be Fertilized?
There is a persistent myth in some succulent circles that Haworthia and other succulents don’t require feeding. This isn’t the truth, however.
Like other potted houseplants, Haworthia will eventually use up the minerals and other nutrients present in its pot and will go hungry without some replenished source of nutrition.
Haworthia plants can be fertilized with a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer growing seasons (from around April to September).
Haworthia and other succulents should not be fertilized during the winter since this is a period of dormancy for most houseplants.
Since winter months do not offer enough daily sunlight to encourage new growth, adding too much fertilizer in the winter will lead to a build-up of salts and other minerals that might shock the plant when it begins absorbing nutrients again in the spring.
Do Haworthia Plants Die After Flowering?
Many species of succulents die off once they’ve flowered. These plants are known as monocarpic plants, which means they have a single flowering during their lifecycle.
Unlike perennial plants that flower each year, die back, and grow again, monocarpic plants reproduce and destroy themselves. Most monocarpic plants reproduce themselves by generating baby plants before death.
Luckily, Haworthia enthusiasts don’t have to worry about this trait in Haworthia succulents. Haworthias can flower out and continue living. If a Haworthia is being grown in good conditions and it has adequate nutrition, it should produce flowers sometime during the summer growing season.
On succulents, flowers appear on the end of a long reproductive stem known as an inflorescence.
Once the flower has bloomed, the bloom stem of the succulent can be trimmed back if the gardener prefers a more tidy look to the plant. Otherwise the bloom stem can be allowed to grow up to sixteen inches long.
Lighting for Indoor Succulents
Lighting is one of the most confusing aspects of indoor plant care for many beginner gardeners, and succulents are no exception.
While succulents like Haworthia are popular indoor plants because they can tolerate indirect sunlight from a window, they like a strong source of indirect light.
Depending on your window placement in the home, this can sometimes not be easy to accomplish.
Window Placement and Indoor Lighting
Keep in mind that the window you decide to place your Haworthia in will determine the quality of light the plant receives if you’re depending on natural light alone.
Depending on where they are in the house, different windows of the home might receive very different types and levels of ambient light.
Here are a few ways that window placement affects the type of lighting your indoor plants receive :
- East windows: East windows receive about five hours of strong sunlight in most of the world. East windows are a good choice for plants that prefer more indirect light sources since the morning light from the east is less intense than later daylight hours.
- South windows: South-facing windows receive the most sunlight from any other window placement in the house. You can expect southern windows to receive anywhere from eight to twelve hours of sunlight daily. Plants that prefer strong indirect light will do well on a south-facing windowsill.
- West windows: West-facing windows receive around five hours of sun like east windows, but the sunlight west windows receive is the more intense sunlight of the afternoon that has been heated by the atmosphere. Plants sensitive to direct light may become scorched or develop brown tips in intense direct sunlight.
- North windows: North-facing windows receive the least sunlight compared to other windows of the home. Only low-light indoor plants will thrive on a northern windowsill without additional artificial light.
Note: In the Southern hemisphere, the light levels of southern and northern windows are reversed.
Haworthia plants do well in bright indirect light, which means they’re a good candidate for either an east-facing or south-facing window.
Haworthia will still grow in northern or western windows, but may become overwhelmed by bright light and heat in a western window or may not receive enough light in a northern window to show off its full coloration.
Haworthia Plants and Artificial Lighting
Some gardeners may want to house Haworthia succulents but may not have a good source of indirect light at a nearby window. This doesn’t mean that they can’t own succulents or other indoor plants.
With the new full spectrum grow lighting afforded by low-heat LED bulbs, you can provide plenty of additional lighting for succulents and other houseplants to help them get the lighting they need to be successful.
Pests and Diseases of Haworthia Plants
One of the advantages of growing Haworthia is that it isn’t very susceptible to either pests or diseases.
There are a few pests and diseases that can afflict Haworthia in poor growing conditions though. Here are some of the pests and diseases to look out for when cultivating Haworthia succulents:
- Mealybugs: Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects usually found in warm growing conditions. These little insects are easily identified by their fluffy bodies that look like little flecks of cotton lint.
- With Haworthia, the easiest way to control mealybugs is to inspect the plant regularly for signs of infestation and physically remove the bugs if found.
- Fungal gnats: Fungal gnats develop as a result of moist soil at the base of the potted plant, and this is the result of soil that is left too damp for long periods in high humidity and warm temperatures.
- Fungal gnats and fungus signify that the succulent should be watered less frequently, and the potting soil should be changed with fresh media.
- Root rot: Root rot is one of the few diseases commonly found in Haworthia. This disease can quickly kill the plant since the rotted roots prevent the uptake of hydration and nutrients.
Diseases and pests in Haworthia are relatively uncommon, and most of the issues involved with this plant can be avoided with good watering practices. This is one of the reasons why Haworthia is so popular with novice indoor gardeners. It isn’t finicky and isn’t vulnerable to many diseases and pests which may affect other indoor plants.
Haworthia is a Worthy Succulent for Any Collection
No matter which variety of Haworthia succulent you decide to purchase, these miniature spiky plants add visual interest and air filtration to any indoor space. Make sure you have proper lighting, soil, and water levels to get the most out of your Haworthia collection.