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Published on November 3rd, 2018 | by ozlem

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Zebra Plant (Haworthia) Guide – Learn About Types, Care, Watering, Propagation and More

Zebra Plant or Zebra Cactus is definitely one of the best houseplants. These succulents are great for sunny indoors and bright window sills.

Forming in clusters of thick and pointy dark green leaves, Zebra Plant is known for the white stripes that cover the leaves horizontally. That is what gives this pretty succulent the resemblance of a zebra pattern and makes it a unique kind of a houseplant.

Like the other succulent plants, Zebra Plant is also very simple to care at home and difficult to kill. Even if you have never cared for a plant in your house, you can learn every detail about Zebra Plants from this post and maintain one of this beautiful succulents without a great effort.

I collected the bits of information on Zebra Plants from various resources and tried to give answers to the frequently asked questions. Here you can find out all about the identification, care, propagation; with many more tips and tricks…

Identification of the Genre: Haworthia

Zebra Plants are the types of succulents named scientifically as Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata. They are similar species of perennial plants with the short, clustered leaves that look like almost stemless. The leaves are covered with many white tubercles, aligned separately in horizontal lines or spread over the surface.

Haworthia is a genus placed under the family Asphodelaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae. The genus is named after the botanical scientist Adrian Hardy Haworth.

There are approximately 80 species of Haworthia and the differentiation between the species are made according to the shape and size of the leaves. But basically, all of them have more or less the same kind of requirements.

Native to South Africa, Haworthias can survive through long periods of heat and drought without any rain. They adapt their habitat by stocking the rare rainwater inside their stem and leaves as a nature of succulents.

Related Species

Comparing the inner surfaces of  
Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata

Whereas Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata look very similar to each other, the main thing that differs is the tubercles. Haworthia Fasciata has a smooth inner surface while Haworthia Attenuata shows the white marks diffused over both the surfaces, in and out. Haworthia Fasciata is considered to be a more rare species for this reason.

Zebra Plant is not an Aloe Vera. 

I see many are confusing Zebra Plants with Aloe Veras. That is a very common mistake made because both genus, Haworthia and Aloe, come from the same subfamily. And there is an undeniable resemblance between some of their subspecies.

How Big does a Zebra Plant Grow?

Zebra Plants are usually small and low growing succulents. They can grow up to 13-15 centimeters of height. The rosette of leaves is about 20 centimeters of width.

Although the stem of a Zebra Plant is not so large and tall, roots may grow fast and deep very quickly. When the roots of your plant get larger than you expected, you might have to consider changing the pot with a bigger one.

Is it Better to Care Zebra Plants Indoors or Outdoors?

They can be cultivated in greenhouses, gardens, and conservatories, but Zebra Plants make great houseplants. They are easy to care inside containers and planters at your home or office.

Once I said before, Haworthias are desert plants, adapted to a specific kind of a climate. They are not cold hardy plants. Inside or outside, the eighter way they need to be provided a warm and stable temperature to survive.

If you do not get through freezing cold winters where you live, it is so enjoyable to grow a Zebra Plant in your outdoor garden or balcony. But the opposite way, succulents cared indoor spaces are more under control in the aspect of temperature stress.

Room temperature makes the best conditions for them. It is not recommended to keep them below 10 degrees Celcius. And remember that your Zebra Plant will not live through below zero degrees Celcius.

Caring for a Zebra Plant Indoors

Though they are “easy to maintain” plants, Zebra Plants require a different type of care when compared to other houseplants. All the exterior conditions should resamble the desert climate.

It is actually very simple if you know the basic requirements of an indoor succulent. See the detail at the article about the indoor succulent care I recently posted. Click here!

Let’s check one by one, how to care for a Zebra Plant.

Plenty of Sun

Haworthias require plenty of bright sunlight everyday, directly or partially. Avoid displaying them at the Northern facade which will get any of the direct sunshine during the daytime.

In addition, be careful about too much sunlight. You can tell that your plant is about to burn because of direct sunlight, by looking at the leaves. White or yellow leaves are the early sign of burning sun.

A Good Watering

Water your Zebra Plant generously, regularly but less frequent. In the wintertime, you can reduce watering even less frequent because the plant grows slower in winters.

A good amount of watering only once in a while will let the leaves suck up all the water to store and use part by part for a really long period. It is the similar logic of a desert rain.

To figure out how long are the watering periods for your plant, it will be changing by the climatic conditions of your zone and some specialties that your plant has. One way to understand this is waiting until the soil dries out completely and the leaves start to get wrinkles and creases.

Specially Mixed Succulent Soil

Even though Zebra Plants have typical water needs of a succulent, in the wintertime many of them die because of overwatering.

One of the best ways to avoid overwatering a succulent plant is having a good drainage around the roots. For this reason, you need to plant your Zebra Plant in a specially prepared succulent soil.

Never use a regular potting or garden soil for the succulents. The one thing that they hate the most is sitting in a soaked soil for too long.

Succulent soils are mixed with perlite or coarse sand in order to maintain a good drainage for the roots, so they do not rot. Grainy soil does not hold water in and lets the water drain through. You can find these soil blends on Amazon or Etsy with a lot of options, or you can mix yourself just like I do.

Propagating Zebra Plants

Reproducing a Zebra Plant from the offsets is the simplest thing ever!

The same practices that done with the Echeverias will also work well with the Haworthias. Whenever you see that your plant is growing an offset, which is a very often thing, you are able to grow another Zebra Plant out of it.

Zebra Plant giving offsets.

Find the middle point on the soil between the actual body and the little offset. Use a clean knife and push it through the soil gently, to cut the bonding roots of the offset. You will be able to take the baby plant out and move to another pot.

Offsets are better to be removed during the active growing season, which is from April to September.

For a successful propagation, I wrote about all the details here in my propagation guide.

Repotting the Zebra Plant

Zebra Plants are small houseplants. They are generally around 10 – 13 centimeters high. And they are slow growing succulents compared to other species.

Nevertheless, in some time the roots of your plant can be overgrown for its pot or the body can start to give offsets and enlarge. So, the beginning of the spring is the most appropriate time for repotting Zebra Plants.

A change of the soil is also good for a better drainage and air flow because you can use a grainy and airy new soil instead of the compacted soil. By this time, you can also get rid of any molds or pests may have occurred.

Does the Zebra Plant Blossom?

 Haworthia fasciata in bloom. 

Haworthias actively grow in spring and autumn. They give their flowers around this times of the year.

Zebra Plant has a pink or white colored tubular flower, hanging on a long and thin stem called an inflorescence. 

I must say that there is a less chance for the Zebra Plants give blossoms when they are grown in indoor spaces.

Are the Zebra Plants Poisonous for Pets and Children?

This is a very common doubt if succulents are grown in places where also pets and children are cared for. Even though the succulents are not known as a threat to any human, some of the types can be toxic for cats and dogs.

Toxic succulents lead to digestive problems and sickness if they are ingested by animals. Luckily, many Haworthia species are not toxic and will be safe to be kept together with the pets.

What to do if Zebra Plant Turns Brown or Yellow?

As I explained all about caring the Zebra Plant indoors, they should be fine if everything is practiced well. But in any case, your plant begins to change color and look unhealthy, there are two probabilities may cause it.

First is overwatering. If the Zebra Plant is watered more frequent than it needed, its leaves will turn yellow and transparent because they are rotting. The leaves of an overwatered succulent fall off very easily when touched as an early signal.

Your plant will probably get together when you cut out the water, unless it is too late. Excess water is very hard to recover for these desert plants.

And the second one is sunburn. No matter how much sunlight do the succulents need, long hours under a direct sunlight during the summer season will cause sunburns on the leaves of your Zebra Plant.

Burnt leaves of a succulent are distinguished by the brown marks spread over the surface facing the sun. Be careful, because sunburnt succulents are damaged permanently and can not be recovered.

Zebra Plants especially stand out among the many species of succulents by their unique features. Besides their charming appearance, they are also really stress-free when it comes to maintaining them at homes or offices. 

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