‘Zebra Cactus’, ‘Zebra’, ‘Zebra Haworthia’, ‘Zebra Plant’, ‘Haworthia Zebra’
Scientific Binomial Name
Haworthia fasciata, Haworthiopsis fasciata
According to many sources the genus name for this species has changed from Haworthia to Haworthiopsis. Since our article was already written and has incoming links to the older name we have not gone through and edited it. What that means is that wherever you see the word Haworthia fasciata it should technically be Haworthiopsis fasciata.
Description of Zebra Cactus, Haworthia fasciata
The Zebra Cactus is not actually a cactus. That may be why it is also often alternately labeled as Zebra Plant. It has very thick leaves that form in rosettes. The leaves are a beautiful dark green with white horizontal Zebra-like stripes. The leaves are a slender tapering shape with small not very sharp spikes on the edges. In the wild they are a clump forming succulent so they will still thrive if you have more than one in the same container.
They are rare and hard to find but you can buy a Zebra Cactus online here.
Because they look so similar, the Zebra Cactus is often compared to various Aloes.
The Zebra Cactus is a dainty succulent that is slow growing and that remains relatively small.
Mature Size: 4” tall; 6 – 8” spread
Pot Size: These are sometimes grown in very small containers like a tea cup. Just make sure it has adequate drainage.
Uses: These are grown outside in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping. They are most often used indoors as a houseplant. The compact size makes them very popular as a windowsill plant and they thrive almost anywhere in offices. Because they almost always look so bright and healthy and they are easy to care for the Zebra Cactus makes a great gift for any occasion.
Growing Conditions for Zebra Cactus, Haworthia fasciata
Light: Prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. The Zebra Cactus is among the desk plants that don’t need sunlight to do well.
Soil: Use a well draining cactus potting mix. Make your own soil with a third each of potting soil, perlite and sand.
Flowers: They will sometimes flower in the mid-summer. Small tubular pink or white flowers grow from a long thin stem. The Zebra Cactus flower is not very impressive so it is a good thing the plant itself is so dramatic.
Hardiness Zones: Zones 9b, 10, 11
General Care for Zebra Cactus, Haworthia fasciata
Water: Needs good drainage. Water deeply but only when the soil is thoroughly dry.
Fertilizer: You may want to feed with a diluted fertilizer every month or less during the spring and summer.
Pests and Diseases: Mealybugs and spider mites.
Propagation: These can be propagated with pups or with cuttings. The pups form very randomly on a Haworthia fasciata. There is no way to encourage more pups except to keep your plant healthy. When propagating these plants water them just once. Do not water the plant again until you see new growth.
Repotting: You may only need to repot after 2 years or more when it outgrows its pot.
Signs of Stress and Poor Health
If the leaves turn red it is a sign of excessive direct sunlight. Provide more shading through the day and the red will slowly fade and the plant will look normal in a few weeks. Wrinkled leaves on a Zebra Cactus is a sign that it has been dry for too long or there has been too frequent watering. Use a soil moisture meter between watering and adjust accordingly. Black spots may also appear from over-watering which causes rot. There is no need to worry if the lower leaves turn a little brown.
Medicinal and Other Uses
The Haworthia fasciata is not patented but many of it’s cultivars such as ‘Capetown’, ‘New York’, ‘Amsterdam’, ‘African Albino’ and ‘Seastar’ do have active patents.
The Haworthia fasciata is similar to the Haworthia attenuata and both are sometimes referred to as the Zebra Cactus or Zebra Plant. Sometimes the Haworthia attenuata is mislabeled as Haworthia fasciata. The inner leaves of the Haworthia fasciata are smoother and a little narrower. The inner or top of leaves of the Haworthia attenuata are somewhat fatter and have white tubercles, wart-like growths. The Haworthia attenuata also grows a little taller. Don’t worry excessively over which one is which. They are both attractive and require the same kind of care.
The Zebra Cactus is so easy to grow that it is often suggested as a plant for beginners.
This is a great brief description of Zebra Cactus:
“Haworthias are easy to grow and are little jewels of various shapes and colors. Haworthia fasciata, native to South Africa, is an upright, slender rosette with tapering incurved dark green leaves covered with silvery white raised “pearls” that connect to form bands that give the impression of zebra stripes… The flowers occur on a spike of 10″ to 15″ in length. Blooms are a whitish color with light reddish brown bands, and are open on two lips.”
On the Today.com website:
Though it’s not a cactus at all, this tiny succulent’s common name derives from its plump green leaves adorned with spiraling white ridges. This is a great starter plant because it’s hard to kill. Average room temperatures from spring to fall are fine for this cactus, which needs bright, indirect sun. In winter, a south-facing window is ideal. Once the whole pot is truly dry, then water the soil thoroughly.
We agree that the Zebra Cactus is a great indoor houseplant and also recommend it for your office.
From the blog Plants are the Strangest People:
Many Haworthia species can be very hard to identify correctly and even experts will disagree. We thought it would be fun to post an opinion about that which you can read here,
“Now, this isn’t to say that Haworthia nomenclature and taxonomy aren’t horrifying, labyrinthine messes that will eat your brain until you go mad. (…Trying to get a solid ID on a Haworthia is the sort of thing about which people write epic poetry, or action movies. And then when you factor in the various hybrids (Haworthia/Gasteria, Haworthia/Aloe, Haworthia/Haworthia), it’s sort of a wonder that anybody bothers to name any of these guys at all. For the average houseplant owner, this isn’t really an issue, because the average houseplant owner doesn’t care what they’ve got so much as what they’re supposed to do to keep it alive; it’s only the incredibly neurotic people who have to know the exact names of everything who are going to have problems.”