Haworthia Attenuata – Zebra Plant Growing Tips And Tricks

What Is The Haworthia Attenuata

The Haworthia Attenuata, or commonly known as the “zebra haworthia”, is a species of succulent of the Haworthiopsis genus of the Asphodelaceae family.

Native to Eastern Cape Province in South Africa, this popular house succulent grows in a short leaved rosette that grows 6 to 12 cm in diameter, ornate with white tubercules.  

Although this species is closely related to the Haworthiopsis fasciata, but the Haworthia attenuate can be easily distinguished by its white stripes all over the leaves, while the haworthiopsis fasciata only has white stripes on the underside of its leaves.

It’s a great way to be able to tell from a glance which plant you’re actually looking at, even your florist will be impressed.

Haworthia Attenuata

What Is The Common Name Of The Haworthia Attenuata?

The two most common names for the succulent are switched between “Zebra Haworthia” and the “Zebra Plant”.

The genus of the plant, Haworthia, is in honor of the British botanist and entomologist Adrian Hardy Haworth. The species name, “Attenuata”, means “tapering”, and means the “to thin or narrow at the end”, referring to the ends of the leaves growing thin and coming to a point.

Both the Zebra Haworthia and Zebra plant common name refer to the plant’s stripes that we spoke of earlier on both the top and bottom sides of the leaves.

They don’t really resemble the look of zebra stripes, but they are reminiscent enough of them to be awarded the name.

History Of The Haworthia Attenuata

There are no dates given for its discovery and we are not even 100% sure if the person whose namesake the plant takes was the original discoverer or the person at a university or other facility responsible for naming the plant or not.

What is known is that; it’s native to Eastern Cape Province in South Africa and was named in honor of the British botanist and entomologist Adrian Hardy Haworth.

It is supposed that if was first discovered by the native Africans and then later by the British during their colonization of the Southern African region.

How To Take Care Of Your Zebra Plant?

This plant is a little on the finicky side and needs to be taken care of just so.

With this succulent it’s best to use the soak and dry method of plant watering. It’s very typical with most succulents, so nothing out of the ordinary really.

It’s just that this plant can succumb to root rot rather quickly, so standing water must be avoided at all costs.

The soak and dry method is really quite simple and easy.

Stick your finger int the dirt up to about 1 inch. If the soil feels bone dry, then soak your succulent.

The Soaking Process: Soak the soil all around the plant until it’s completely wet.

Be very sure to have your Zebra Plant potted in a pot that drains really well as letting it stand in water is a no, no for this arid region plant. You’ll want to have a water catch tray below the pot to secure the draining water.

Be careful not to pour any of the water directly onto the plant while watering. The reason is that, even standing water on top of the plant can cause rot and make it more susceptible to pest infestations.

Now just simply wait until you check it and if it’s bone dry again. Then just soak it like you did before.

How long should you wait in between watering?

You simply wait until the soil is bone dry again.

How long will that be?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The answer is that it depends. It depends on where you live, the humidity, the total amount of direct sun that it gets and several more factors.

Haworthia Attenuata

What Is The Best Soil For Your Zebra Haworthia?

The Zebra Succulent does best in sandy soil with great drainage and good aeration.

So, a soil composition of two parts coarse sand or perlite and one part potting soil will work out rather well.

Just be absolutely sure to grow your plant in a pot that drains really well. If not, you’ll be looking at a case of root rot that can kill your plant or cause pest infestations that can give you serious headaches as well.

How Often Should I Water My Zebra Succulent Plant?

Water your Zebra plant only when the soil feels bone dry.

Stick your finger into the soil around half an inch to one inch deep. If the soil feels wet, then don’t water it. If it’s bone dry, then go ahead and soak it again.

Which leads us to the proper watering method for your zebra succulent, which is called the dry and soak method.

It’s really simple to do. Just soak your succulent all the way until the soil is saturated. Be sure to only water the soil and do not pour water directly atop your plant or the water will collect in the low spots and may cause rot or pest infestations.

Then wait until your plants soil is bone dry again before watering it again, simple.

How long will it take before the soil is bone dry on average?

There is no way to know this, it all depends on multiple variables such as, weather, humidity, hours of direct sunlight, exact soil composition and more.

The only way to know for sure is to test it with your finger and see, anything else is just a guess.

How Much Sunlight Should I Expose My Zebra Succulent Too?

This plant thrives best when exposed to about 6 hours per day of direct sunlight.

The easy way to do this is to place it where it gets afternoon sun starting at or about noon. If placed well, it will get sun until sundown thereby receiving more than enough sun for proper growth.

If the plant starts to turn yellow in color that means you’re getting a little too much sun.

In that case place the plant on the side of your home where you get morning sun which is not as intense and doesn’t last quite as long.

What Is The Best Temperature For The Zebra Haworthia?

These plants are not cold hardy and cannot stay out in temperatures below freezing or even close to freezing.

If they are left out and do freeze, they have a very strong possibility of not recovering and dying from it.

The best temperature for your zebra plant is between 50 degrees F and 90 degrees F.

What this really means is that they are well suited to be house plants and depending on the climate where you live, they may not make the best outdoor plants.

What Fertilizer Should I Give My Haworthia Attenuata?

They don’t seem to do well with chemical-based fertilizers, it seems to be too much for them and burn them.

They do seem to appreciate natural fertilizers such as diluted fish-based ones that you can just add to your water as you water it.

The succulent really doesn’t have much of a dormant period, so you can feel free to water it year-round.

We would space the fertilizing out to no more than once every 2 months or it will end up being to much and start to have a negative outcome.

How Often Should I Repot My Haworthia Attenuata?

You can move your succulent to a bigger pot any time you notice it’s stopped expanding outward. This should be measured over a 6-month time frame. So, if you see no growth for 6 months to a year then it’s time to repot it, so that the root system can expand.

Is The Zebra Plant Seasonal?

No, it does not seem to have a season or a dormant period.

It does tend to slow its growth just a tad during the shorter sun exposure days of winter.

However, this doesn’t seem to be a true dormant period like many or even most of the succulents have.

It does use less water during the winter, but that could be said for nearly all plants as there is not as much sun to dry out the soil.

Is The Zebra succulent Plant Edible?

While it does have some medicinal properties that have been espoused throughout the years, we cannot whole heartedly recommend consuming it.

There is a coating just under the leaves outer shell on the inside between that shell and the plants gel like interior. You’ll find the same to be true to varying extents with most of the aloe plants found worldwide.

This brown layer possesses a type of fiber that irritates the digestive tract causing diarrhea and stomach cramping for most species including humans.

The plant is not known to be poisonous per say, but it has this fiber layer that keeps the plant from becoming a delicacy for herbivores.

If it were to become one, the favorites of local herd animals you could graze it into extinction, and so this is just a natural defense mechanism for the plant.

Is The Zebra Plant Poisonous To Pets?

As mentioned above, no not really.

It does have a lining of brown fibrous material just under the outer skin or shell as you may wish to call it that can give most animal species a really bad case of diarrhea including humans.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you keep the plant away from children and animals, so that you don’t have any sick kids or pets and don’t have any surprise messes to be cleaned up.

But, overall, no, there is no real known toxicity from ingesting the plant other than in copious amounts it could cause a whopper of stomachache.

Haworthia Attenuata

How To Propagate My Zebra Succulent Plant?

The easiest way is to use a clean sharp cutting tool and cut one of the leaves off as close to the soil as possible.

Set this out to callous over for 2 days and then make a half inch or so depression in the new soil that you have just soaked as prescribed above.

Place the calloused end down into the soil and gently push the soil around it, so that it holds it upright.

You should start to see roots forming in a few weeks to a month.

Then just water your new growth succulent just as you would the parent plant.

You should start to see it really take hold and take off in just a few months.

These plants don’t typically grow very fast, but they take minimal care and look great around the house.

Why Is My Zebra Cacti Turning Brown?

These plants generally turn brown and get soft of mushy because of over watering issues.

This can be a sign that the plant it either getting too much water or is actually standing in water at that time.

What to do about it?

First look at the degree of brown, how much area does it cover, and exactly how mushy are the leaves.

If it’s bad, you’ll need to re-pot the plant right away in some new dry soil until it dries out and comes back to life and its regular color.

If it’s not that bad, then look at the drain holes at the bottom of the pot. Are they draining or are they clogged up?

If they are clogged up, unclog them with an un-sharpened pencil or a chopstick, both generally work pretty well.

Once you’re sure the pot is draining properly then just let the plant dry out until bone dry as discussed above before you water it again.

Why Is My Haworthia Attenuata Turning Yellow?

The most likely reason is that it’s getting too much direct sun or the sunlight that it is receiving is too harsh.

The fix for this is to simply either reduce the number of hours that the plant is exposed to direct light by placing it somewhere else in your home.

Or, you can move it to an area where it gets partial shade. You can accomplish the partial shade by placing a shade plant over it to reduce the intensity of the light as well.


  1. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/30/7/article-p1443.xml
  2. https://www.ebay.com/itm/332281571320
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/42784655?seq=1