Zebra cactus plant offers both simplicity and beauty to add perfection to any room with its unique characteristics and features. At a glance, you may notice that this plant appears to be similar with those aloe vera species, but don’t get deceived as the two are a distinctive plant. This particular zebra plant also has a cactus lookalike, but it’s actually not. Zebra cactus is your regular succulent shrubs only with more gorgeous features.
Zebra cactus, also comes belongs to the haworthiopsis genus, becomes very popular as an indoor plant since a Europe collector took it out from the black continent in the 1600’s. The somewhat rigid plant, an evergreen one, suddenly appears in many gardens as a unique addition.
The Plant Features of Haworthia Attenuate
Belong to the succulent plant type, the zebra cactus also has its place in the aloae tribe—which explain its similarity with the aloe vera. Known by the name of haworthia attenuata, this small shrub has large foliage that is capable of retaining water for a long time. Native to the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, you will find this particular perennial quite ornamental and commonly found in indoor gardens.
Zebra haworthia is also mostly associated with the haworthia fasciata due to the similar features. However, the attenuata is characterized by white aria on both sides of the leaves, while the fasciata only features the dots on its underside.
With the proper zebra haworthia care, the plant can grow until 6 inches tall with thick foliages, pointed leaves and the wart-shaped stripes around. Apart from white, the stripes and speckles may also appear in distinctive colors like brown or red-ish. This small yet captivating plant is an evergreen shrub, with a short arrow-like leaf that can grow up to 8 inches wide.
Although it’s a popular indoor plant, like many other succulents, we rarely see zebra cactus flower. But do they bloom? Yes, the flowers are small and while in color. However, zebra plant propagation does not require its flowers. You can simply cut away the offsets with some roots still attached and then potted up in a new place.
Care Treatment to Grow Zebra Cactus Plant
One most viable requirement in growing a houseplant is easy to care. The Zebra haworthia is easy to care with little to almost no special treatment. It is, however, has several requisite points to take if you wish to grow the plant to its full potential.
Zebra haworthia is a drought-resistant plant that can grow on general hardiness. In the U.S, the plant is ideal to thrive on hardiness level of 9 to 10.
Choose Well-Drained Soil
Planting succulent on soil with good drainage is essential. In this sense, it’s better to go on with coarse sand, perlite, or vermiculite type of soil that is allowed to improve drainage. Zebra cactus also needs some nutrients so mix the sandy type with compost for additional organic support. While the shrubs can grow anywhere near your house, you can also plant it inside—a 6-inch pot with adequate holes will make a good place with a good drainage system.
At the top of the top, I recommend placing some pebbles or decorative gravel that will help maintain its moisture, let alone adding some visual improvement.
Should I Use Cactus Soil Mix?
One thing to keep in mind is that the zebra haworthia, just like any other succulent, has a hard time dealing with soggy roots. Yes, they take the water from their bottom part but absorbing is one of the best things they can do. The problem with this type of plant is oxygen, which travels slowly through water; so while the plant needs time to absorb the oxygen, the root becomes too wet and quickly rots.
In this sense, try to make your own cactus potting mix using peat moss and ground fir bark. Measure the equal amount of coarse sand, perlite, or vermiculite and mix them together until completely blended without any clods. Once blended, water the soil mix before filling up the pot and place your zebra cactus.
The soil mix is considered more effective in growing zebra haworthia plant because it dries quickly and delivers plenty of air required for the root. This perennial can grow well on the hardiness level of 9b, 10, and 11.
How Often Should I Water My Zebra Cactus?
Haworthia attenuata can survive for a very long time without water; they store the nutrients in the root. However, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect the watering aspect completely since it will leave the foliage to dry out and slowly kill the plant.
In terms of zebra cactus care, the best method is to water the plant once in a while—preferable in a month. You must suspect the plant to be thirsty if you notice the dry soil surface; try to touch them particularly when you’ve let them thirst for a while. Any sign of drying out requires immediate watering.
Zebra cactus can be very tolerant to drainage but gets overly sensitive of overwatering. Be sure to water the perennial regularly during its growing season that is mid-spring to early autumn (April to September). Only water the plant when the soil is too dreary during the winter.
Where Should I Place My Pot?
Yes, it takes the name of “cactus” but it doesn’t really like one. This plant is a succulent, and zebra succulent doesn’t like direct sunlight. It is, though, requires a bright light in order to thrive, but be sure not to place it outside in broad daylight—otherwise, you want it to wither. Any sign of yellowing leaves or foliage turns to brown is a sign of receiving too much sun.
The ideal way of giving zebra cactus its lighting support is to take them out during the “eastern morning sun” only. The rest of the day, you should put some shade over the windowsills. They do not like too much sun exposure but doesn’t live well in the dark shade.
Try to place the pot in the mediocre bright light with a room temperature between 10 and 25 degree Celsius. During spring and summer, the warmth must not exceed 26 degree Celsius; while during winter, you must keep the temperature so it won’t fall below 4 degree Celsius.
In general, zebra cactus is a relatively easy plant to grow and care. They are very strong and robust and can withstand almost any illness. Since there is no special care to treat the plant, you can grow it all year round without too much effort.