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Haworthia Fasciata vs Haworthia Attenuata: What’s the difference?

Succulents really caught my eye with their beauty when I first encountered them. Haworthias, in particular, are pretty common and fascinating. Let’s chat about two types that look alike but have subtle differences.

First up is Haworthia attenuata. This one has unique markings on both the top and bottom sides of its leaves. Then there’s Haworthia fasciata, which is a bit different. It only has markings on the bottom (outer) side of its leaves, and the inner surfaces are smooth.

haworthia fasciata vs haworthia attenuata

Haworthia attenuata and Haworthia fasciata leaves

Haworthia fasciata Haworthia attenuata
Hardiness zone 10a – 11b 10a – 11b
Mature height  6-7 inches (15-17.5 cm) 8 inches (20 cm)
Mature diameter 6 inches (15 cm) 6 inches (15 cm)
Growth rate slow medium
Light exposure full, partial shade full, partial shade
Soil well-drained well-drained
Soil pH 5.8-6.3 7.0
Watering once every ten days once every ten days
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects

Leaves

Haworthia attenuata and Haworthia fasciata have some neat differences in their leaves.

H. attenuata’s leaves stand out with white bumps (tubercles) on both sides. In contrast, H. fasciata’s leaves have these tubercles only on the outer side, while the inner side is smooth.

Another cool thing is the leaf structure. H. fasciata leaves are full of tiny fibers, making them stiff. H. attenuata, however, doesn’t have these fibers, so its leaves are a bit softer. They stay firm thanks to a thick skin that also helps keep water in.

Size-wise, H. fasciata’s leaves are shorter and plumper, about 2.5-3 inches long and 0.6 inches wide, holding more water. H. attenuata’s leaves are longer, up to 5 inches, but just as narrow (0.6 inches wide).

One unique trait of H. fasciata is that its leaves tend to curl a bit over time, unlike H. attenuata. This curling gives H. fasciata a distinct shape, making it look a bit like Haworthiopsis reinwardtii.

Size and shape

haworthia fasciata vs haworthia attenuata

Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata

The leaf shapes of Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata lead to their unique growth habits.

H. attenuata tends to grow a bit taller with its elongated leaves. Its rosette can reach up to 8 inches (20 cm) in height and about 6 inches (15 cm) in width.

In contrast, H. fasciata is slightly shorter, usually not going beyond 7 inches (17.5 cm) in height. Its width, though, matches that of H. attenuata at 6 inches (15 cm).

This results in H. fasciata having a more spherical shape, while H. attenuata shows an elongated or oval growth style.

Another interesting point is the growth rate. H. fasciata grows slower compared to H. attenuata. So, if you’re aiming for a large, beautiful H. fasciata, it’ll require a bit more patience and care.

Haworthia attenuata has many more forms

Haworthia fasciata and H. attenuata differ mainly in the variety of forms and types they offer.

Starting with H. fasciata, it has three main forms. The first, H. fasciata f. browniana, features dark leaves with reddish-brown tips. The second, H. fasciata f. patensie, is known for its light green leaves and bright red tips, and it’s smaller than the typical form.

H. attenuata, on the other hand, boasts a wider range of shapes and varieties. One noteworthy variety is Haworthiopsis attenuata var. radula. It stands out with longer leaves, smaller yet more numerous tubercles, and sometimes shows variegation, making it highly prized among collectors.

Another fascinating form is H. attenuata f. clariperla, distinguished by its large white bumps, making the leaves almost half white. It’s a striking plant and fairly easy to find.

Then there’s H. attenuata f. tanba, a personal favorite. It has a yellow-green center and orange-red leaf tips. To bring out these colors, it needs plenty of light.

haworthia fasciata vs haworthia attenuata

Haworthia attenuata f. tanba

In summary, H. attenuata offers a broader selection and tends to be more beginner-friendly for collectors. While I’ve highlighted just a few, there are many other H. attenuata varieties out there to explore.

Soil

Haworthia fasciata naturally grows in areas with acidic soil, so mimicking that environment is key for its cultivation.

Acidic soil typically has a pH below 6. For H. fasciata to thrive, aim for a soil pH around 5.8, maybe a bit lower.

H. attenuata, however, prefers neutral soil, around a pH of 6.8.

This means that H. fasciata needs a bit more attention when it comes to soil preparation. To grow it successfully, you’ll need to adjust and maintain the soil’s acidity.

Propagation

Besides growing slowly, Haworthia fasciata also produces fewer offshoots compared to H. attenuata. Typically, an adult H. fasciata will generate around 4-5 new plants.

In contrast, H. attenuata is more prolific, capable of forming about ten new rosettes, nearly double that of its counterpart.

While this trait of H. fasciata might not be a significant concern for many, its slower reproduction rate contributes to its rarity in cultivation.

Distribution

Haworthia fasciata is a relatively rare species, and most of the plants sold under this name are actually Haworthia attenuata. It’s usually only avid collectors who have true Haworthia fasciata in their collections.

In the wild, Haworthia attenuata is found in a very specific area in South Africa, around the city of Makhanda. Despite its limited geographic range, there’s a substantial population of these plants there, so they’re not at risk of extinction.

Haworthia fasciata is also native to South Africa but is located a bit further south, near Port Elizabeth. The number of these plants in the wild is much smaller compared to Haworthia attenuata, which explains why fasciata is rarer.