Haworthia Fasciata vs Haworthia Attenuata: Which Zebra Haworthia Is Better?

When I first saw succulents, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of these plants. Among them, one of the most common is haworthia.

I prefer Haworthia retusa the most. But in my collection, there is also Haworthia attenuata.

Unfortunately, my climate does not allow me to grow succulents outdoors, so almost all of them grow on the windowsill. The only exception is sempervivum, which I grow in the garden.

Like most of you, I have wondered: What is the difference between Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata? They are very similar, so my curious mind wanted to know their differences, and that’s what I found out.

First of all, Haworthia fasciata is quite a rare species. Most of the plants sold under this name are Haworthia attenuata. Only avid collectors have Haworthia fasciata in their collections.

However, this is not the only difference between these haworthias. They have many differences, which I will tell you about today.

Before we consider the differences, let’s recall what these plants are and where they grow.

Both of these haworthias are succulent plants, which means that they store water in their leaves and withstand more prolonged periods of drought. However, as soon as water appears, they quickly replenish reserves and are capable of a new period of dryness.

In nature, Haworthia attenuata is found in a very limited land area, namely in South Africa near the city of Makhanda. Although there is a large population of these plants in this area, there is no threat of extinction.

Haworthia fasciata is also common in South Africa, but a little further south, near Port Elizabeth. The population of these plants is much smaller than the population of Haworthia attenuate, which is one of the main reasons for its rarity.

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 are the main difference between these two species

Haworthia attenuata and Haworthia fasciata leaves
Haworthia attenuata and Haworthia fasciata leaves

The leaves of H. attenuata have white tubercles on both sides of the leaf. At the same time, H. fasciata has white tubercles only on the leaves’ outer side, and the inner side is smooth.

Although not always, the inner part of the leaves of H. fasciata has no bumps. It all depends on the growing conditions, and sometimes these tubercles may appear.

Just like H. attenuata can sometimes have a relatively smooth inside. For example, my H. attenuata has small bumps inside that do not have a white color.

But in most cases, H. fasciata will have a smooth surface on the inside of the leaves, and H. attenuata will not. If the plants grow in the same conditions, then you can distinguish these two species.

The second difference between the leaves is the inner fibers. The leaves of H. fasciata have a fibrous structure, which means that they are permeated with thin fibers that give them stiffness.

H. attenuata has no fibers inside the leaves, so they are a little softer. The stiffness of the leaves is provided by the thick skin, which also prevents water loss.

Besides, the leaves of H. fasciata are slightly shorter. Their length is 2.5-3 inches (6-8 cm) and width 0.6 inches (1.5 cm). Also, the leaves are slightly thicker, i.e., contain more water.

Whereas the leaves of H. attenuata are elongated and can reach 5 inches (13 cm) in length. Simultaneously, their width is the same as that of the competitor (0.6 inches).

The additional feature of the leaves of H. fasciata is that over time they tend to curl slightly, which is not the case with H. attenuata. As a result, H. fasciata has a more unusual shape and becomes similar to Haworthiopsis reinwardtii.

Size and shape are different

Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata
Haworthia Fasciata and Haworthia Attenuata

Due to the different shapes of the leaves, Haworthia fasciata and Haworthia attenuata have different growth habits.

H. attenuata has a more elongated shape. The rosette height can reach 8 inches (20 cm), and the width will be 6 inches (15 cm).

On the other hand, H. fasciata reaches a height of not more than 7 inches (17.5 cm). The width is the same as the competitor, i.e., 6 inches (15 cm).

From all the above, it follows that H. fasciata has an almost spherical shape while H. attenuata has an elongated (oval) growth habit.

However, this is not all. H. fasciata has a slower growth rate than its competitor. So to get a beautiful big H. fasciata, you have to spend more time and effort.

Another feature of H. fasciata is that sometimes older plants can grow upwards and form a columnar shape. This means that the plant may lose its original spherical shape and become like a trunk. But, this does not happen often.

Haworthia attenuata has way more forms

One of the most significant differences between Haworthia fasciata and H. attenuata is that the latter has many more forms and varieties.

Let’s start with Haworthia fasciata. This species, in addition to the typical form, has two more. The first is H. fasciata f. browniana; it has dark leaves and reddish-brown leaf tips.

The second form is H. fasciata f. patensie; it has light green leaves, and bright red leaf ends. The size of this form is smaller than the typical one.

With Haworthia attenuate, everything is different. This species has a large number of different shapes and varieties.

The first form to pay attention to is Haworthiopsis attenuata var. radula. It has longer leaves than typical and smaller tubercles on the leaves, but their number is much larger. Also, this form can be variegated and, in this case, has a very high value among collectors.

The second exciting form is H. attenuata f. clariperla. It has large white bumps on the leaves as they make it almost half white. This is a very spectacular plant and if you want you can easily find it.

Haworthia attenuata f. tanba
Haworthia attenuata f. tanba

Finally, let me introduce H. attenuata f. tanba. In my opinion, this is one of the best forms of this species. It has a yellow-green center of the rosette and orange-red tips of the leaves. However, to get such colors, you need to give enough light to this plant.

This chapter concludes that H. attenuata offers more options to choose from and is more accessible to novice collectors. There are many other varieties of H. attenuata that I did not mention here, but you can find them online and make sure that the choice is significant.

Haworthia fasciata needs acid soil

In the area where H. fasciata was found, acidic soil predominates. Therefore, for proper cultivation, you need to ensure an appropriate soil acidity.

Acidic soil is considered to have a pH of less than 7. For this haworthia to be comfortable, the soil’s acidity should be approximately pH 6 or slightly less.

At the same time, H. attenuata prefer a neutral soil, i.e., the acidity should be about pH 7.

Therefore, H. fasciata has additional soil requirements. To successfully grow it, you have to acidify the soil. This is not difficult to do, but still, you have to spend a little more time and effort. In this regard, with H. attenuata, everything is easier.

Haworthia attenuata form more daughter plants

In addition to the slow growth rate of H. fasciata forms less daughter plants than the competitor. An adult H. fasciata usually gives birth to 4-5 new plants.

At the same time, H. attenuata can form about ten new rosettes, which is almost twice more than a competitor.

For many of you, this feature of H. fasciata will not matter much. But the slow reproduction is one of the reasons for the rarity of this species in culture.

Igor Viznyy

Hi friends, I have been growing plants for many years and love doing it. You can find more information on the page About Author.

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