Zebra Plant: It Seems to Never Die

zebra plantVirtues: Zebra plant is a succulent houseplant that maintains its spiky shape and striped texture even where conditions are less than ideal. This spunky succulent is difficult to kill, yet it grows slowly, so it doesn’t need frequent repotting or much real estate.

Common name: Zebra plant

Botanical name: Haworthiopsis attenuata (formerly Haworthia attenuata)

Exposure: Bright light, though it can put up with a darker location

Season: Year-round as a foliage houseplant

Flowers: Small, tubular white flowers may appear from a tall, thin stalk that rises from the center of the rosette. This plant is grown for its foliage, though.

Foliage: Succulent, long, tapering leaves are dark green in color with bright white, raised stripes on both sides.

Habit: The leaves form an upright rosette generally 3 to 6 inches tall. New plants can form off of this rosette, popping up from the base. These can be separated to make new individual plants or they can be allowed to develop alongside the mother plant so that it becomes a wide cluster.

Origins: South Africa

How to grow zebra plant: Zebra plant can withstand long periods of drought, cool temperatures, warm temperatures, dry air and less than full light, making it an easy-to-please houseplant. It can take abuse, but here is its ideal care:

Place your zebra plant in bright light. Direct sun can scald the foliage, so avoid this position. Zebra plant is a succulent that stores water in its leaves. Pot it in a quick-draining potting mix—buy a kind designed for cactus or use an all-purpose potting mix and add grit or coarse sand. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly between waterings, then soak it well. When watering, direct the water at the base of the plant rather than letting it run over the leaves; if water gathers between the leaves it can cause rot.

Image credit: Suprecha Krujaroengit / EyeEm / Getty Images

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