Haworthia fasciata, Zebra Plant, is a small South African succulent that can withstand some sub-zero temperatures if given perfect drainage. Hardier than most people realise but not fully hardy in most UK conditions, it is capable of withstanding frost down to about -4C bringing it within the range of many coastal areas in the south and southwest and many inner city London gardens. Beyond that a thick covering of horticultural fleece is required, a winter precaution that is sensible in all regions.
A diminutive plant, it has rosettes of thick fleshy leaves which have raised white ridges on the undersides giving the plant its popular common name. The upper surfaces of the leaves have small whitish tubercles. In summer, a long flower-stem is produced on which are borne tiny jewel-like white flowers with central green stripes. The scape is so long it quickly arches over, usually lying horizontally alongside the plant.
A useful addition to the xeriphytic garden, Haworthia fasciata needs careful positioning with other plants of a similar size and scale. Aloe aristata, Delosperma cooperi and Crassula sarcocaulis make good planting combinations for it. The addition of an larger plant nearby to give it some overhanging frost protection is a good idea and Aloe striatula is ideal in this respect. Of course, it can also be dug up, potted into a container and brought in for the winter. It has for years been grown like this as a window-sill houseplant but it really does deserve a more adventurous life out there in the garden. Bring it inside in the winter if you have to but give it a much-needed outdoors holiday in the summertime.
|Geographical Origin||South Africa: Eastern Cape: from Brandekraal to Port Elizabeth|
|Cultivation||Full sun to partial shade. Sheltered aspect. Some overhead frost protection from a larger plant is ideal. Free-draining substrate|
|Hardiness||Hardy down to about -4C with perfect drainage and if it has a sheltered aspect and some overhanging protection from frost from a nearby wall or shrub. Generous covering in thick-grade horticultural fleece is recommended or bring indoors for winter|
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