Haworthia Limifolia: [Fairies Washboard] Growing and Care

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Haworthia Limifolia, (Fairies Washboard) are charming, compact succulent plants. These usual plants rarely exceed 4″ inches tall in a potted container, making it the perfect addition to a window sill or desk.

Potted Haworthia (fairy washboard) limifoliaPin
Haworthia limifolia Fairy Washboard

The name pronounced [ha-WORTH-ee-a lim-ih-FOH-lee-uh] with the names such as:

  • Fairies Washboard
  • Fairy washboard
  • Haworthiopsis limifolia
  • File-leafed Haworthia

It belongs to the Haworthiopsis genus, which includes the popular zebra cactus.

The plant’s specific epithet limifolia was derived from two combined Latin words, the verb “limes,” meaning “file” or “sharpen,” and the noun folia,” meaning “leaf.” Overall, it means “file-like leaves,” referencing the plant’s transverse ridges on the leaves. 

These compact plants, native to Southern Africa, including Swaziland, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and Southern Mozambique, and were first cultivated in the early 1900s.

In less than a hundred years, the Haworthia plants found their way from South Africa to homes across the globe.

Haworthia Limifolia Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Haworthia Limifolia
    Common Name(s): Fairy Washboard, File Leafed Haworthia
    Synonyms: Haworthia striata var. limifolia
    Family & Origin: Asphodelaceae family, native to South Africa
    Growability: Easy to grow
    Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-11
    Size: Grows up to 6′ inches tall and 8′ inches wide
    Flowering: Produces small white flowers in summer
    Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
    Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
    Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-80°F
    Soil: Well-draining soil mix
    Water: Water when soil is dry to the touch, avoid overwatering
    Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during growing season with a balanced fertilizer
    Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites, watch for root rot if overwatered
    Propagation: Propagate through offsets or leaf cuttings
    Plant Uses: Makes a great addition to succulent gardens or as a houseplant. Can also be used in terrariums.

Use these care tips for growing Haworthiopsis limifolia.

Haworthia Limifolia Care

Size and Growth

Unlike other Haworthia plant varieties, the plant tends to grow quickly but remains small. It rarely grows bigger than four inches in diameter and more than a few inches tall.

It features clumps of up to 20 rosettes of triangular leaves with distinct ridges. These distinct ridges resemble the texture of a washboard, giving it the common name – Fairies Washboard.

Varieties of the plant are available with light to dark green leaves.

The leaves also tend to have a slight curve, creating a spiral effect that is quite dizzying when looking at the plant from above.

Flowering and Fragrance

The plants produce flower clusters in the summer, but the flowers are not showy. 

They appear in a cluster from the top of a 14″-inch stem growing from the center of the rosette.

Haworthia fasciata generally resemble aloes but have unique blooms.

Light Conditions and Temperature

Haworthia fasciata grows outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

In cooler regions and humid climates, grow the plant indoors, where temperature and humidity are easily controlled.

It grows best in bright light and warm, dry climates but can tolerate partial shade outdoors.

Succulent with patterned leaves in a pot.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @roachpk

Indoors, place the plant on a windowsill that allows the plant to get lots of sunlight throughout the day without constant direct sunlight – no full sun!

In most regions, a west-facing or east-facing window should offer optimal sunlight for the plant.

NOTE: If the leaves turn white or yellow, the plant is getting too much sun. If the green color slowly fades, it’s not getting enough sun.

The plant does not tolerate frost.

If your location tends to get a breeze during winter, move it to a different spot or try to seal the opening.

Watering and Feeding

The Haworthiopsis limifolia doesn’t need frequent watering except during the summer. Water the plant evenly throughout the warmer months, as this is when the plant achieves most of its growth.

When the temperatures drop, and the plant goes into dormancy, it doesn’t need water as often.

In fact, limit winter watering to every other month.

Succulent plant in pot against green background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @mars.plant.shop

TIP: Avoid pouring water directly into the rosette, as it can collect and harm the plant.

Cactus fertilizer may be used during the summer to encourage healthier growth.

Soil and Transplanting

Grow the plant in succulent or cactus potting soil mix. Haworthiopsis limifolia needs fast-draining soil. Always use a pot with a drainage hole.

Don’t try to improve the soil by adding sand, as sand tends to clog the soil and limit drainage.

If you cannot get the cactus mix, combine regular potting soil with perlite, pumice, or gravel.

Transplanting isn’t needed unless the plant outgrows its current pot.

Maintenance & Grooming

The plant doesn’t need grooming. If it suffers from a disease and the leaves start to rot, trimming the rotten parts may be necessary.

Spotted aloe plant in a pot with pebbles.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @aridaria_

Haworthia Limifolia var Variegata

How To Propagate Haworthia

The easiest haworthia propagation method is from offsets.

The offsets appear naturally throughout the year and grow slowly. If not removed, they eventually crowd the mother plant.

In the early spring or summer, remove the offsets. Cut as close to the mother plant as possible.

Spiraled green succulent plant close-up.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @cores_raizes

Allow the offsets to dry for a day before planting them in individual pots. Use the soil from the mother plant and set the new plants in a warm, bright location.

Propagation with leaf cuttings is possible but does not always work. Choose one of the thicker leaves and cut close to the leaf base.

Allow the leaf to dry overnight. The next day, dip the cutting in roots hormone and place it in a pot. With luck, it should slowly take root.

Haworthia Pests or Disease Problems

There are no major threats to Haworthia limifolia.

The fairy washboard succulent is not considered an invasive species and is not toxic to people or pets.

However, any indoor plant can become the victim of aphids and mealybugs.

Spiral aloe plant in a pot.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @jamnchelle

To treat aphid or mealybug infestations, try wiping the pests away with a damp cloth. If there are too many bugs, use a diluted insecticide.

Suggested Succulent Fairy Washboard Uses

The tiny haworthia limifolia grows easily indoors when placed near a window. Place it directly on a large window sill or on a desk or shelf near the window.

In warmer regions, it may be grown outdoors in a rock garden or succulent garden. Just remember that it is not frost tolerant.

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