Fairy Washbord, File Leafed Haworthia, Fairies Washboard
Haworthiopsis limifolia (Marloth) G.D.Rowley is currently the accepted scientific name for this species. It was named and described as such by Gordon Douglas Rowley in Alsterworthia International, Special Issue 10:4 in 2013. It was first named and described as Haworthia limifolia by Hermann Wilhelm Rudolf Marloth in Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa in 1910. Plants of the World Online by Kew lists five accepted infraspecific names of Haworthiopsis limifolia.
Accepted intraspecific names of Haworthiopsis limifolia (5) (Updated 11-14-22 from Plants of the World Online): Haworthiopsis limifolia var. arcana (Gideon F.Sm. & N.R.Crouch) G.D.Rowley, Haworthiopsis limifolia var. gigantea (M.B.Bayer) G.D.Rowley, Haworthiopsis limifolia var. glaucophylla (M.B.Bayer) G.D.Rowley, Haworthiopsis limifolia var. limifolia (autonym), Haworthiopsis limifolia var. ubomboensis (I.Verd.) G.D.Rowley
The genus, Haworthiopsis G.D.Rowley, was also named and described by Gordon Douglas Rowley in the same publication as the species.
As of 11-17-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 19 species in the Haworthiopsis genus. It is a member of the plant family Asphodelaceae with 41 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
Although the accepted species name is currently Haworthiopsis limifolia, many websites still use the name Haworthia limifolia. Before, the two-lipped flowers were a distinguishing feature of the Haworthia genus. After extensive study, more detailed features of the flowers clearly identified three separate genera (Haworthia, Haworthiopsis, and Tulista). This certainly doesn’t mean the species won’t wind up back in the Haworthia genus at some point. You just never know… You can use whichever name you choose because both scientific names were validly published. It is just that Plants of the World Online by Kew (Royal Botanic Gardens) and whoever is in charge of plant names, says Haworthiopsis limifolia is now the accepted name.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AND GROWING RECOMMENDATIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I brought my Haworthiopsis limifolia home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 9, 2019. I bought the plant unlabeled so I posted a photo on the Facebook group Succulent Infatuation. It is so much easier than trying to figure out the name on my own. Within no time, a member replied with an ID. She said it was Haworthia limifolia aka. Fairy Washboard.
I did research and found the genus name had changed several years ago. One of the common names for Haworthiopsis limifolia is Fairies Washboard because of the leaves.
The plant is approximately 2 3/8” tall x 3” wide and is in a 3 7/8” tall x 4 1/2” diameter pot. The pot is fairly large for this size of plant, much larger than if bought from a garden center chain. I think Mr. Yoder buys a lot of his succulents in plugs then repots them. This plant may grow fairly quickly so this size of pot may be acceptable. We shall see. Wildwood Greenhouse had some of the best-looking plants of the four local greenhouses. Sadly, Mr. Yoder moved out of town.
WATER: Llifle says this plant prefers its soil to be kept moist (but not wet) during the hotter months of the summer. During the winter, the soil should dry out completely between watering. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. If using a saucer, make sure to empty it.
LIGHT: This plant also prefers light shade to shade. In brighter light, the leaves take on a reddish tint and too much sun will make its tips burn.
ROT: Llifle says, “Rot is only a minor problem if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.”
SOIL: They need a very fast-draining, porous potting mixture. I used 2 parts Miracle Grow Potting Soil with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite for many years. Sometimes I use about 50% Miracle Grow Potting Soil and 50% pumice. Many succulent enthusiasts recommend pumice over perlite which floats to the top of the potting soil. Pumice takes the place of both perlite and grit and also adds nutrients to the mix. There are a lot of cactus and succulent soil recipes online and most people kind of experiment. Pumice also floats to the top of the potting soil just like perlite.
I had to move the potted plants inside on October 11 because an “F” was in the forecast. I always take photos of all the plants and measure the cactus and some of the succulents when I move them inside. The Haworthiopsis limifolia measured 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/8″. It measured 2 3/8” tall x 3” when I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in May. I have not repotted this plant since I brought it home because it was in a large enough pot already. I think it was probably bought as a plug then repotted at Wildwood… SOOOO, I should have checked to see if its roots are bound up inside a net. Hmmm… I didn’t think about it until I updated the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ page…
I repotted several of the cactus and succulents after they were moved inside for the winter. I think Fall is a good time to repot so the potting soil stays nice and loose for the winter. Even though the Haworthioposis limifolia didn’t need a larger pot, I decided I would check to see there was a plug wrapper around its roots. Sure enough, there it was…
A few of the larger roots had penetrated the wrapping but most of them were cramped up inside. When repotting your plants it is a good idea to check to see if they were grown in a plug and to remove the wrap if it is there.
Now the Haworthiopsis limifolia and its offsets are safe and sound…
I had to move the plants inside because an “F” was in the forecast. As always, I took photos and measurements. The Haworthiopsis limifolia and its kids have done very well over the summer and measured 4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide when I brought it inside.
It is somewhat hard to get good photos of the raised transverse ridges on the leaves that give this species its common names. Very neat!
The Haworthiopsis limifolia has continued to do well and was 4 1/2″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide when the above photo was taken on 8-17-21. Normally, I take photos and measurements of the potted plants as I move them inside for the winter in October.
The Haworthiopsis limifolia was still looking great on October 16 in 2022 when I moved the potted plants inside for the winter. It has grown to 5 1/8″ tall x 6″ wide.
This plant has been great and there have been no issues with it.
Origin: South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25-40° F)
Size: Up to 12” tall x 3-5” wide. 12” tall? Hmmm…
Light: Light shade to shade.
Soil: Very well-draining mix. Potting soil amended with pumice or grit and perlite.
Water: Regular watering during the summer as with most plants and when the soil is dry during the winter. This is a little different than most succulents.
Haworthiopsis are native of the Eastern Cape Provinces in South Africa where they grow in grassy areas among small shrubs. In this situation, they receive filtered light. Many websites say they need bright light or full sun, but that is not likely the case. If you grow this plant in full sun, the leaves will likely burn. Of course, that depends on your location and how long they are in the sun… I don’t really have many succulents that “prefer” full sun over light to part shade here in midwest Missouri (USA), so they stay on tables on the front porch from May through mid-October on the west side of the house. They receive bright light but not full sun. There are periods of time in the afternoon where they get a little direct sun which also depends on where they are situated. They may get moved around a bit depending on their requirements.
You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cactus and succulents.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cactus and succulents.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you can. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.