Haworthia reinwardtii f. kaffirdriftensis Description: Haworthia reinwardtii is a popular succulent species which is particularly priced for its darkish-green columnar rosettes speckled with white wart-like protuberances on the leaves. It is one of the best marked of all haworthias. This species is highly polymorphous and has been split over time in nine to twenty subordinates taxa, all possessing slightly different characteristics, and although nowadays the tendency is to just consider them all as forms of Haworthia reinwardtii, but non-botanists prefer to have a name for all their plants if they distinct enough to warrant one.
Habit: Haworthia reinwardtii is a small succulent plant proliferating freely from the base, forming small clusters or large mats. It is an exception among Haworthias because it produces rows of overlapping, spirally arranged, leaves completely coating an upright stem, so it looks like an elongated rosette.
Rosettes: 4-10 cm in diameter, caulescent, to 20(-35) cm tall, proliferating.
Leaves : Numerous, densely arranged, rigid, erectly spreading or incurved up to 7 cm long and 2 cm broad at the base, dull green to brownish-green usually with flattened white or greyish tubercles. The plants blush bronze when grown in bright light (but if they turn orange-red, they are getting too much).
Inflorescence: Wiry, simple or occasionally compound, to 30 cm tall.
Flowers: 15-20, rather small, whitish/greenish, tube obcapitate, curved, internal tepals revolute.
Chromosome number: 2n = 14. Haworthia reinwardtii present 2x, 3x and 4x degrees of polyploidy, and there is no relationship between the external morphology of the individuals and the polyploidy.
Related species: Haworthia reinwardtii is very closely associated with Haworthia coarctata. The differences between the two species are following: H. coarctata has tubercles smaller and more smoothly rounded, whereas in H.reinwardtiithey are frequently large and tend to be flattened and whiter. The forms of H. reinwardtii are often more striking because of the larger white tubercles.
Haworthia reinwardtii f. kaffirdriftensis Cultivation and Propagation: Haworthia reinwardtii is a proliferous species of easy cultivation and relatively low maintenance, forming clumps in nature. It is a good houseplant, and can be an excellent subject for the beginning succulentophile (they can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants, or in outdoor rockeries). It is a winter grower and is dormant in the hottest summer months. In cultivation it needs more sunny position to show its beauty.
Growth rate: Haworthia reinwardtii are relatively fast-growing plants that offsets freely to form small clusters quickly.
Soil: They are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A non-acid soil is ideal. You can grow a plant in a 10-15 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Exposition: The plant needs light shade to shade, but will take full sun part of the day. (with some sun exposure the leaf develops a nice reddish tint and remains compact).
Watering: During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Wet soil quickly causes root and stem rot, especially during chilly winter months. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Low ambient humidity is always needed.
Fertilization: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength.
Hardiness: Although the plant will survive mild frost if kept dry (hardy as low as -5° C) it should be protected from severe cold and prolonged frost conditions.
Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with Haworthia if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won’t help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Remarks: Haworthias are best planted in a shaded and airy part of the greenhouse, and not too close to the glass roof or sides of the house as the plants can overheat during hot spells.
Propagation: Haworthia are easily propagated by the removal of offshoots in spring or summer. They can also be grown from seed.