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Haworthia maxima


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Family: Asphodelaceae
Common names: seepaalwyn, kleinaalwyn, vratjiesaalwyn

Description

The plant is a succulent that looks like a miniature aloe. It grows in a compact rosette, is more or less stemless, and approx. 250 mm tall. Leaves are 140 x 20 mm. What makes this plant interesting are the raised , ± round, greenish white tubercles that are very conspicuous on the underside of the leaf surface. The flower spike is approx. 400 mm tall. The aloe-like flowers are brownish white in colour and waxy in texture. Flowering time is early summer, October/November. Seed ripens in February/March of the following year.

The plants live for about 30 to 40 years if they are looked after properly. Haworthia maxima is not endangered. It grows relatively slowly from seed and it takes about 5 years for a plant to reach flowering maturity.

Growing Haworthia maxima

Propagating from fresh seed is easy. Seed older than 18 months in most cases is not viable, unless kept under cool, dry conditions. Haworthia seed is similar to aloe seed, but much smaller.

Sow the seeds in April, . Sow in well-drained, rich loamy soil, sow no deeper than 30 mm. Water enough to keep the soil merely damp, ensure the growing medium is not soggy. A very wet growing medium will cause damping-off of the seedlings or result in the seeds rotting.

Viable seed should germinate with 21 days. Once the seedlings are strong enough, after about one year, transplant into containers. Initially keep strong sunlight off the young plants. Once the plants have adapted to stronger light they can be planted out in the open.

Pests include mealie bug, aphids and red spider mite. Aphids can be controlled by spraying with washing-up liquid soap. A mix of 10 ml liquid soap to 1 litre water is recommended. Mealie bug, can be effectively controlled by spraying with a mixture of methylated spirits and water. A mix of 10 ml to 1 litre water is recommended. Red spider mite is not so easy to eradicate, use recommended miticides for this purpose.

Plants can be fed with 2:3:2, bone meal and seaweed extracts.

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