They say “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”. One look at the Fenestraria succulent and you know the adage is true. Fenestraria is a unique and charming succulent that can make any space come alive. It can be both an outdoor and indoor plant and will instantly add a lot of oomph to your living space.
Types of Fenestraria
Fenestraria rhopalophylla is an evergreen mat-forming geophyte, mainly subterranean with just the tips of the leaves appearing above the soil. Fenestraria is a monotypic genus comprising only one species and one subspecies. On each leaf of this plant, there is a transparent window-like area at the top, it is for these windows ( in Latin “fenestra”) that the genus name is derived from.
Flowers are medium-large, white to yellow, solitary or in groups of up to three. They are borne on long pedicels, five sepals with membraneous margins are present, many petals occur in one to several whorls, fine stigmas spread up from the center of the flower.
Fenestraria rhopalophylla appears very similar to Frithia pulchra, though the leaves are a slightly different shape and F. rhopalophylla has white to yellow flowers, compared to the pink flowers of F. pulchra.
Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca
Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca distinguishes for the flowers that are bright golden yellow colored (never white).
Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca cv. Fireworth
Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca cv. Fireworth has very large orange flowers, larger and more intensely colored than in the regular fenestrarias.
1,000 Types of Succulents With Pictures
How Do You Care For Fenestraria rhopalophylla?
Fenestraria baby toes or Fenestraria rhopalophylla resemble the toes of a small baby arranged vertically in a cluster. They are gorgeous and different and the waxy greens just look too endearing.
The good news is that these succulents do not need as much care as a baby needs. That’s a relieving piece of information! They are easy to grow and adapt well to the environments they are propagated in.
Baby toes thrive in bright sunlight. If you are nurturing them as outdoor plants, aim for a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight every day. You need to inoculate them from scorching sunlight and heavy rains. If you are keeping them indoors, make sure you place them near a window that gets bright, indirect sunlight.
If you don’t meet these light needs, you may notice the succulent turn leggy and less waxy, losing its sheen.
Baby toes are good at storing water for long periods. Hence, you don’t have to water them very frequently. Simply follow the signs that the plant gives to ensure its watering needs are met.
If the top layer of the soil it is potted in shows cracks or dryness, you can water the plant. Similarly, if the leaves look too shriveled or dry, you ought to water the plant.
However, overwatering is not recommended at all, as it may lead to cracks in the leaves and rot in the roots. Similarly, summer and spring months demand more water as opposed to winter months when the plant is in a state of dormancy.
You can fertilize your Fenestraria succulents in the spring season. Keep the fertilizer light and sprinkle sporadically on the plant. A heavy fertilizer is not needed and technically speaking, the plant does not have severe fertilization needs.
A well-drained, succulent mix works ideally for baby toes. Do not go for soil that retains a lot of moisture as this will lead to rot in the roots. You need to ensure the soil has the right aeration and for this, consider adding pumice and sand to the potting mix.
Pests and Diseases
Overwatering and underwatering can make the plant susceptible to rots and diseases. Hence, it is important to get the watering right. Too much water can also lead to mealybug infestation.
Gently spray the plant with a mild insecticide in case you spot any untoward signs. However, prevention is the best cure and you should ensure you provide the plant with the right growing conditions to avoid pests and diseases.
How Do You Propagate Fenestraria rhopalophylla?
Propagating Fenestraria rhopalophylla is easy and can be done from the stem of a mature plant. Follow these steps for best results:
- Cut a stem from a mature baby toe cluster.
- Let the stem dry out well.
- Create a good potting mix simultaneously and once the stem is dry, plant the stem in the mix. Make sure you don’t plant the stem too deep to avoid rot.
- Water the plant periodically and do not forget to place it in indirect sunlight.
Sometimes, people use seeds to propagate baby toes but stems are easier and therefore, a more popular method to propagate the succulent.
Though we have covered all the key aspects of growing and caring for the Fenestraria succulent, here are a few commonly asked questions about the plant curated just for you. Read on!
Are Baby Toes Toxic to Cats?
Baby toes are pet-friendly succulents and definitely not toxic to cats. It is a myth that these are toxic to animals and some sources list them as such. This may be because these sources have confused them with other harmful succulents.
However, since these are low-growing succulents, it is best to keep them out of reach from your cat. So you need to choose the spot wisely because animals are curious and may pull at them.
When Should I Repot My Baby’s Toes?
The first thing one needs to ensure while repotting baby toes is to be careful to not break its roots while changing containers. If the roots get damaged, the succulent won’t flourish. Since these are slow-growing plants, you don’t need to repot them frequently. You should repot it only when the plant has outgrown its container.
The choice of the new container is an important one and you must go for a pot or container that has several drainage holes to keep the soil aerated at all times.