These adorable succulents truly live up to their nickname: Baby toes succulents (Fenestraria rhopalophylla) are small, clump-forming succulents that are native to Namibia and South Africa. They are classified as window-leafed succulents because the top of their tube-shaped leaves are transparent due to a lack of green pigment that allows light to pass through the thick, fleshy tubes. Adding to their attractive nature, these succulents produce delicate white or yellow flowers in the spring and fall.
|Botanical Name||Fenestraria rhopalophylla|
|Common Name||Baby Toes, Baby's Toes, Window Plant|
|Mature Size||3 inches tall|
|Soil Type||Sandy, well-drained|
|Bloom Time||Spring, fall|
|Flower Color||Yellow, white|
|Hardiness Zones||10a, 10b, 11a, 11b|
|Native Area||Namibia and South Africa|
|Toxicity||Toxicity to pets is widely debated; exercise caution|
Baby Toes Succulent Care
Baby toes succulents require typical succulent care: full sun and infrequent watering. If you can provide these heat-loving succulents with enough sunlight, they are relatively low-maintenance. The active growing period for baby toes succulents is the fall, winter, and spring, and they are dormant in the summer months.
Baby toes succulents require full sun when they are grown indoors and outdoors. Ideally, they should receive at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day to encourage healthy growth and prevent legginess. If you are growing baby toes succulents indoors, you might need to provide a grow light to ensure they are receiving enough light throughout the day.
These succulents are susceptible to overwatering and should be planted in a well-draining, sandy soil mixture to help control moisture around the roots. A cactus or succulent soil mix is ideal and can be found at most nurseries and garden centers. You can also make succulent soil at home by mixing one part regular potting soil, one part perlite, and one part sand.
Baby toes succulents are drought-tolerant and do not require frequent watering. The soak and dry watering method is ideal. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly between waterings and then water deeply until water streams out of the drainage holes of the pot. Baby toes succulents are dormant in the summer so water them sparingly during summer to prevent root rot.
Temperature and Humidity
These desert-dwelling succulents are hardy in USDA zones 10a to 11b. They appreciate hot, dry climates and do not tolerate frost. If you are growing these succulents outdoors in a climate that experiences cold winters, it is best to grow them in containers so that they can be moved indoors for the winter.
Be careful not to over-fertilize baby toes succulents because they are sensitive to fertilizer burn. These succulents can tolerate poor-quality soils and do not require regular fertilization. However, you can lightly fertilize them at the beginning of the growing season with a low-strength, balanced fertilizer to help encourage strong growth. Avoid fertilizing baby toes succulents during their dormant period.
Propagating Baby Toes Succulents
These succulents grow pups similar to haworthias and aloe veras and can be readily propagated by division. Baby toes succulents can also be grown from seed, however, the seed is extremely hard to find from a reputable seller so it is easier to propagate from an established plant.
It is best to divide baby toes succulents while you are repotting them because you will need to divide the roots as well. Once the roots are exposed, gently divide offsets from the mother plant by teasing the roots away from the root ball. The offsets should have their own set of established roots, which will allow you to replant them immediately.
Potting and Repotting Baby Toes Succulents
Baby toes succulents are slow-growing and do not require regular repotting. Repot only when the plant has outgrown its container. When choosing a new container, keep in mind that the pot should have adequate drainage to prevent root rot. Also, keep in mind that baby toes succulents have shallow root systems and do not require a deep container.
When repotting a baby toes succulent, be careful not to break any of the delicate roots or accidentally separate the plant. Gently loosen any compacted soil around the roots and fill the new container with fresh potting soil formulated for succulents. Thoroughly water the freshly repotted baby toes succulent.
Common Pests and Diseases
As with most succulents, baby toes succulents are not bothered by many pests or diseases. However, common pests such as mealybugs, scale, or aphids can be a problem for these fleshy-leaved succulents. Baby toes succulents are sensitive to root rot so ensure that the soil drains well and that containers have adequate drainage to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged.