How to Grow and Care for Baby Toes Succulents

These adorable succulents and low-maintenance and thrive on neglect.

Baby toes succulents (Fenestraria rhopalophylla) close up shot from above.

shihina / Getty Images

These adorable succulents truly live up to their nickname: Baby toes succulents (Fenestraria rhopalophylla) are small, clump-forming succulents that are native to Africa. They are classified as window-leafed succulents as the top of the leaves are transparent due to a lack of green pigment, which allows light to pass through the thick, fleshy leaves. Adding to their attractive nature, these succulents produce delicate white or yellow flowers in the spring and fall months. 

  Botanical Name Fenestraria rhopalophylla 
Common Name  Baby toes succulents, window plant 
Plant Type  Succulent 
Mature Size  3 in. tall 
Sun Exposure  Full 
Soil Type  Sandy, well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic 
Bloom Time  Spring, fall 
Flower Color  Yellow, white 
Hardiness Zones  10a, 10b, 11a, 11b 
Native Area  Africa 
Toxicity  Toxic to pets
Fenestraria rhopalophylla aka baby toes succulent bright yellow flower.

shihina / Getty Images

Baby Toes Succulent Care

Baby toes succulents require typical succulent care: full sun and infrequent watering. As long as 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, while they are dormant in the summer months.

Light

Baby toes succulents require full sun when they are grown indoors and outdoors. Ideally, they should get at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight every day to encourage healthy growth and prevent legginess. If you are growing baby toes succulents indoors, you may need to provide them with a grow light to ensure they are receiving enough light throughout the day.

Soil

These succulents are susceptible to overwatering and should be planted in a well-draining, sandy soil mixture to help control moisture around the roots of the plant. 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.

Water

Baby toes succulents are drought-tolerant and do not require frequent watering. The soak and dry watering method is ideal for these succulents. 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 they should be watered sparingly during this time 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 are not frost-tolerant. 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.

Fertilizer

Be careful not to over-fertilize baby toes succulents as they are sensitive to fertilizer burn. These succulents can tolerate poor-quality soils and do not require regular fertilization. If desired, however, they can be fertilized 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.

Are Baby Toes Succulents Toxic?

There is conflicting information available about the toxicity of baby toes succulents. In the absence of a confirmed, non-toxic label, it is best to exercise caution with baby toes succulents around children and pets.

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 as you will need to divide the roots as well. Once the roots of the plant 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 plant them in the soil right away.

Potting and Repotting Baby Toes Succulents

Baby toes succulents are slow-growing and do not require regular repotting. Repot only once the succulent has outgrown its previous potting container. When choosing a new potting 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 deep potting dishes. 

When repotting a baby toes succulent, be careful not to break any of the delicate roots or accidentally separate the succulents from one another. Gently loosen any compacted soil around the roots and provide the succulent with fresh potting soil. Water the freshly repotted baby toes succulent thoroughly.

Common Pests and Diseases

As with most succulents, baby toes succulents are not bothered by too 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 also sensitive to root rot so ensure that the soil is well-draining and the pot has adequate drainage to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged.