If you are looking for a unique, low maintenance plant, look no further than the tiger jaws succulent (Faucaria tigrina). Named for its spiky leaves, which give it the appearance of a fanged animal's jaws, the tiger jaws succulent is revered among houseplant collectors and amateurs alike. While the spikes on their leaves may look intimidating, they are actually soft and harmless and are designed to help direct moisture from the air down into the roots of the plant.
If you have experience growing other succulents like aloe or haworthia, you will have no problem growing a tiger jaws succulent. Generally speaking, the same best practices in terms of light, water, and propagation apply!
|Botanical Name||Faucaria tigrina|
|Common Name||Tiger Jaws Plant, Shark Jaws Plant|
|Mature Size||3 inches tall|
|Sun Exposure||Direct sun|
|Soil Type||Well draining, cactus soil|
|Soil pH||6.6 to 7.5|
|Bloom Time||Fall, early winter|
|Native Area||South Africa|
How to Grow a Tiger Jaws Succulent
Tiger jaws succulents, also known as shark jaws succulents, are hardy, slow-growing succulents that can thrive indoors if they are given the right conditions. Native to Eastern Cape province in South Africa, tiger jaws succulents can be found growing amongst rocks and clay soil in the subtropical deserts of the area. Their growing season begins in the spring and lasts throughout the summer, and they display brilliant yellow flowers during the fall—although it is uncommon for them to flower when grown indoors. Tiger jaws succulents are not toxic to animals or humans, however, snacking on the plant is not encouraged so be sure to supervise curious pets or children when growing a tiger jaws succulent.
Tiger jaws succulents are not prone to any specific pests or diseases, however, they can easily develop root rot if they are overwatered or exposed to too much humidity. Key signs of root rot include brown spots on the leaves and near the base of the plant, as well as mushy leaves or stems. Give your tiger jaws succulent a bright, sunny spot in your home and they will thrive.
Like most succulents, tiger jaws succulents require porous, well-draining soil to thrive. In their natural habitat, tiger jaws can often be found growing in open, rocky areas with clay soil. Indoors, however, a standard cactus soil or a 1:1 mixture of potting soil and perlite is sufficient.
Tiger jaws succulents are sun-loving plants that require at least three hours of bright, direct light a day. Moving the plant outside during the summer will help it get the light that it requires. While it is uncommon for tiger jaws succulents to bloom when grown indoors, placing the plant outdoors during the summer will help to increase the chances of flowering. Tiger jaws succulents can tolerate less light during the winter months, but should still be placed in a bright location.
During their growing period (April - August), tiger jaws succulents should be watered more frequently and the soil should be kept lightly moist at all times. During the fall and winter, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
Temperature and Humidity
In their native habitat, tiger jaws succulents grow in dry, hot conditions. However, they are also able to tolerate lower temperatures than many other succulent species. When grown indoors, the average household humidity is adequate for tiger jaws succulents, but they should not be exposed to too much humidity (so a bathroom probably isn't an ideal spot for these succulents!). During the growing period, tiger jaws succulents require higher temperatures (69 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) than they do in the winter months (60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
Tiger jaws succulents do not require regular fertilizing. In fact, too much fertilizer can result in unbalanced, mushy growth that causes the plant to look leggy or break apart. However, during their active growing period (April to August) tiger jaws succulents can be fertilized once or twice with a diluted liquid fertilizer to help support new growth.
Potting and Repotting
Tiger jaws succulents are slow growers, and therefore do not require frequent repotting. They should be repotted only when they have outgrown their previous container—approximately every two years or so. When repotting a tiger jaws succulent, remember to use shallow potting containers as tiger jaws have shallow root systems. You should also ensure that the pot you are using has drainage holes as tiger jaws succulents will rot if left sitting in water in their potting container.
Propagating Tiger Jaws
Similar to aloe plants and haworthia succulents, tiger jaws succulents are propagated by separating offsets from the main plant. It is best to propagate tiger jaws during their active growing period, in the late spring or early summer. When separating offsets, you may be left with some plants that do not have any of their own roots attached. These offsets should not be placed in the soil right away, but instead should be left to callous over before being repotted. Once the base of the offset has hardened, it can be placed into the soil as a regular plant would.
Newly propagated tiger jaws succulents should be placed in medium light and watered less frequently as their root systems develop. After a couple of weeks, they may be gradually introduced to bright, direct light and treated as a regular tiger jaws plant.