The baby toes succulent (Fenestraria aurantiaca) is a cute, easy-to-grow plant that makes an adorable addition to any succulent collection. With proper care, it can thrive in a variety of indoor environments, and you may even find it spreading its baby toes like the classic String of Pearls succulent (Senecio rowleyanus).
If you’re looking to grow your own succulents but aren’t sure which one will work best, you’re in luck!
Fenestraria aurantiaca, also known as baby toes succulent, works well both indoors and outdoors as long as it’s kept in the right light and watered enough.
If you’re looking to try your hand at growing your own succulent plants at home, baby toes succulent might be the perfect fit for you!
A baby toes succulent makes an excellent addition to a terrarium or in dish gardens, but it requires special care to thrive and produce its beautiful purple flowers.
Origin and distribution
The baby toes succulent plant, a.k.a. fenestraria aurantiaca, is native to South Africa and Namibia, but is now cultivated as an ornamental succulent throughout most of tropical Africa and across Asia. It has also been introduced in Europe and America, where it seems to be on a bit of a wild rampage.
Baby toes succulent plants are hardy enough to thrive in zones 9-11.
The baby toes plant prefers full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic (pH 6.0–6.5). They do not like wet feet; they will rot if they sit in water for too long, but they’re pretty tough otherwise, so don’t worry about overwatering them!
Baby toes plants are perfect for growing indoors as houseplants. If you live in a cold climate, however, it might be best to grow your baby toes plants outdoors during the summer months and bring them inside before frost sets in.
Baby toes succulent propagation
Fenestraria succulents are usually propagated from offshoots, which can be planted and will root. They can also be propagated from seeds, but these take a long time to germinate, so it’s not very common. Propagation via leaf cuttings is possible but doesn’t work well in most cases.
The easiest way to propagate baby toes is by division. This method works best when you have multiple plants that are growing too close together or when you want to create new plants with different characteristics than those of your original plant.
You should only divide baby toes when they are dormant; otherwise, they may rot before they have a chance to establish themselves. In spring or fall, or anytime during winter if your climate stays warm enough, dig up your plant and remove any excess soil around its roots, being careful not to damage them.
Then gently pull apart each clump of roots into smaller sections, keeping as many intact as possible. Replant each section immediately after removing it from your parent plant.
Water gently after planting and keep an eye on your baby toes for signs of wilting or rotting over the next few weeks while they become established in their new homes.
Baby toes succulent care information
Baby toes succulents are one of a kind. They do not require much special care and are not difficult to grow at all. The plant is hardy and can be watered with ease. It is important to water baby toes succulents once a week but does not overwater them because they will rot easily.
This species does best in dry air conditions, so make sure that there is not too much humidity around when you have your baby toes succulents planted.
They require bright light. Ideally, they’d have natural, bright sunlight for at least four hours a day. If you can’t provide these conditions for them, be sure to use grow lights. At any rate, keep them away from artificial light sources like lamps or incandescent bulbs, these are much too intense for baby toes succulents and will burn them.
For baby toes, a standard succulent potting mix is best. The species originates from a dry area in South Africa, so it’s a good idea to keep them well-drained by using a soil mixture that drains well and isn’t too thick.
A cactus mix is perfect for Fenestraria aurantiaca because of its water-retaining properties; it will retain moisture for extended periods of time and provide plenty of nutrients for your plant.
Baby toes do well in any soil that is rich in organic matter and nutrients. They can tolerate varying levels of pH, but grow best when kept within 6.5 to 7.0.
Water baby toes succulents when soil is completely dry. These plants do not need frequent watering, so avoid over-watering them. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent root rot.
Water until water drains from holes in the bottom of the pot, then wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. If you want to test whether the soil is still moist, try sticking your finger in it.
Baby toes succulents do not require much fertilizer. Feed every other week with a balanced liquid fertilizer such as 10-10-10. New plants should be fed for 2 weeks straight after transplanting to ensure good root growth. This will also boost their ability to recover from the shock.
The baby toes are cold-hardy, so they can take a temperature drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Just make sure to bring them back up to their normal temperature quickly after letting them cool, because prolonged exposure to cooler temperatures will cause damage.
Also, be careful not to allow these plants to become too cold when you’re moving them from a hot location like your car into a cooler house during winter, they may become damaged if dropped below 50 degrees in that kind of transition.
Baby toes succulents need high humidity for proper growth. A humidifier can help with increasing overall moisture, but misting will also suffice. With that being said, you’ll want to make sure your substrate stays relatively dry and use a half-and-half mixture of pebbles and perlite or sand instead of water to keep moisture levels ideal. In addition, it is best not to keep baby toes succulents in an area with direct sunlight.
The ideal humidity range is between 50 and 70 percent. Humidity can be monitored with a hygrometer, which you can purchase at any garden center or hardware store. If your humidity levels are too low, place a humidifier in your baby toes succulent room to increase moisture levels.
In addition, misting will also help increase overall moisture. However, if your succulents have been exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures for an extended period of time, remove them from these conditions immediately and monitor their health closely.
Baby toes succulents can be pruned as desired. They can be shaped into a tree or shrub, or they can be kept short. When you are shaping it, try to keep all of your cuts flush with the soil level, and make sure they are evenly spaced out so that there aren’t any lopsided cuts that may rot or scar over time.
If you want to cut off parts of it, take small amounts at a time, and wait until new growth appears before taking more off. If you don’t have much experience with plants in general, I would recommend keeping them fairly low maintenance for now until you feel more comfortable handling them.
When to repot
Baby toes are slow-growing and generally don’t need repotting until they are about half their mature size. This is about every two years. Before repotting, you should consider how much time your baby toes have left to grow in their current container.
The more years you have before it becomes too cramped, or rootbound, to continue growing properly, the longer you can safely put off repotting it. If you feel like your plant has another year or two of growth left, then go ahead and wait. If not, then it’s time to repot.
Repotting a succulent isn’t as scary as it might seem, it just requires a little care so that you don’t end up with a pile of dead sticks at your feet! Be sure to choose a pot that will allow for plenty of room for growth, at least twice as big around as its current pot if possible.
The South African succulent plant Baby toes, or Fenestraria aurantiaca, is dormant during winter. Plants can be kept in their pots, with a minimum of 30% humidity and a temperature between 15°C and 18°C (60°F to 65°F).
They should be watered sparingly. It is best to reduce watering in October and November and allow them to dry out slightly during December and January. In February and March water moderately, but avoid getting water on the leaves.
In April resume normal watering, but do not fertilize until August or September. During dormancy plants may lose up to 50% of their leaves; new growth will appear from May onwards.
If your plants are flowering, you can prevent seed formation by cutting off flowers as they appear.
Baby toes succulent flower & fragrance
Baby toes produce yellow flowers with orange centers, which will then turn into a sweet aroma similar to that of ripe fruit. The blooms also make for interesting additions to flower arrangements! The plant itself grows roughly 10 inches high and 6 inches wide and is suitable for indoor and outdoor placement.
They are slow-growing. Plan on spending five to eight years for healthy baby toes succulent to reach 6 inches in diameter. Although it grows slowly, baby toes remain a very long-lived succulent with reported life spans of up to 50 years. However, as a slow grower, baby toes typically require little or no maintenance beyond occasional watering and repotting every couple of years.
Baby toes succulent plants are toxic and if consumed can cause serious side effects. Keep in mind that ingesting any part of your plant may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
The entire plant should be kept away from children and pets. If handling is unavoidable wear protective gloves at all times.
USDA hardiness zones
Baby toes succulent thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In these warmer climates, baby toes are considered an annual plant. If you live in a cooler climate, baby toes can be grown as a perennial.
This plant does not tolerate freezing temperatures well and will die if exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for too long.
Pests and diseases
Like any other plant, Baby Toes are susceptible to pests and diseases. Watch out for aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs; they can all wreak havoc on your baby toes.
Other pests to watch out for include scale insects, which look like bumps or brown spots; root mealybugs, which are very difficult to see because they’re underground; thrips; fungal infections; leaf spots; and bacterial infections.
It’s quite easy to take care of baby toes. They do not need extra water and they don’t need to be watered more than twice a month.
However, they should be misted with water twice a week because baby toes are succulents, which means that they store water in their leaves and stems. So it’s important to keep them moist by occasionally spraying them with water every once in a while.