Fenestraria Rhopalophylla ‘Baby Toes’ Care Guide (2022)

baby toes succulent

Baby toes succulent are called such because of their cute appearance. The tubular green leaves grow in clumps looking like tiny toes.

It’s an easy-to-care-for succulent species that would grow well either indoors or outdoors. It’s botanically known as Fenestraria rhopalophylla and would go by common names such as Baby Toes or Window plant. 

Scientific NameFenestraria rhopalophylla
Common NameBaby Toes, Baby’s Toes, Window Plant
LightFull sun 
WateringSoak and dry watering method
TemperatureAt least 65oF (19oC)
Hardiness ZoneUSDA zones 10a to 11b
Humidity40% or higher
Soil TypeSandy, well-drained
Soil pHAcidic (4 to 6.5)
FertilizingLow-strength, balanced fertilizer, beginning of the growing season
RepottingRepot only when the plant has outgrown its container
PruningLate winter or early spring before the onset of new growth
PropagationSeeds or offsets
ToxicitySome individuals claim it to be highly toxic. Some consider it mildly toxic
Mature Size3 to 6 inches tall
Bloom TimeSpring to autumn

What’s Unique About Baby Toes Succulent?

One thing that makes baby toes succulent plant adorable is its transparent leaf tips often referred to as window leaves. The thick and fleshy body of the succulent contains less amount of green pigment making the rounded tips look almost see-through. Expose it to light and this unique characteristic will be more visible. 

This plant also produces attractive flowers in bright white or yellow colors. With proper growing conditions and maturity, you’ll witness the arrival of Fenestraria rhopalophylla flower in the Spring or Fall season. This adorable succulent species originates from the subtropical desert places of Namibia and South Africa.

Baby Toes Succulent Care

Being a succulent, there’s one major thing to remember about baby toes succulent plant care. Avoid frequent watering! If you do, your plant will quickly die out of root rot from overwatering.

Other than this, Fenestraria rhopalophylla care is generally easy to maintain. Just be mindful of the specific requirements discussed below.

Light

The baby toes succulent light requirements will differ depending on where you’re planning to set it up. It could be indoors or outdoors. If outdoors, this plant will certainly thrive under full sun. However, you may need to water frequently as the soil will easily dry with this condition. 

If indoors, bright light should be present. A south-facing window usually allows the most sun exposure. This is the best spot for growing baby toes succulent. If the light is lacking, you’ll notice that your plant will grow leggy. Hence, to fully satisfy the Fenestraria rhopalophylla light needs, expose it to sunlight for six to eight hours.

Watering

The proper technique when it comes to baby toes succulent watering is the soak and dry method. Since this species is succulent, it has the capacity to tolerate a drought condition for an extended period of time. You’ll notice that its modified stems are fleshy. That’s where they store moisture that they could utilize when it’s too dry. 

Water Fenestraria rhopalophylla only when the soil turns dry. It may take two weeks for that to happen. Once dry, soak the soil until it’s saturated. But don’t forget to drain the excess moisture.

Be careful to satisfy the watering needs as it can make or break your plant.

Temperature

The ideal Baby toes succulent temperature range should not go below 65oF (19oC). Proper temperature is important for the plant’s growth and development. Make sure that the location is well-lit or sunny. Locations under USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b provide the best temperature for Fenestraria rhopalophylla.

Since it has a temperature tolerance that can go as low as 25-30oF (-4 to -1.1oC), it can survive exposure to such low temperatures for a short period of time. However, you should avoid extended exposure because it will lead to irreversible damage. Remember that as a succulent, it contains a high amount of moisture that could make them freeze.

Humidity

Fulfilling the baby toes succulent humidity requirements is relatively easy due to its succulent nature. This plant naturally grows in desert areas where it’s mostly arid. Generally, a humidity level of 40% is enough to keep this plant happy and thriving. 

This makes this plant an ideal candidate for indoor setups where it’s drier and less humid. It won’t be difficult to achieve the ideal humidity for Fenestraria rhopalophylla in such an environment. Outdoors, you should choose a place where there is not so much moisture around. That condition could negatively affect your baby toes plant potentially leading to diseases. 

Soil

A perfect baby toes succulent soil should be well-draining. This property is of high importance as this could define the health of your plant. Remember that overwatering is the major enemy of succulents. And a  soil for Fenestraria rhopalophylla that drains well will avoid this problem.

There are various types of pre-made soil mix that you could buy in gardening stores. However, you can always create yours using a combination of one part perlite, one part sand and one part potting soil. The required ph level for Fenestraria rhopalophylla should be acidic, between 4 to 6.5. You can test this one using a pH meter.

Fertilizer

You may use any type of cactus and succulent food as baby toes succulent fertilizer. There are a lot of variants available in store. But make sure to dilute it with half amount of water so you’ll achieve the desired fertilizer ratio that won’t hurt the plant. 

Apply fertilizer for Fenestraria rhopalophylla early in the Spring season. Do this once as your plant doesn’t require so much feeding. It can even thrive in poor quality soils without trouble. Overfeeding can kill your beloved succulent, so please be careful. Don’t fertilize especially in the winter. This is your plant’s rest period.

Potting & Repotting

Proceed with repotting Fenestraria rhopalophylla once it has outgrown its current pot size. Begin this process by carefully taking the plant out of the container. It may be fragile so take some caution. Keep the roots intact but remove the old potting mix around it. 

Prepare the slightly larger container and fill in with a fresh potting mix. Plant the baby toes there. Ensure that all spaces are filled in with the soil. Water it thoroughly and drain well. Place it temporarily in a partly shaded area to avoid shock. 

Warning: If baby toes succulent repotting is not done well, your plant may experience severe stress and die.

Pruning

Generally, there’s no need to conduct baby toes succulent pruning on a regular basis. Since its leaves are rather fleshy and they grow in clumps, you would have to wait a certain time before you could trim down the whole plant to a smaller size. The process usually involves dividing the clumps into several portions.

Once you notice that there are some odd appearances in the leaves, you may take them off. Common problems would include discoloration or even rotting of certain parts of the foliage. 

Pro-tip: Always disinfect the shears you’re about to use in cutting Fenestraria rhopalophylla to avoid spreading diseases.

Propagation

Once the number of offsets are relatively many, baby toes succulent propagation may now proceed. From the main parent plant, you’ll see small baby toes around. You can simply cut and let them be callous for 2 days. Plant them separately in a potting mix and water well. 

These offsets shall develop their own roots and grow as an independent plant. This method is easier and time saving. It’s also possible to propagate Fenestraria rhopalophylla using seeds. However, this method will take time and has a lower chance of success than just using the offsets. So, it’s more convenient to propagate asexually.

Common Problems of Baby Toes Succulent

Problems with Fenestraria rhopalophylla will arise once the environment gets stressful for them. Sometimes, if you started with a plant that has low vigour, you’ll start seeing baby toes succulent problems when they’re young. Most of the time, they are manifested on the leaves like browning, premature falling or even cracking.

Pests 

Most of the baby toes succulent pests that you’ll encounter are pretty common for ornamental plants. These are bugs like mealybugs, scales and aphids. Normally, these pests go unnoticed at first. You’ll only spot them once they’ve grown in numbers. 

We recommend that you check your Fenestraria rhopalophylla every once in a while to see if these pests are present. Since they’re tiny, it will be difficult to remove them one by one. You can use a cotton dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe them off the succulent. Spraying soapy water is also effective. Do it repeatedly until you get rid of them.

Diseases

Bacterial rot of the stem base and root rot are two of the serious baby toes succulent diseases. They are caused by pathogens that can be found in unsterilised soil mix or transmitted through water splashes or disinfected tools. If left untreated, they can cause the plant to die.

These diseases will start to manifest once the condition becomes favourable for the pathogens to reproduce and take action. If your Fenestraria rhopalophylla is constantly overwatered, it has a high chance of acquiring these diseases. Thus, it is always smart to keep an eye on the plant’s environment. Remember that succulents are happier when there is less moisture around.

Growing Problems 

It’s natural for succulents to grow slowly. However, it’s also possible that they are experiencing certain growing problems. Such includes stunted growth, lack of vigor and less vibrant appearance. There are many reasons why you your succulent turned into being a sick plant. Sometimes, it’s a combination of many factors. 

If your plant isn’t dormant but is still having trouble growing, check the soil and the roots. It can be possible that the roots aren’t healthy due to watering issues. If the leaves aren’t that vibrant and they turn leggy, it may be due to lack of exposure to bright light. 

Toxicity of Baby Toes Succulent

There’s no definite conclusion whether the Fenestraria rhopalophylla is non-toxic or toxic to pets and humans. The literature has no agreement about this. However, the better solution would be to take caution and assume that this plant can be toxic. This way, you can be saved from future troubles involving toxicity.

For Humans

Since it’s not clear whether this plant is toxic or not to humans, it’s better to make the assumption that it can potentially be harmful. It’s always best to take precautionary measures through proper handling. Use protective gloves to avoid direct contact with the plant’s sap.

If you have children around, place this succulent somewhere they can’t reach. The last thing we want is for them to take interest and have a taste of those fancy leaves. We don’t know what potential danger it may bring to them. If in case they ingested and showed unwanted symptoms, be prepared to seek medical help.

For Pets

The same assumption could be applied with pets. Since we aren’t sure about the plant’s toxic properties, it’s wise to just assume that it may bring health troubles to your furbabies. The good news though is that most animals aren’t interested in succulents. 

Nevertheless, we advise that you keep it away from your dogs and cats. Find a more secure location where your baby toes succulent plants can thrive in peace. This will benefit both the plant and the pets you have at home. 

If for some unavoidable circumstances these pets consumed the plant and become ill, bring them to your veterinarian for treatment.

Baby Toes Succulent Appearance

The most notable part of the baby toes succulent appearance is the window-like characteristics of the leaves. They grow in clumps of tubular structures. From atop, you’ll notice that they look like toes, hence, the name. It also produces showy and highly attractive flowers making it one of the favourite indoor succulent species.

Foliage

The foliage of baby toes succulent is really fancy and adorable. They are thick and fleshy which is a very common characteristic for most succulent species. They use these tubular leaves as storage for water. With such, they can go for long periods even with less watering involved. 

The tips of these tubes are transparent. Since they grow in clumps, you’ll see from the top view how those tubes look like tiny toes. Light could even pass through that window-like structure in each leaf making it truly unique. In fact, the word “Fenestra” is a Latin term that refers to a window. 

Flowering

Wait for the Spring or Late Fall season and you will witness your baby toes succulent flowering. That is if the plant is already mature. The flowers are daisy-like , having the colors of white or yellow. They look really pretty as if they are crowning the tubes of your baby toes. 

Blooming, however, doesn’t usually happen especially to those succulents kept indoors. But if not, that’s totally fine as the foliage itself is enough of a treat to the eyes. Now if you really want your succulent to produce flowers, give your best to provide the ideal growing conditions especially that of light.

Size and Growth

Succulent species are mostly low-growing and small. The size of baby toes succulent can reach about 3 to 6 inches tall. They don’t grow very tall. In fact, this plant will look cute in tiny pots which you can display on counters or tabletops, even beside a window. 

The growth rate is low and would take a few years before the mature size is achieved. But they certainly produce offsets around the mother plant. Hence, you’ll see that these small tubes grow in clusters. If your baby toes grow leggy, that’s not a very good indication. It means that the plant isn’t receiving enough light.

Baby Toes Succulent Fragrance

Expect nothing special when it comes to baby toes succulent fragrance. Although it looks very fancy outside, it doesn’t emit any noticeable scent. The smell is plain which is good for those who don’t like strong fragrances.

But if your plant is sickly, it’s possible that it will smell something odd. Root rot or stem base rot would have that unpleasant scent. In that case, you have to investigate and check the base or the roots.

There could be some serious trouble to expect. If they have that mushy appearance, then, your plant is definitely sick. If it’s still possible, report the plant. 

Suggested Uses for Baby Toes Succulent

Succulent species like baby toes will always make a perfect display indoors. You can have it planted in adorable containers and pair it up with other succulents to make a collection. Place it in the brightest spot so it can live happily.

Baby toes succulent is also a good item for gifting on special occasions. You can use it as giveaways during celebrations like weddings, baptism, birthdays and the like. 

Any bare table tops and counters will look more attractive if it has this succulent as the centerpiece. You can use this as an element depending on the type of interior design that you wish to achieve.

FAQ

What is baby toes succulent? 

Baby toes succulent is a species native to Namibia and Sound Africa. It’s botanically known as Fenestraria rhopalophylla. It’s characterized for having tubular and fleshy stems with a transparent tip. 

How to identify baby toes succulent? 

The shape of baby toes succulent is tubular. The body is fleshy and the top portion is translucent, almost window-like. This is because it has less green pigment. 

How to care for baby toes succulent? 

Provide bright light, less water and humidity along with warm temperatures. These are the basic things this plant needs to thrive. Use well-draining mix to avoid overwatering.

How to grow baby toes succulent indoors? 

Find the spot where it receives bright light. A south-facing window is a perfect one. If there’s not enough light, your baby toes will grow leggy which makes a very unpretty sight.

How to grow baby toes succulent outdoors? 

You can place it in an outdoor location with full sun. Six hours of direct sun per day will be fine. Check whether the soil is completely dry and give it a generous soak.

How fast does baby toes succulent grow? 

Baby toes are slow growers just like many other succulent species. It will take a few years before it reaches its maximum height. They’re also low-growing and small.

How tall does baby toes succulent grow?

A mature baby toes succulent will grow about 3 to 6 inches in height. It’s not really tall and they will do well when potted in small containers.

How to make baby toes succulent grow faster?

Proper lighting is important in keeping the plant healthy and thriving. Fertilize it once during the Spring season to give it a boost. And avoid overwatering at all costs.

How to stake baby toes succulent?

Since baby toes are small and low-growing, they won’t need any staking. You can leave the plant as it is. To prevent legginess, place it in a well-lit area.

How to pot baby toes succulent?

When potting the baby toes, you’d have to uproot the entire plant. If the clumps are thick, better to divide the baby toes. After removing the offsets, pot the mother plant in a larger container.

How to revive baby toes succulent? 

If it’s showing signs of root rot, better uproot the succulent to check the degree of damage in the roots. Trim down the rotten portion and report in a new container.

Why is my baby toes succulent dying?

This is probably due to root rot. This disease is very common in succulents because some gardeners tend to overwater. Root rot can lead the whole plant to die. 

Why is my baby toes succulent drooping? 

Baby toes tend to become droopy if it’s experiencing root rot or stem base rot. This problem arises when your plant is overwatered and the soil is constantly soggy.

How cold can baby toes succulent tolerate? 

Baby toes can tolerate a cold temperature as low as 25-30oF (-4 to -1.1oC). However, prolonged exposure will be harmful to your succulents.

How to get rid of pests on baby toes succulent?

When pests are present, the ways to get rid of them is to spray them off with soapy water or wipe them with a cotton dipped in alcohol. 

Is baby toes succulent toxic to cats? 

Sources about baby toes toxicity on pets are inconsistent. Some say it’s toxic while others say it’s safe. The best thing to do is assume this plant can be harmful. So, keep it away from your cats.

Is baby toes succulent toxic to dogs?

No definite information is available on this plant’s toxicity on pets. But this doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe. There’s still a need to be cautious and not let your dogs ingest this succulent. 

Is baby toes succulent toxic to children?

It’s unclear whether this species is toxic or not. So, we advise that you keep it away from your children’s reach. Warm them not to eat any portion of it.

Is baby toes succulent toxic to humans?

It’s not well-known whether baby toes are toxic or not to humans. But it’s best to take caution and assume that it may bring potential harm. It’s better to handle it with extra care.

Does baby toes succulent have a scent?

Neither the foliage nor the flowers of baby toes emit any noticeable fragrance. Hence, they’re considered to be unscented. It may, however, produce a foul odor if it’s experiencing stem base or root rot.

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