How to Grow and Care for Baby Toes (Fenestraria Rhopalophylla)




Introduction: How to Grow and Care for Baby Toes (Fenestraria Rhopalophylla)

About: Hi! I'm a slightly feral mountain hermit that likes to be helpful. I do community management at Instructables & Tinkercad. 🙌

The Baby Toes plant (scientific name: Fenestraria rhopalophylla) is one of my most favorite succulents because of their ease of care! They grow happily in a sunny window and offer up gorgeous flowers when they're healthy.

I bought this Baby Toes about six months ago from a Lowes with some cacti. It was in really rough shape, on the bottom of a shelving unit in the middle of the store in the dark. Since I've been caring for it, it's quadrupled in size and bloomed for me too!

In this instructable I'll walk you through the basics of caring for a Baby Toes plant, including watering, soil type, and how much light to give your Baby Toes plant.

If there's anything I missed, please ask a question in the comments below!

Step 1: What Type of Soil Should I Use for Baby Toes?

Baby Toe plants have shallow roots and are very susceptible to root rot, so it is important to use a well draining cactus/succulent soil.

I'm currently using Black Gold cactus mix for my cacti and succulents - it contains pumice, perlite and sand which allows it to dry out quicker. I like this mix because I don't have to amend it with extra pumice, sand or rocks. :)

Make sure to avoid regular potting soil or any mix with loads of humus, loam or peat moss as these hold in moisture.

Step 2: How Should I Water My Baby Toes?

Baby toes are VERY easy when it comes to watering. The clear "windows" at the top of the leaves will begin to get soft and visibly wrinkly when the plant is thirsty. The actual leaves will wrinkle as well, but the windows are the easiest to see.

Baby toes can be watered from the bottom of the pot or by pouring water gently on top - I tend to go with watering the top. Pour water gently over and around the baby toes, continuing to soak the soil until you achieve runoff from the bottom of the pot. I like to put a saucer under the pot so I can catch any runoff easily. :)

Once the baby toes are watered, place the pot back on a dry saucer and allow it to dry out completely before watering again! I keep my baby toes in a west facing window and water them once a week.

Check out my "How and When to Water Your Plants" instructable for full details.

Step 3: Do Baby Toes Bloom or Flower?

Yes! This is one of my favorite parts about this plant. When your baby toes have nice established roots and enough light and water, they will send up flowers! So far this year I've had four blooms. Two white flowers, and two buds I'm still waiting to open.

Baby toes typically have yellow or white hued flowers. My most recent flower was a shade of very light pink at first and then turned white when it fully opened.

Baby toe flowers are also very reactive to light! They will open, close, and move frequently throughout the course of the day. They're awesome to watch!

When the flowers die, trim them off at the base of their stem so the plant can go back to putting energy into producing more leaves.

Step 4: How Much Light Does My Baby Toes Need?

Baby toes need quite a bit of light. I only recommend growing them in a windowsill or outside. (If growing outside, you need very warm temperatures year round. If you live in USDA zones 10a to 11b, baby toes will do well outside!)

Inside, a south facing window will offer the most sun. West and east facing windows are great, too! Northern facing windows will offer the least light, so I'd avoid those. You want your baby toes in bright light the majority of the day.

Outside, baby toes can grow in full sunlight. (But keep in mind that you may have to water them more often due to hotter temps and direct sunlight.)

Step 5: Other Tips for Baby Toes Care

Fertilizing Baby Toes

Baby Toes can handle a small amount of fertilizer. I typically dilute my standard organic fertilizer by half and apply it once a month when my Baby Toes is actively growing. In winter, you'll want to suspend fertilizer if the plant goes dormant and stops actively growing.

Propagating Baby Toes

This can be done from both the splitting of the the plant and by seeds produced after blooming, but the seedlings take forever to grow and are hard to keep alive. I recommend uprooting the Baby Toes plant and separating rooted sections with a sharp clean knife to propagate.

Finding the Right Pot for Baby Toes

Baby Toes need a pot that is similar in size to the actual plant. In most cases, a 4 inch pot will be more than enough room! These plants don't grow super fast or large, so a smaller pot will ensure you aren't overwatering your Baby Toes. I like to use terra cotta pots for my Baby Toes plant because it allows the soil to dry out faster. Avoid pots without holes - chances are you'll kill your plant by accident thanks to water sitting in the bottom between waterings!

Check out my instructable titled "How to Choose the Right Planter or Pot for Your Plant" for more information!

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    1 year ago

    question; I know you can but already growing succulents from the store, but do you know where to get seed, or how to start them? Thanks!


    Reply 1 year ago

    You can buy seeds for certain succulents online and for cacti both online and in garden centers, but I admit I have not been very successful in starting any myself! It's a long process and they're a little fussier than the vegetable and herbs I've started from seed. :)


    1 year ago

    I recently got Baby Toes and even though people say it’s easy to grow, mine is just not happy in my house. Not sure what to do next and if there is even any hope for it. I water it once every 3 weeks, i keep it inside since we are in MA, it does have plenty os light. It recently developed red circles on its leaves. I can’t find any information on the net. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you very much.


    Reply 1 year ago

    You probably need more water than that if it's in a small pot, I water mine about once a week. Are the leaves plump or are they wrinkled most of the time? If they're softer and wrinkled, I'd suggest watering more often!

    I do wonder if the red is a sign of stress, many succulents turn red when they're getting too much sun and less water than they like. You can find some info about that here:

    I'd suggest watering as soon as the soil dries out for a couple weeks to see if it gets any happier! :)


    3 years ago

    Cool plant. I have never seen it but I have a burro's tail which is similar. But the flower on the Baby Toe is quite lovely. Thanks.

    claudette sova
    claudette sova

    4 years ago

    Now I want Baby Toes too. I love succulents. I'll have to look for this one at Home Depot the next time I go. Thanks for the instructable...