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Frithia pulchra (Fairy Elephant's Feet)


Scientific Name

Frithia pulchra N.E.Br.

Common Names

Window Plants, Baby Toes, Fairy Elephant's Feet, Transvaal Fairy Elephant's Feet

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Frithia


Frithia pulchra is a dwarf, rosette-forming, perennial succulent, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, that grows almost completely embedded in the ground. It is almost stemless or with a much reduced stem. Similar looking to the Fenestraria rhopalophylla, but its leaves are more tubular and the flowers are pink. Club shaped leaves are up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long and up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) in diameter, often partially buried, grey-green, arranged in a cluster, flattened or rounded and transparent at the tips. Quite robust fruits are spongy capsules, resembling a barrel up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) in diameter.

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Frithia is a summer grower and relatively easy to cultivate. It need light sporadic watering during its winter resting period and requires moderate sprinkling in summer as it is rot prone if kept too moist when the heat turns off its growth cycle. Gritty, well drained soil, containing a small amount of organic material will keep this species happy.

This succulent plant can be grown in pots or out of doors in a rockery. Soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out perfectly between waterings. Underwatering can lead to disastrous results, so be generous with water in summer. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation, especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. Keep dry in the winter. It does well in full blazing sun, as well as whit some shade in summer.

Frithias can be grown from seed, sown in a gritty sandstone medium or propagated vegetatively by division.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Frithia.


Frithia pulchra is native to South Africa (Gauteng, North West).


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