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Frithia pulchra (Fairy Elephant's Feet)

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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

Description

Frithia pulchra is a dwarf, almost stemless, rosette-forming, perennial succulent, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. It is similar looking to the Fenestraria rhopalophylla, but its leaves are more tubular and the flowers are bright magenta with a white or light yellow center. Leaves are club-shaped, arranged in a cluster, up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long and up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) in diameter. They are often partially buried, grey-green and transparent at the tips. Flowers are daisy-like and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter. Quite robust, yellow to ochre fruits are spongy capsules, resembling a barrel up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) in diameter.

Photo via cssnsw.org.au

Hardiness

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

How to Grow and Care

Frithias are summer growers and relatively easy to cultivate. They need light sporadic watering during their winter resting period and require moderate sprinkling in summer as they are rot prone if kept too moist when the heat turns off their growth cycle. Gritty, well-drained soil, containing a small amount of organic material will keep these species happy.

These succulent plants 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. They do 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.

Origin

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

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