A succulent plant with an irresistible appearance, fenestraria belongs to the Aizoaceae family and can be easily found in nurseries but also in market stalls. This plant has a very short stem to which the leaves that have a truly unique shape are attached: they look like many small clubs. The upper part of the leaves is slightly convex and transparent and does not have chlorophyll, so as to allow the passage of light inside the plant, since when the plant is found in nature, it is often submerged by sand. In short, like many small windows that allow the passage of light, the name fenestraria also derives from here. The length of these leaves is about three centimeters and the even more particular aspect of this plant is that it produces quite large and showy flowers with large white stamens that look a lot like daisies; sometimes the color of the petals can also be yellow or red and their duration is many days.
There fenestraria is a perennial plant and comes from the Atlantic coast of southwestern Namibia but also from the north west and south Africa.
The British call it "Baby Toes" or toes of children, due to the similarity of the leaves to the fingers of small hands.
Usually, today, the fenestraria it is grown and kept in an apartment, preferably in a sunny area with a lot of light, in the hottest months, however, it can also be placed outside so that it can directly receive the sun's rays, naturally in the cooler hours of the day.
In areas with a Mediterranean climate, fenestraria can also be grown outdoors, directly on the ground.
Ideal climatic conditions and substrate
Being a succulent plant, it prefers a mild climate and does not tolerate cold, especially if the temperatures drop below freezing. It can be said that the ideal temperature for the fenestraria is around 10-15 degrees, but if it is outdoors it can withstand temperatures not below 4 degrees. However, it should not be forgotten that it particularly fears frosts. The fenestraria grown outside, during the winter, must be collected in a greenhouse or in a sheltered place to be sure that they do not suffer damage caused by the cold.
The ideal soil for this succulent plant must be draining and light, basically a sandy soil, which can be easily obtained by adding 40% coarse sand or gravel to the normal universal soil.
Spider web houseleek - Sempervivum arachnoideum
Trichocereus bridgesiiGeneral: Native to South America, it includes twenty-five species of columnar cactus. Trichocereus Spachiana Trichocereus Spachiana is native to northern Argentina. He has poise like ...
Blueberry Cactus - Myrtillocactus geometrizansGenus of about three species of cactus, coming from Mexico, with an erect stem, which in nature can reach up to four meters in height. The stem is green-blue, covered with bloom and grows quite ...
Watering and fertilizing
The fenestraria must be watered with great moderation because one of its archenemies is the excess of water.
When it is necessary to water it, it must be evenly wetted all the substrate, so that the water can also reach the root system. It is a good idea to carry out this type of operation when we notice that the soil of the plant is completely dry, we must be sure otherwise it is better to postpone watering for a few days. Therefore it is necessary to consider the season in which we find ourselves, the temperature, the type of substrate that the plant has and also the size of the pot in which it resides.
Avoid watering during the hottest days of summer.
In general, it is preferable to completely suspend the watering operations during the winter, to be resumed during the spring but with a very moderate frequency.
One or two waterings a month in spring and autumn may be sufficient, while in summer they should be increased without exceeding, however, four times a month.
The fenestraria does not need particular fertilizations, however, only in the spring you can give it liquid fertilizer, based on potassium and phosphorus, which can be diluted in the irrigation water.
Pay attention to administering fertilizers poor in nitrogen, as, although this element accelerates the growth of succulent plants in general, it could, however, considerably weaken the structure.
Pruning and reproduction
There is practically no real pruning of this type of plant, at most a simple removal of diseased, dry or broken leaves is carried out.
Fenestraria is a plant that reproduces mainly by seed. Generally, the seeds should be planted during the spring, when the temperature starts to hover around twenty degrees. Once the seedlings are born, they must be extracted from the substrate and repotted in pots with a diameter of at least eight centimeters.
However, there is another method of reproduction and that is by cuttings. This operation must be carried out exclusively in summer and consists in removing some leaves of a fenestrial plant, allowing them to dry for three days and planting them directly in a pot.
When it is considered necessary, perhaps because the plant has reached a considerable size, it is possible to repot, this must be done strictly in spring. A useful tip is to choose wide rather than deep pots, in order to favor the ground cover growth of the plant.
This type of plant does not contract particular diseases. We have already said that it fears excess water as it favors rot and can rarely be attacked by the red spider which will cause the appearance of dark spots on the leaves.
If weakening of the stems are visible on the plant or if the leaves show a dull color, it will be a sign of incorrect care and lack of brightness, which could also cause the absence of flowering
If the leaves appear a little withered, it will be a symptom of an atmosphere that is too dry, so it will be useful to spray the leaves.