Little alien minions

by Danielle B
(San Francisco, CA)

This was soon after I got them.

This was soon after I got them.

This was soon after I got them.
Three weeks later

These little guys look like a bunch of alien eyes looking up at you. We call them the minions. I got them from Flora Grubb in San Francisco and have completely forgotten what they told me they are. I am worried about overwatering them. Do you know what they are?

Oh, that's such a cute name - even cuter than Baby Toes, or Fenestraria.

The little clear windows in the ends of the 'toes' are where light enters to be turned into energy for the plant to grow, using the power of photosynthesis. If you know anything about the origin of languages, fenestration means windows.

You can see more about Fenestraria here, and from all accounts, you're right to worry about the overwatering of this type of plant. They certainly seem to have real preferences for light, soil type and moisture.

I would say that you're on the right track, because your minions look quite happy in their alien environment; however, due to the fact that they're stretching a little, I would say they need a bit more light.

Just because they're cute, don't lose sight of the fact that they are desert type plants, and need good light to keep their girlish figures.


Comments for Little alien minions

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Jun 25, 2013
Thank you so much for the ID!
by: Danielle B

Defenestration is one of my favorite words in the English language (means to throw something or someone out of a window), so it should be easy for me to remember their official name. I'll see if I can get them a bit more light. Silly minions.

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What's my succulent name

by Luii
(Garden grove Ca )

It's funny looking

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Aug 18, 2014
by: Jacki

These little guys are called Fenestraria, which is the latin word for 'windows' - that's what the little clear spots on the ends of the toes are.

In their native environment, these will burrow down into the sandy soil if the weather is extremely hot and bright, leaving the windows exposed so they can still grow, while being protected from the harsh rays of the sun.

You can see more about them here; Little Alien Minions.

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He's my favorite, but he may need special care. Help!

by Hans

Jerry is a tubular succulent that grow fairly low to the ground.

The tubes are close together. He also blooms little yellow flowers that open up in the sun and close at night.

Lately his tubes are beginning to wither and get soft and mushy.

I feared he was getting to much water so stopped giving him as much with the same result. Someone help me out here!

Hi Hans, Jerry is a Fenestraria, or Baby Toes. They are called that because they have tiny windows (fenestration is a word meaning windows) which they allow light in to be used for energy.

These are quite difficult to grow, by all accounts, so it's lucky that he's lasted this long! They particularly dislike being overwatered, and have very delicate roots which cannot recover from this if it happens too often.

Soil type is very important for these types of plants; it looks as though Jerry is planted into some kind of potting soil, which may or may not have enough drainage.

If these types of potting soils are meant for jungle type plants that like a moist soil like ferns, palms and other tropical plants, they don't drain fast enough or well enough for desert plants.

You can see more about Fenestraria here and here on Dave's Garden Website which has some detailed advice for soil type especially.

I don't really have any advice for you because I have never grown these plants, but I would continue to withhold the water until the soil is bone dry, and hope for the best.

Good luck with Jerry!

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slender, flesh type stalk with an almost 'butt' shape on top

by niki
(gainesville, va)




Only about 2" tall, both stalks recently shed with a smaller version being "born". Lost 1 stalk, other not doing well, held up by chopsticks. Looks like it might be reproducing from bottom of stalk. Not sure what it is or how to care for it.

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Feb 28, 2015
by: Jacki

Your description 'cracked' me up!

This is Fenestraria, or Baby Toes, which if you see them growing in a clump you'll recognize as an apt name.

There is more here; Fenestraria.

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