What's new
TerraForums Venus Flytrap, Nepenthes, Drosera and more talk

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Surprise Succulents

While my family was out at Lowes today they noticed some odd plants and bought them for me. I ended up with a Argyroderma spp and Fenestraria aurantiaca according to the labels. I was hoping you guys could tell me a little more about them. I have some Lithops spp and was planning to make a bowl garden much like Brie has. My biggest concern is can these new plants go in that same type of bowl? From what I can gather it seems their care is very much like that of Lithops, but I really didn't find much out there on these guys.



I don't think they look that good and the soils look a little bit too wet, but I don't have much experience with succulents. That window is also normally very sunny, but today is just cloudy.
Hi yes, please let those new plants dry out. You're correct in assuming they have been exposed to way too much water. Those scars on the last one indicate it has absorbed so much water it's actually split. And now that a new body (or two) is emerging you must allow those outter leaves to dry up and shrivel away for the health of the plant. So basically don't water that one until those two split outer lobes have dried up to nothing. Just like Lithops if the old bodies are allowed to stay inflated with water they will eventually strangle the plant away from it's own roots so once the new bodies are emerging stop watering until the old bodies have shriveled up completely. Most stores don't know this so that's why you see split succulents and stacked lithops with multiple years lobes on them.
Ah I figured as much. No water for those two for a while. Hopefully we'll get some sun today to help them dry out. This is one of the reasons I'm weary about buying plants from stores like Lowes.

Some of the Fenestraria "leaves" don't appear to be attached to the substrate. Will they re-root?
I have both of those plants... The argyroderma are a little different than the lithops. They still tend to shrivel while not actively growing, so give them a few squirts when they do that. But, yeah, only when they really need it. They will let you know.

The baby toes are easy and pretty cool. Mine tend to spread out for a ways... Don't think they really re-attach to the soil much though. Those are much easier than the Easter eggs. They like some morning sun with bright shade the rest of the day. They do like a bit more water than most other "smalls" and seem to be pretty resilient. Water when they shrivel... They'll resemble toes that have been in the water too long when they need water.

I've had issues with pests in the soil of Lowes plants. Definitely change them as soon as you can. It is fine to wash the soil off of the roots to be extra thorough, just wrap then in a soft rag to dry them before planting in fresh media.
I will be sure to repot them as soon as I can. Don't want any pests!! These guys are near my indoor CPs! I think I'll put the three different genera in different pots until I get a better feel for them. Maybe when I repot in a couple of years they can all go together. What size pots should I use for the argyroderm and baby toes? I have them in little 2.5 inch deep pots right now. I have a TON of terra cotta in the garage that I can use. All shapes and sizes.
My Easter eggs seem to like the 4" terracotta pots. Those are nice because they allow for drainage of water through the pot itself VIA evaporation. The baby toes aren't as picky... I have mine in a general rock garden arrangement with other succulents in a window planter.
Something like that shouldn't be hard to find at all! I'll be sure to pot them up in some better media as soon as I can. Next time I'm at Lowes I'll see what I can find in the way of pots for a rock garden planter. That's why I originally bought the lithops. Do you have pictures of yours?

Seems these other little succulents have also stolen my heart. They don't have prickly parts, and I like that!
Argyroderma sp.

Baby toes.

Also... Hate to tell you this but your argyroderma is probably not going to make it. I had one more in my pot at one time... One died. The one that did wasn't even half as badly cracked as yours, nor did it have compressed new growth. But maybe keeping it totally dry will bring it back... Probably also need to go ahead and start performing some surgery to free up the middle to grow.
Last edited:
Those are really cute little pots! I'm going to repot them all tomorrow in larger pots. The ones they are in now are just slightly larger than what they came in from lowes (and those are tiny!).

What kind of surgery do I need to do? simply cut away the outer growth? Can I do it when I repot?
  • #10
Yeah, wait until the outside husk starts to shrivel and then with a sharp and sterile razor knife, slice off the outer broken layers. Should be okay to let the middle two remain. For a while anyway. I've done this before with lithops. Will look weird for a while but if its strong it'll be fine.
  • #11
I repotted them all today. Man, their roots were tied up in those tiny pots. The argyroderma actually has a pretty decent root system. I'm hoping it will pull through. At the very least it's not getting any more water for a while. The new soil drains much better. They were potted in what seemed like pure peat and perlite. :scratch: Why they would do that to a desert plant is beyond me. Anyway, here is what they are in now.


I moved them a bit farther back from the window after the pictures were taken. I know they need to be out of direct sun until they reestablish but I needed more light for the photograph.
  • #12
Yeah, the roots are bigger than you would think for such small plants. :O Glad the roots looked okay. It will definitely like those rocks better and appreciate the extra space. Good job separating your lithops/argyroderma. :)
  • #13
I can't believe it, but I think this plant is coming around. It tried to flower, but the weather was dreadfully overcast when it did. The flower never fully erupted when I was there at least. Now it looks like this.


Not a drop of water has touched it.

Oddly enough my baby toes seems to have died. It looks like it rotted/died from the roots up. I gave it water when the leaves looked shriveled, but nothing seemed to help it. I'm going to get another one (that looks better than this last one did) and try again.
  • #14
Sometimes they are just gone when you get them- I lost ANOTHER nice faucaria 'sato' for no reason at all. It was inside, in bone-dry succulent media, in low humidity. The bottom has pretty much completely rotted out in less than a month and I didn't do a thing to it. So I am not getting any more faucaria, they seem to be very weak plants. I don't understand how of these small plants survive in the wild. I'm convinced there are no natural colonies at this point. Because if too much sun kills them, water kills them, pests and aminals kill them and humidity kills them, then... Uh, do they live on the moon or something?

Im surprised your Fenstraria died though. :(
Last edited:
  • #15
I'm very surprised the Fenestraria died, too. If anything it looked healthier than my poor argyroderma. I'll be sure to add faucaria to my list of plants not to get. If you can't keep it alive, I'm sure I can't! Some of these things are so specialized it's a wonder they survive in captivity at all.
  • #16
Well, I should take that back: the only faucarias I have kept alive are ones bought in-store. Every one I have gotten online has died in no time at all. It seems to be the cultivared varieties that are weak; Sato, Japanese, Extra Warty, etc.
  • #17
Argyroderma sp.

Baby toes.

Also... Hate to tell you this but your argyroderma is probably not going to make it. I had one more in my pot at one time... One died. The one that did wasn't even half as badly cracked as yours, nor did it have compressed new growth. But maybe keeping it totally dry will bring it back... Probably also need to go ahead and start performing some surgery to free up the middle to grow.

Pretty cool lithops ! Maybe i will buy some next summer. I hope i will not fall for this lil genus, of i will buy them all.
  • #18
I'm going to get more Fenestraria this weekend. Still no clue what caused it to decline. Should I try a substrate mixture that holds more water next time?

Also when should I perform surgery on my poor Argyroderma? The flower has completely withered away and the plant looks like it is trying to grow. Both the new plant and the old one are a bit wrinkled.
  • #19
My fenestraria is planted in nearly total rock. Maybe they just like water running through the roots but not to hold it? That would be my guess anyway. That, or... Parasites.

You could probably cut your egg now if you want to. When they wrinkle they are getting close to needing water and are tapping into their reserves so there shouldn't be so much nasty goo that comes out afterwards. Or you can just simply wait and see how the plant handles it. If you manage to not dehydrate it to death then at some point the outer layers should basically shrivel away, kinda like lithops do. But mine haven't done that yet so I am unsure about that. So little growing info on these. Everything is trial and error.

But it does sound as though yours is trying to rebound, which is great. :)