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Frithia – Fairy Elephant’s Feet

Frithia pulchra is the only species in this genus. It is a beautiful little mesemb. The leaf tips resemble little elephant feet. Hence the common name Fairy Elephant’s Feet.

Frithia pulchra is a stemless succulent, native to the northeastern parts of South Africa. It has pink/red flowers. There is also a white flowering form of Frithia pulchra.

Frithia Care – How do I grow and care for Frithia plants?

Frithia pulchra plants need a pumice (Bims) based soil with good drainage. We like to add some peat (10%) to raise soil acidity. Give as much light as possible. Young plants and seedlings need protection from direct sun.

The Fairy Elephant’s Feet Succulent plant is a summer grower. Start watering Frithia pulchra in spring when day temperatures are above 15C. Do not water on very cold days if you keep your Frithia plants in the greenhouse. In spring we prefer to water Frithia and many other Mesembs and Succulents (like Lithops, Fenestraria, Crassula, Echeveria, Sedum) only on warm days in the greenhouse. We water lightly so the soil is almost dry again when the sun goes down and temperatures drop. We heat our greenhouse in winter and maintain a minimum temperature of 8-10C.

Planting and potting Frithia plants can best be done in early spring or autumn. Trim the the roots before replanting your Frithia pulchra in a new container. Use new soil if available. Do not water your Frithia for the first couple of weeks after potting.

Frithia Propagation

Frithia pulchra is propagated from seeds. Seeds need 18-20C to germinate. You can sow them in a growing room under artificial lighting or germinate them in your greenhouse when day temperatures are high enough. Use a fine draining soil mix and cover the seeds with fine (1-2 mm) gravel. Cover the Frithia seed tray with a transparent lid or germinate your Frithia pulchra seeds in a plant pot placed in a zip-lock bag.

Germination usually is in 10-14 days. Maintain high air humidity at all times untill most of your Frithia pulchra seeds have germinated. Ventilate your Fairy Elephant’s Feet seedlings daily to reduce chances of fungal attacks. You can remove the cover completely when the Frithia seedlings are bigger after 2-3 months. It is time to repot your Succulent seedlings when they are starting to touch eachother.