Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated


Faucaria tuberculosa
Mesembryanthemum tuberculosum


Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated is a nursery cultivar and thus doesn’t exist in nature. The regular form, Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa, is instead native to South Africa.


Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated is a perennial succulent that forms low-growing clumps, stands out due to the presence of white tubercles on the upper surface of its leaves. The leaves grow in opposite pairs, perpendicular to the adjacent pair. Typically, a branch has 2 to 4 pairs of leaves. These leaves, which belong to Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa, measure approximately 2.5 cm in length and 2 cm in width. When viewed from the top, they appear dark green and have a thick ovate-triangular shape. The upper surface is adorned with scattered rough white tubercles, while the edges are lined with soft white structures resembling teeth. The flowers of Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa, reminiscent of daisies, are large and typically yellow, although some may have red tips. With a diameter of around 4 cm, these flowers can boast up to 200 petals. To fully open, the flowers require abundant sunlight. If the weather is cloudy or the plant is in the shade, the flowers may not open at all. Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa typically blooms in autumn, specifically in October or November. Its blooming period can extend for several months, even into winter and spring if the growing conditions are favorable. The flowers open around midday and close in the late afternoon. The fruit produced by Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa takes the form of short, bell-shaped capsules. These capsules, about 10 mm in diameter, contain compartments that open and close in response to changes in the air’s moisture content. This unique hygrochastic feature enables the release of numerous seeds. However, with each seed release, a few seeds are retained within the compartments. This mechanism proves highly advantageous in harsh habitats as it facilitates periodic seed release during wet periods while safeguarding reserves during dry seasons. Furthermore, this arrangement ensures the availability of reserves to replace earlier releases that may not survive the vulnerable early germination phase. The variegated form of this cacti is similar in all respects to the regular Faucaria felina subs. tuberosa, with the main difference that lies in the colour of the leaves, that show some yellow/reddish tinges and variegations that change according to the specimen. Every variegated Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa is unique: that’s the reason why succulents lover are fond of this peculiar variety, making it highly sought after also by botanists.


Cultivating and propagating Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated is an excellent choice for succulent enthusiasts. These plants are remarkably resilient and can withstand brief periods of light frost. In arid and warm regions, they make impressive ground covers in outdoor settings. As houseplants, they thrive in favorable weather conditions and tend to enter a resting phase during excessively hot or cool temperatures.
Exposure-wise, Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated requires full sun to light shade. While it appreciates ample sunlight, it should be protected from excessive exposure during the summer months. Full shade is not ideal for these plants, as they have a tendency to become etiolated, weak, and prone to rotting.
When it comes to soil, a well-drained mix is preferred, although these succulents can tolerate various soil types and growing locations as long as there is sufficient sunlight available.
Fertilization should be done only once during the growing season, using a balanced fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.
Regarding watering, this species originates from regions with primarily summer rainfall. However, in cultivation, the plants can be watered throughout the year. During the growing season, they should be thoroughly watered and allowed to dry out completely before the next watering. While they can tolerate some overwatering, the challenge lies in maintaining their compact form and preventing stem elongation. During winter, it is essential to keep the plants relatively dry, watering sparingly to prevent leaf shriveling.
When it comes to pests and diseases, Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated is sensitive to mealybugs. Rot is a minor issue if the plants receive correct watering and adequate ventilation. Fungicides are not highly effective in combating rot, so proper care should focus on watering correctly, providing warmth and moisture during the growth phase, and ensuring cooler and drier conditions during dormancy. In terms of hardiness, these plants can survive mild frost if kept dry, withstanding temperatures as low as -5°C (23°F). However, to prevent scarring, it is advisable to protect them from frost by providing suitable shelter.


Propagating Faucaria felina subs. tuberculosa f. variegated from seed is a straightforward process. The seeds typically germinate within 7-14 days at a temperature of around 21°C (70°F). While it is possible to propagate them from cuttings, rooting can be challenging. In the event of rotting, there is often a salvageable portion of the plant that can be carefully removed and potentially rooted for further growth.


The name “Faucaria” comes from the latin word “fauci”, meaning “mouth”. This refers to the leaves of this succulent that resemble the shape of a mouth. The name “felina”, instead, is probably connected to the pecular white teeth at the edge of the leaves, that kind of resemble cat’s hair.

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