Family: Aizoaceae
Habitat: South Africa
Cultivation: A very sandy soil and high temperatures (however, always above 5-6 ° C) are the secret to keep this plant healthy, which would not survive even very short frosts.
Curiosity: The name comes from the Latin “fenestra”, that is, “window”: on the top of each leaf, in fact, there is a small, convex and transparent, chlorophyll-free part that allows the passage of light within the plant.


The Fenestraria genus is a herbaceous aizoaceace, with a characteristic form which make them very attractive for the lovers and always present  in the shops, nurseries and markets: the many, many leaves have the form of small clubs or sticks and depart from thich branches that stretch the ground. We thus have the effect of a small forest of green sticks covering the soil. Viewed from above, the section of these leaves is triangular with corners more or less blunted according to the species. Each of these leaves, then, on the top has a small transparent area, the so-called “window” which gives the name to the variety: in their natural habitat,  most of the plant is often covered with sand and these openings allow light to penetrate Inside the leaf. The flowers can be white, yellow or orange and they are daisy shaped. They are not the main feature that makes this plant interesting, but they add a pleasant touch of color and vivacity to the whole plant.


There is only one species of Fenestraria, F. rhopalophylla. Two different subspecies are added to this, which differ in the color of the flowers and the shapes: the aurantiaca and the compacta.

This is a complete list of species and subspecies.

  • Fenestraria rhopalophylla
  • F. rhopalophylla aurantiaca
  • F. rhopalophylla compacta


The Fenestraria are afraid about the cold and must therefore be promptly sheltered when the barometer goes down beyond the guard level.

These are our tips for cultivating:

  • Exposure must be in full sun, but possibly not in the hottest hours of the day. In its natural environment, in fact, the sand that covers it also works as a protection against the aggressive sunlight.
  • The ideal temperature is above 15 ° C; when they reach, instead, 5 ° C it is good to put the plant indoors because it is not able to survive the frosts, even if short.
  • Water the plant quite regularly in summer every 5-7 days, paying attention to two factors: that water is evenly distributed on the soil, and that it is dry before doing a new watering . Decrease the frequency of watering in the autumn, until suspending it in winter.
  • Use a very sandy soil: a mix of 40% sand and 60% universal soil is ideal for this type of plant.
  • Fertilize 2-3 times in spring with a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the water of the watering, which is rich in potassium and phosphorus.
  • As a herbaceous plant, the repotting is rarely necessary. However, choose very large and not very deep vases and only repot in the spring.
  • The Fenestraria reproduces well either by seed and by cuttings. As a cutting, the leaves can be used, allowing them to dry for about three days before slicing into a very sandy soil.

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