Faucaria is a genus that consists of about 33 badass-looking species of flowering succulents. In cultivation, the plants from this genus go by the common names Tiger Jaws or Shark Jaws. They are native to some regions of South Africa, such as the Cape Province and the Karoo Desert.
We know, the leaves of Tiger jaws might look a bit scary at first glance. However, these succulents are actually harmless and super fun to have around. Since they are growing in subtropical deserts in clay soils and amongst rocks, Tiger Jaws plants do not have many or hard-to-reach demands from their owners. In general, they will grow nicely in lots of sunlight, a wide temperature range, well-draining soil, and regular moisture.
- The most popular Faucaria species in the gardening world used as ornamental plants include F. albidens, F. bosscheana, F. britteniae, F. felina, F. gratiae, F. nemorosa, F. subintegra, F. tigrina, and F. tuberculosa.
- Their genus name “Faucaria” comes from the word “fauces” which is the Latin for “animal mouth”. This name refers to their obvious appearance that features teeth-like spikes on their succulent leaves.
- Although Tiger Jaws succulents present fierce “teeth” on their leaves, the spikes are actually pretty soft and flexible to the touch. The spikes are evolutionary adaptations, helping these succulents to direct rainwater down to their base to allow their roots to absorb it.
- Once they have settled in their new home and reached maturity, these succulents will begin to bear many offsets. With proper care, they can be by your side for decades.
- Faucaria plants are quite versatile, making for gorgeous border or filler additions to rock gardens, wild gardens, and xeriscaping. They will also look adorable as potted specimens. Their blossoms will attract butterflies, bees, and other species of insects into the garden.
- Faucaria succulents are excellent companions to many other species of succulents that have similar environmental requirements. The most compatible non-succulent companion plants for them are Cleveland Sage, Lantana, Lavender, Limonium, and Yellow Bird of Paradise.
- Tiger jaws succulents have no toxic effects on cats, dogs, or humans if consumed or touched. Due to this, you can grow them around your curious kids or pets without worries.
Faucaria Features: An Overview
- These plants belong to the large Aizoaceae family that contains 135 attractive genera. Besides Faucaria, other interesting genera from this family include Aizoon, Aloinopsis, Braunsia, Carpanthea, Frithia, Monilaria, Sceletium, and Stomatium.
- Tiger jaws plants are small-sized perennial flowering succulents that can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) in both height and diameter. They usually grow at a fairly slow pace and have a tendency to become bushy with time.
- The most nice-looking feature of these succulents is their low rosettes of thick, fleshy, triangle-shaped leaves adorned with tiny, upright, and white spikes in opposite pairs on their edges.
- Their leaves are light to dark green and turn a beautiful purple under direct sunlight. If you look closely, you’ll notice that they look quite similar to an animal mouth, hence their curious common names.
- The blooming period of Faucaria plants lasts from autumn through early winter. During these seasons, each succulent exhibits a single yellow flower that resembles fireworks in the center of the rosette. In most cases, they bloom in outdoor settings.
Have a seat and let us take you into the world of these stunning succulents! First things first, you should know that Faucaria plants will grow at their best in an environment that simulates the conditions from their natural habitat. Because of this, you will have to pay a little extra attention to some particular demands of these succulents. But do not get intimidated by their fierce, dominating appearance, as they are very easy to grow and care for overall.
Tiger Jaws plants are generally big lovers of light all year round. These succulents need a minimum of three to six hours of bright and direct sunlight daily both indoors and outdoors. When winter has settled in, they will withstand less light than usual, but you should still keep them in a bright spot.
If the climate in your region allows you to move the plants outside during the summer months, do not hesitate to do it! As mentioned above, it is uncommon for Tiger Jaws plants to produce flowers in indoor settings. However, placing your succulents outdoors in summer might increase the chances of blooming.
Since Faucaria succulents originate from South African habitats, they will grow healthy and happy in hot and dry conditions. Still, these plants can tolerate much lower temperatures than many other species of succulents. They are typically cold-hardy in the USDA zones 9 to 11. If you want to spoil your buddies, make sure you provide them with warm temperatures that range from 68 to 90 °F (20-32 °C).
As a general rule, you must avoid over-watering your Tiger Jaws plants or high humidity levels. Too much moisture around these succulents can unbalance their health, making them more sensitive to diseases like root rot. When your plants are suffering, they will present brown patches on their leaves and also at the base of their stems.
Luckily, if the infection is in the early stages, you can prevent it from spreading. All you have to do is to refrain from watering your Tiger jaws succulents, then remove the damaged parts as soon as possible.
When it comes to their growing medium, Faucaria succulents prefer slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils with a pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.5. These plants perform best in porous substrates that also come with excellent drainage. Even if a standard cactus mix is usually the most common growing medium for succulents, some growers like to add additional chicken grit to it to retain less moisture. Likewise, you can prepare the perfect substrate at home by mixing one part of sand, one part of fine pumice, and two parts of sterilized potting soil.
Tiger jaws plants are not the type of ornamentals that need regular fertilizing to thrive. In fact, too much fertilizer can cause your succulents to grow somewhat mushy and leggy. But! They will need some extra attention during their active growing period. Feed your succulents with a diluted liquid fertilizer once or twice a year in spring through summer (April to August).
Faucaria plants are slow-growers, so they do not require frequent repotting during their lifetime. However, these succulents will begin to outgrow their pots once every two years or so. Keep in mind that the containers should be on the shallow side and should also have drainage holes at the bottom.
The watering technique of Faucaria succulents is usually pretty simple, as it requires only a few basic steps to do it properly. In general, you will have to water your plants more often during their active growing season from April to August. Once this period has ended, they become somewhat tolerant of drought and need only a bit of water from time to time.
In spring and summer, we recommend you always check the soil of your Tiger jaws plants in-between waterings. Although these succulents love moisture during their growing period, soggy conditions or waterlogging may easily result in root rot. Make sure you spoil your plants with a nice drink only when the soil has dried out completely.
During the fall and winter months, the soil will typically dry off much harder. Tiger jaws plants will do just fine if you allow their growing medium to remain dry for a longer time. And when the time to water your succulents has come, you can just moisten the soil a bit without drenching it.
Like with most species of succulents, the easiest and most effective method to propagate Faucaria plants is through offsets. When these succulents reach maturity, they start to produce tiny offsets from their roots. Sometimes, this habit can overcrowd your beloved plants, especially if you are growing them in a small pot. The best time to make more of these cute plants is usually during their active growing period from late spring to early summer.
Most Tiger Jaws offsets will have some tiny roots attached to them. However, if you remove some offsets and they do not come with roots, you should avoid planting them right away. Make sure you allow these offsets to callous over for a few days before placing them into the soil. Once you notice that their base has hardened, you can plant the offsets without any problems.
Fill a container with fresh cactus/succulent mix and place the offsets in it. Place the pot in a medium-lit location and provide water less often until the roots begin to develop. After several weeks, you can gradually expose the Tiger jaws offsets to bright, indirect light and increase the frequency of watering. And, as always, do not forget to gift some of your new Tiger Jaws plants to your family members or friends.
Besides their mysterious and irresistible appearance, these succulents will surely win your heart with their overall low-demanding nature. If you want to be an edgy gardener from now on, all you have to do is to include Tiger Jaws plants into your respectable collection. If you’re already growing these succulents, share your experience in the comment section.