How to Grow and Care for Tiger’s Jaw in Your Home


Updated: 08 Oct, 2023

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Tiger Jaws, scientifically known as Faucaria tigrina, is a reliable perennial succulent characterized by its compact rosettes of fleshy, triangular leaves adorned with spiky “teeth,” lending it its evocative name. Despite its formidable appearance, the spikes are surprisingly pliable and gentle to the touch.

During the autumn and winter months, this succulent may grace its caretaker with delightful yellow blooms featuring long, slender petals. Originating from the sunny landscapes of South Africa, the tiger jaws thrives in warmer climates and can withstand the conditions of zone 9, although it’s commonly cultivated as an indoor plant.

Known for its leisurely growth pace, this plant can flourish for several decades when provided with proper attention and care. A mature tiger jaws plant will generously produce offsets, offering the opportunity for propagation during its regular growth period in the spring or summer. This enduring succulent not only adds a touch of exotic charm to any indoor garden but also stands as a testament to the marvels of nature’s resilience and adaptability.

Common NameTiger jaws
Botanical NameFaucaria tigrina
FamilyAizoaceae
Plant TypePerennial, succulent
Mature SizeUp to 6 in. tall, 6 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull, partial
Soil TypeMoist, well-drained
Soil pHAcidic
Bloom TimeFall, winter
Flower ColorYellow
Hardiness Zones9–11 (USDA)
Native AreaSouth Africa

How to Grow Tiger Jaws From Seed

While it’s possible to propagate Faucaria plants from seeds (provided your indoor plant produces them), this method is less commonly used due to the simplicity of separating offsets and the slow growth rate of seeds.

To successfully propagate from seeds, maintain a constant temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal time to commence this process is in the fall. Utilize a well-draining cactus mix or sand as the seed-starter medium, and position the seedling trays under grow lights until germination and sprouting occur. Plant the seeds just barely covered with a light sprinkling of potting mix.

Germination typically occurs within 7 to 10 days. Once the seedlings have developed several sets of leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots and placed in a well-lit location. This method demands patience due to the comparatively slow growth rate of seeds, making offset separation a more common and expeditious propagation technique for Faucaria plants.

Read more: How to Grow Cryptanthus Bromeliads (Earth Stars) Indoors

Tiger Jaws Care

Indigenous to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, tiger jaws succulents flourish amidst the rocky terrain and clayey soils of the subtropical deserts in the region. Their active growth phase commences in spring, extending through the summer, culminating in a spectacular display of vibrant yellow blossoms come autumn—although achieving this feat indoors is a rarity. These blossoms unfurl in the daylight hours, only to gently close as evening descends.

While tiger jaws can find a place in gardens within warmer zones, they are predominantly cultivated as potted specimens in a coarse, well-draining potting mix. Offering your tiger jaws succulent a sunny, well-lit spot in your abode will ensure its thriving. Additionally, it can bask contentedly on a patio or deck during the warmer months, withstanding short-lived frosts. However, prudent measures should be taken to bring it indoors when sustained cold weather sets in. These resilient succulents typically reach a mature size of approximately six inches in both height and width.

Light:

Tiger jaws succulents thrive in abundant sunlight, relishing a minimum of three hours of direct, bright light daily, ideally six hours or more. Placing the plant in a sunny outdoor spot during summer ensures it receives the light it craves. While indoor blooms are infrequent, relocating the plant outdoors in warmer months heightens the likelihood of flowering. During winter, these succulents can tolerate lower light levels, but they still benefit from a well-lit location.

Soil:

Much like their natural habitat, tiger jaws succulents demand well-draining, porous soil. In the wild, they often grow amidst open, rocky areas with clayey soil. Indoors, a standard cactus soil suffices, although some growers opt to reduce moisture-retaining peat moss by adding extra chicken grit or sand. Alternatively, an optimal potting mix for tiger jaws can be crafted by blending two parts sterilized potting soil, one part fine pumice, and one part sand.

Water:

The serrated teeth of tiger jaws efficiently guide rainwater and dew to the plant’s base for absorption by the roots. Care must be exercised when watering, as overwatering can swiftly lead to plant demise. Adequate drainage is crucial, with excess water promptly draining out of the container. Maintain consistently moist yet well-drained soil from late spring through fall. Ensure the pot has drainage holes, preventing water stagnation.

In autumn and winter, allow the soil to thoroughly dry before watering, then saturate it, ensuring complete drainage.

Temperature and Humidity:

Native to arid, hot South African regions, tiger jaws succulents display remarkable resilience to lower temperatures compared to other succulent varieties. While an ideal temperature hovers around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, they tolerate slightly higher summer temperatures (up to 90 degrees) and even withstand brief frosts. During winter, it’s advisable to bring them indoors unless you reside in zones 9 to 11.

Indoors, standard household humidity levels are adequate, but excessive moisture should be avoided. Aim for a humidity range of 30-40%. Excessive humidity may invite fungal issues.

Fertilizer:

Throughout their active growth phase (spring to fall), tiger jaws succulents benefit from occasional fertilization using a 2-7-7 liquid fertilizer diluted by 50% to support fresh growth. Avoid fertilizing during winter.

Types of Tiger Jaws

Another species of Faucaria that finds its way into households as a houseplant is F. felina. While it may also go by the name “tiger jaws,” this variant possesses shorter and less formidable teeth compared to its counterpart, F. tigrina. Apart from this distinction, the two plants share identical characteristics. Some professionals in the commercial growing industry classify F. tigrina as merely a cultivated variety of F. felina, labeling it as Faucaria felina ‘Tiger Jaws’.

Potting and Repotting Tiger Jaws

Optimal potting for tiger jaws involves shallow containers filled with an extra-coarse cactus/succulent potting mix. Due to their sluggish growth, these succulents do not necessitate regular repotting. It’s advised to consider repotting only when they have visibly outgrown their current container, typically around every two years. Additionally, be certain that the chosen pot possesses sufficient drainage holes, as stagnant water can lead to rot in tiger jaws succulents.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Tiger jaws succulents are generally resilient, but they can occasionally encounter some common pests and diseases. Here are a few to watch out for:

Mealybugs: These small, cotton-like insects can gather in the crevices of the leaves and stems, sapping the plant’s vitality. They can be removed by hand or treated with insecticidal soap.

Aphids: These tiny, pear-shaped insects can cluster on new growth, causing damage by sucking plant juices. They can be sprayed off with water or controlled with insecticidal soap.

Scale Insects: These pests appear as small, waxy bumps on leaves and stems. They feed on plant sap and can lead to yellowing and wilting. They can be removed manually or controlled with insecticidal sprays.

Fungus Gnats: These small, flying insects are attracted to overly moist soil. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings can help prevent their infestation.

Root Rot: This is a common issue in succulents caused by overwatering or poor drainage. It leads to the deterioration of the roots and can ultimately kill the plant. To prevent this, ensure the pot has proper drainage and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease appears as a white, powdery substance on the leaves. It can be treated with a fungicidal spray and by improving air circulation around the plant.

Leaf Spot: This fungal disease causes dark spots on the leaves. It can be prevented by avoiding overhead watering and ensuring good air circulation.

Stem Rot: This is another consequence of overwatering or poor drainage. It leads to the decay of the stem at or below the soil level. To prevent this, ensure the pot has proper drainage and avoid overwatering.

Common Problems With Tiger Jaws

Tiger jaws is generally a low-maintenance houseplant and tends to thrive on neglect. However, there are a couple of cultural issues to keep an eye out for:

Leaves Turning Pale in Color

This is often a sign that the plant is receiving too much water. To rectify this, reduce your watering frequency immediately. Allow the potting mix to completely dry out before watering again. Additionally, pale leaves can also result from insufficient light. Providing the plant with longer periods of direct sunlight can lead to a pleasing transformation, with the leaves taking on an attractive shade of pink to reddish-purple.

Leaves Turning Mushy

This is indicative of the onset of fungal root rot. To salvage the plant, start by removing the affected leaves and cutting back on watering. If the rot continues to spread, regrettably, the plant may need to be discarded. However, there might be offsets that can be saved for replanting purposes. Keep a close eye on the plant’s condition to catch and address any issues promptly.

How to Get Tiger Jaws to Bloom

Given sufficient sunlight, typically at least three hours daily, these plants frequently grace their caretakers with brilliant yellow blooms from September through early winter. Typically, these flowers unfurl around noon, only to gently close as evening descends. It’s common for indoor-grown plants to abstain from blooming, as they are primarily cultivated for their distinctive foliage. However, with a little coaxing, houseplants can be encouraged to flower if they spend the summer and early fall outdoors before returning indoors for winter. Placing indoor plants in the sunniest available window may also stimulate blooms.

A solitary application of fertilizer in late summer can occasionally spur the plant to produce blooms in the fall or winter, assuming it’s also receiving ample sunlight.

What is Tiger’s Jaw and where is it native to?

Tiger’s Jaw, scientifically known as Faucaria tigrina, is a perennial succulent characterized by fleshy, toothed leaves. It is native to the Eastern Cape province in South Africa.

How much sunlight does Tiger’s Jaw need?

Tiger’s Jaw thrives in bright, direct light and ideally requires at least six hours of sunlight per day. It can tolerate some shade but will not bloom as abundantly without adequate light.

What type of soil is best for Tiger’s Jaw?

A well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix is ideal for Tiger’s Jaw. It should allow excess water to drain freely to prevent overwatering.

How often should I water my Tiger’s Jaw?

Tiger’s Jaw is a drought-tolerant succulent and should be watered sparingly. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, especially during its dormant period in the winter.

Can I grow Tiger’s Jaw from seeds?

Yes, Tiger’s Jaw can be grown from seeds, but it’s a slower process compared to propagating from offsets. Seeds require consistent temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for germination.

How often should I repot my Tiger’s Jaw?

Tiger’s Jaw is a slow grower and does not require frequent repotting. It should be repotted only when it has outgrown its current container, which is typically every two years.

What are common pests and diseases that affect Tiger’s Jaw?

Common pests include mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects. Tiger’s Jaw can also be susceptible to root rot if overwatered or if the soil does not drain properly.

How can I encourage my Tiger’s Jaw to bloom?

Providing ample sunlight is key to encouraging Tiger’s Jaw to bloom. Moving it outdoors during the summer and early fall can also increase the chances of flowering. Additionally, a single dose of fertilizer in late summer may stimulate fall or winter blooms, as long as the plant is receiving sufficient sunlight.

Conclusion

Growing and caring for Tiger’s Jaw, or Faucaria tigrina, can be a rewarding experience for succulent enthusiasts. Native to South Africa, this resilient plant thrives in bright, direct light and requires well-draining soil to prevent overwatering. Proper watering practices, infrequent repotting, and vigilant pest management are essential for its well-being.

While Tiger’s Jaw can be propagated from seeds, it’s often more efficient to use offsets for propagation. Monitoring for signs of overwatering, such as pale leaves or mushy texture, is crucial in maintaining a healthy plant.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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