Succulent Bear Paw Info – What Is A Bear Paw Succulent

Bear Paw Succulent
(Image credit: liuyushan)

If you’re new to growing succulents, you may want to try your hand at the bear paw succulent.

What is a Bear Paw Succulent? 

With dark red edges, the fuzzy foliage of the bear paw (Cotyledon tomentosa) is squat and chubby with upper tips that resemble an animal's foot or paw. The dark red appears when the plant is mildly stressed and makes the shape stand out, drawing attention to the attractive shrub-like plant. It is small and fragile, with leaves becoming chubbier with the amount of water they hold. 

The succulent bear paw is an indoor plant recommended for those new to growing plants inside. In botanical terms, tomentosa means covered with short, dense, matted hairs or covered with fuzz. You’ll likely see the term associated with other botanical plant names.

Succulent plants with fuzzy leaves are not hard to grow, as many assume. The main thing is to water at the roots and avoid getting foliage wet when possible. This is good advice for watering all succulents.

Growing Bear Paw Succulents

If this is your first succulent growing experience or if you’re new to growing them, benefit by learning the basics with bear paw succulent care. Start off by planting it in the right soil. Soil is important to succulents, as keeping the water from settling on the roots.

Too much water around plant roots can lead to root rot. Many succulents originated in dry areas where rainfall is rare. Thus, their capability to hold water in the leaves for future watering means many are acclimated to consistently dry soil. Grow the bear paw in a well-draining gritty mix. Use soil amendments like pumice, coarse sand, and pebbles.

While watering is beneficial to most succulents, too much of it is not a good thing. Those located in more sun will need watering more often, but it needs to be spread out more than the watering of non-succulent ornamentals. Overwatering is the primary cause of succulent demise. 

Care of Bear Paw Plants

Place the plant into a brightly lit situation indoors and outside. Some recommend a full sunspot, but most advise no more than acclimating to morning sun. Of course, this depends on the time of year and geographical location. 

Afternoon sun in more southern areas may be too much for the plant, causing leaves to drop. Most growers recommend six hours of bright indirect light. You can judge after you’ve located your plant.

The happy, properly positioned bear claw may produce large, orange, bell-shaped flowers during spring. If your temperatures allow it to grow outside through winter, water in early spring. After watering, you may lightly fertilize with phosphorous heavy food to encourage blooms. Otherwise, limit water in winter. This plant is not cold hardy and is summer dormant.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.