Crassula alstonii


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Crassula alstonii is native to South Africa, Namaqualand, where it thrives on poor, rocky soils, rich in quartz.


Crassula alstonii is a perennial tiny plant with extremely short stems barely taller than the ground level (up to 4 centimeters). Stems are actually replaced by tightly packed rosettes of oddly-shaped leaves, that look like little, grey pebbles and, in their natural habitat, are barely distinguishable from the surrounding pebbles. Rosettes are often found grouped in small, crowded colonies. Going into detail, leaves are silvery-bluish grey, transversely complex-obovate as flattened pebbles, 2 centimeters wide and rounded at their tips.
The inflorescence is pretty cause it looks like a little tree. It has in fact this purplish stem branching in short clusters of yellow flowers: in botany, it’s called a “raceme”, but it looks like a little tree in which the leaves are replaced by flowers. Inflorescences can become rather taller than the whole plant, reaching 10-20 centimeters in height. The single flowers are equipped by a tubular corolla, smaller than 1 centimeter, creamy-pale yellow, turning brown as it withers. The blooming season occurs in Autumn and Winter.


Crassula alstonii is not the easiest plant to grow. Nevertheless, by following a few tips you’ll obtain good results. Here below ours:

The best exposure is in full sun or semi-shade. By the way, intense direct sunlight should be avoided during the Summer. During the rest of the year, place it in a sunny spot. Shade should be only occasional, as plants grown in full shade tend to become more fragile, to loose leaves and turn on a paler colour.
To stay safe, it’s better to keep your Crassula alstonii indoors in Winter or at least to shelter it, if you live in a temperate climate area and you choose to grow it outdoors. Crassulas in general, in fact, should never grow at temperatures below 7 ° C. In frost-free areas, by the way, Crassula alstonii can stay outdoors even during the Winter.
Provide a good ventilation rate, as this species doesn’t like stagnant air.
Water your Crassula alstonii rarel in Spring and Summer during the growth season. By the way, if you forget, the plant will survive. Wait for the soil to dry up completely before each watering. Watering slightly more frequent in spring may encourage flowering. In autumn and winter, the watering can be reduced up to be completely suspended.
Choose a porous and well drained substrate: a succulent mix will do good for your Crassula alstonii.
Fertilization can be done once the growth season, diluting a product specific for succulents with water at half the doses recommended on the label.
Crassula alstonii variegated stays very small and doesn’t need frequent repottings. However, it might expand horizontally to form colonies. In that case, repot whenever the colony outgrows its pot. Choose a pot only slightly wider than the plant.


Crassula alstonii can be easily propagated through the removal of the offshoots, by removing a lateral one and planting it in a sandy, porous mix. Also stem cuttiings should be placed in a similar medium, and moisted every 3-4 days. The time required to root is usually 2-3 weeks. Cuttings are easy to realize and thus we recommend this method, instead of sowing, that can be more tough with this species. Also leaf cuttings are a viable method. Seeds, instead, should be sown in Autumn.


The genus name “Crassula” comes from the Latin crassus, that means fat. All Crassulas are unpretentious plants, with a high vegetative strength: for this reason, they are sometimes used for air purification indoors, in bedrooms and offices, due to its capacity to eliminate harmful and polluting particles from the atmosphere.

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