No synonyms are recorded for this name.
C. columella is native to South Africa and Namibia: in particular, from Winter-rainfall areas in Richtersveld, Northern cape. Its habitat are rocks crevices or outcrops, mainly composed of quartzite.
C. columella is a rare, perennial, dwarf succulent, very appreciated by succulent lovers for its peculiar growth habit and leaves. It consists, in fact, in a little, cute cluster of tetrangular, elongated stems, made of four lines of leaves, which are very small and closely packed up together. From the top to the base, the stems tend to enlarge, so that they look like elongated tetrahedrons. The leaves are not so pointed, so that the four angles of the stem are slightly rounded and make the plant even more cute. Another peculiarity, which is actually common in Crassulas, is the leaves tip, tinged in reddish. This hint becomes more intense if the plant receives plenty of sunlight. The lower leaves on the stem might be more yellowish and reddish than the younger ones. This compact growth habit, with the packed leaves, is probably a strategy to minimize water loss and to survive to the prolonged droughts of its habitat. Flowers sprout grouped on rounded heads called thyrses, borne on an elongated and hairy stalk, that appears in Autumn on the Northern hemisphere and in February-April in their natural habitat. Flowers are very tiny, as in every Crassula, 1-2 millimeters long, creamy-white to pale yellow, star-shaped.
C. columella is not difficult to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:
The best exposure is in full sun or semi-shade. By the way, intense sunlight enhances the reddish tinges of its leaves, so we advice to put it in a bright spot.
To stay safe, though C. columella can hendle temperatures down to -5ºC in a dry substrate, it’s better to keep it 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, shouldn’t grow at temperatures below 7 ° C.
Water your Crassula columella every week in Spring and Summer during the growth season. By the way, if you forget to water once, the plant will survive. Wait for the soil to dry up completely before each watering. A slightly more frequent irrigation in spring may encourage flowering. In autumn and winter, watering frequency can be reduced up to be completely suspended.
Choose a porous and well-drained substrate, fed with plenty of well-rotten compost. A non-acid soil is ideal.
Fertilization can be done once the growth season, diluting a product specific for succulents with water at half the doses recommended on the label. C. columella isn’t, in fact, so hungry for fertilizer.
You can grow your C. columella in a 5-10 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. A shallow pot is ideal. C. columella, in fact, stays very small.
Propagation can be easily realized through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings to be taken off in early Autumn and then left to dry up for a week before being planted. The easiest propagation mathod is actually the removal and replantation of the numerous offsets, by removing a lateral shoot and placing it with its base buried in a well-draing substrate. It’s also possible to use seeds, to be sown in Spring, Summer, Autumn.
The genus name “Crassula” comes from the Latin “crassus”, which means thick or fat, referring to the fleshy stems and leaves of the members of the genus as a whole. The species name “Columella”, instead, means “pillar” or “little column” and it’s due to the compact growth habit of the little plant.
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