Habitat: South Africa, arid areas of Southern Africa
Cultivation: The over 300 species of Crassula generally require few cares: full sun, plenty of water in the summer and gradually reduced in autumn and winter, a porous soil.
Curiosity: From its name you could say that it is the “succulent plant” par excellence: its name comes from the Latin crassus, that means fat. The crassula is a plant unpretentious but with a high vegetative strength: for this reason, it is sometimes used in a closed area for air purification, which is filtered by eliminating harmful substances.
CRASSULA KEY FEATURES
The plants of the genus Crassula are succulent shrub, evergreen, with thick, fleshy leaves, often dark in color, which represent the main feature. Either the leaves or the stems have the function of storing water which is typical of succulents. The leaves have a light fluff that defends the plant from the direct sun rays. They live in every conditions well: apartments, gardens or greenhouses, and they are, for this reason, widespread. There are many species and varieties that are adapted to the different ornamental requirements; most of them grow in height and some of them become similar to small trees with a height of a few meters. Nevertheless, there are creeping, climbing or bushy species.
Depending on the species, the flowering occurs between March and September. Flowers with five petals, with a star shape, come out, basically small, white or pink, often collected in the inflorescence. However, this plant is more chosen because of its shape and its foliage than for its bloom. Because of its low-growing demands and the high purifying power of its leaves, the crassula is sometimes used indoors where there are critical conditions to filter the air from harmful substances.
VARIETY AND TYPES
There are over 300 types of Crassula commercially. These are some of the most popular or the most curious:
- Crassula ARBORESCENS -very branched, as per its name it reminds a small tree for its structure
- Crassula PREPUNCHED – the leaves are very small, gray-green and covered with reddish speckles. They have a triangular shape and are directed upwards.
- C. rupestris.
- C. portulacea
- C. falcata
- C. Ovata
- C. Lactea
- C. Capitella
- C. Morgan
- C. pyramidalis
- C. barklyi
- C. exilis picturata
- C. deceptor
- C. Buddha’s Temple
- C. perfossa
- C. pyramidalis
- C. Barklyi
- C. coralita
- C. estagnol
- C. Justus corderoi
- C.marnieriana socialis
- C. lycopodiedes springtime
- C. Quadrangula
TIPS FOR GROWING
The crassule do not need a lot of attention to grow well. The differences between the various species are many, but here we list all the instructions which are suitable for all varieties.
- The best exposure is in full sun or at least in a very bright area.
- Being from South Africa, they need high temperatures. They should never drop below 7 ° C.
- Since it is a plant with a rapid and robust growth, it has a good tolerance during the watering, for example to excess or scarce watering. It is recommended to water it when the soil is dry, approximately every 2-3 days when the weather is warmer. Watering slightly more frequent in spring may encourage flowering. In autumn and winter, the watering can be reduced up to be completely suspended.
- The soil for the crassule must be porous and well drained because, like many other succulents, suffer a lot of standing water. The fertilization can be done once a month during the spring and summer.
- The need for repotting can vary depending on the species considered.
The multiplication of this plant can be done either via cuttings or via seed.
By cuttings, it is suggested to cut a sprig of about 8 cm in length, already equipped with leaves. After letting the wound air-dry, you can plant the cuttings in a pot with very wet soil. When the cuttings begin to issue the new roots it can be transplanted in its final pot.
By seed, however, please note that the jar with seeds should stay in the shade in order to sprout under the best conditions.