Crassula orbicularis var. rosularis
Crassula orbicularis is native to South Africa: in particular, it occurs from Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.
It prefers sheltered spots among the rocks. It is a relly tough plant and it resists drought, frosts and high temperatures. for its rusticity, its habitats are many, really different from each others.
Crassula orbicularis is a tiny plant: it doesn’t overcome an height of 25 centimeters, when in flower. It’s the perfect plant for a shady garden, with its dark green leaves, with a tinge of brownish, bronze red, arranged in small rosettes. Leaves are generally flashy but narrow, maximum 10 centimeters long and 3 centimeters wide.
Blossoming is a fashinating, spike-like thyrse, carried by an elongated, purple stalk, which overlooks the rest of the plant. Flowers are white when still buds, dark red when blossoming, similar to leaves. In their natural habitat, they are pollinated by flies, so they have a strange, musty smell. In fact, to attract flies, a sweet scent wouldn’t be appropriate…
Its seeds are small like grains of dust: this is to be dispersed by the wind.
Crassula orbicularis is a fast-growing plant, not so difficult to grow. That’s because it’s a really harsh plant: it will grow almost everywhere! Even if you are not a really good gardener, it will resist. Pay attention to watering: interventions should be moderate and frequent to maintain a moist (never overwet) soil in Spring and Summer and reduced and scarce in Winter, only when the substrate completely dries up, to prevent it from root and stem rot. This plant requires a partially shaded spot, or either a position in which it can receive filtered light. It’s better to keep it indoors to avoid frost damages: temperatures below 5ºC could damage the plant. This is a safety measure: actually, C. orbicularis is a really resistant plant and it can bear short frosts, if kept dry during the cold season. Anyway, why risk it? If you prefer to put it outside, remember that this is the perfect plant to be grown in a shady garden.
This species needs a good airflow.
Its ideal substrate is a porous potting mix, very well-draining. Choose a shallow pot to provide the best condition for its fibrous roots.
Propagation can be made through cuttings of the offsets or seeds. A vegetative propagation is more advisable, as seeds of C. orbiculata are very small and difficult to handle. For the best result in vegetative propagation, plant the cuttings, taken off in Spring, in a sandy, well-draining, moist soil. Sowing, instead, should be done in Summer.
The name “Crassula” comes from the Latin “crassus”, which means fat.
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