No synonyms are recorded for this species name.
Crassula plegmatoides is native to Namibia and South Africa, where it’s present only in a restricted area, between the southern part of Namib coastal desert and Port Nolloth in Namaqualand. Its habitat consists in arid coastal areas among the rocks or on quarts gravel, so dry that only opportunistic plants can survive. In ecology, opportunistic plants are species that are not able to compete with other grass or bushes in a complex ecosystem, but are able to survive in habitat made extreme by intense grought or other strong hindering factors such as grazing. The altitude range is low, between 100 and 300 meters above the sea level, and the scarce rainfall are concentrated in the Winter.
Crassula plegmatoides is a little succulent plant, highly sought after by collectors either for tis rarity in the wild, and for its odd aspect. It forms, in fact, pretty clusters of greyish green columns of rounded leaves, closely packed to the stem and one another in opposite pairs, so that the overall aspect of the stem reminds the one of a bizarre, 4-angled caterpillar. Stems stay unbranched, but form dense clusters like tufts, usually erect but sometimes slightly curved. In the wild, they are almost undistinguishable from the barren, greyish-brown rocks of their severe habitat. The species stays small, up to only 1.5 centimeters tall. From late Summer to early Autumn, the blooming season starts and the inflorescence, arranged like a raceme, appears. It it sborne on a stalk that reaches 3-6 centimeters in length and has little flowers, creamy whitish-yellowish. The clusters of stem tend to occupy all the available space in the pot.
Crassula plegmatoides is not difficult to cultivate. Here below are our tips:
Put it in a bright spot. Full shade is not good either for rooting capacity and for rot sensitivity. Avoid a direct exposure during the hottest hours of summer days. Shade should be only occasional, as plants grown in full shade tend to become more fragile, to loose leaves and to etiolate.
In theory, Crassula plegmatoides should survive to temperatures down to -5ºC. To stay safe, though, we advise to place it indoors in Winter.
Keep it dryer than other Crassula. It should be a Winter grower because, in its natural habitat, Summer is too dry and vegetative growth is not possible. At the same time, though, its native climate is so dry that ut will grow all year round, if some water is provided (around once a week, more frequently during the hot season). Always wait for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation.
Choose a porous and well drained substrate, fed with plenty of mineral matter. A substrate specific for succulents is the ideal for Crassula plegmatoides.
Fertilization can be done once the growth season, diluting a product specific for succulents with water at half the doses recommended on the label.
Repot once a year to provided freash soil.
Crassula plegmatoides can be easily propagated through the removal of the offshoots, by removing a lateral one and planting it in a light, well-drained soil. The time required to root is usually a month. Cuttings are easy to realize and thus we recommend this method, instead of sowing, that can be tough with this plant. Leaf cuttings are also possible for this species, removing them carefully as they are attached to the plant through their very base, and replanting in a light compost after being left to dry out properly for 1-2 days.
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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