Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana cv. contorta
No synonyms are recorded for this species name.
Crassula rupestris subs. marnieriana cv. contorta is actually a nursery cultivar and thus doesn’t exist in nature. The original natural habitat is actually in South Africa, in the Karoo desert. The succulent Karoo desert is a semi-desert natural region of South Africa, defined by extremes of heat and cold and low annual rainfall. It hosts many fossils of an ancient well preserved ecosystem and tons of succulent species.
Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana is a slow-growing, dwarf succulent, consisting in a bunch of slender stems that look like necklaces, formed by fused leaves, so densely packed that they appear columnar and tetrangular. This typical arrangement of the leaves is the main difference between the regular Crassula rupestris and Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana. Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana produces cushions of these columnar, erect stems, reaching a height of 15-20 centimeters. The cv. Contorta, instead, is characterized by the different habit of the stems which, instead of being erect, are usually prostrate and curved, more or less convoluted and twisted. Other than that, the cv. contorta and the regular Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana are rather similar: same densely-packed leaves, size, and flowers. Leaves are sessile, 4 millimeters in length and 8 in width, bright, light green with purplish red tips, arranged in opposite pairs that make the stem tetrangular. Inflorescences come in thyrses borne on short, succulent stems of adult plants. A thyrse is a type of inflorescence in which the main axis grows indeterminately, and the subaxes (branches) have determinate growth. It hosts tiny, white flowers, and the blooming period occurs in Spring and Summer.
Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana cv. contorta 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. A direct exposure to sunlight will enhance the red tips of its leaves. However, avoid a full exposure to sunlight during hot Summer days.
In theory, Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana cv. Contorta should survive to temperatures down to -5ºC. To stay safe, though, we advise to place it indoors in Winter.
Water all year round, decreasing the frequency in Autumn and Winter. In these months, wait for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. During the Summer, instead, keep the substrate slightly moist.
Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana enjoys a windy spot, with low air humidity.
Choose a porous and well drained substrate, fed with plenty of mineral matter. A substrate specific for succulents is the ideal for Crassula rupestris subs. marneriana cv. Contorta.
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 provide freash soil.
Crassula rupestris cv. marneriana subs. contorta 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”, means literally “succulent plant” or “fat plant”. The species name “rupestris”, instead, means “growing on cliffs”, and the name of the cultivar, “Contorta”, means literally “twisted, convoluted”, and refers to the peculiar habit of its stems.
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