Crassula rupestris subsp. rupestris
Crassula rupestris is native to South Africa and Southern Namibia. Its habitat are the Richtersveld, Namaqualand Ceres Tanqua Karoo, Worcester Robertson Karoo and Little Karoo (all these are semi-arid ecosystems differentiated for climates and vagetation belts) , in hot, dry climates with Winter rainfalls, and rocky soils.
Crassula rupestris is a slow-growing, small perennial shrub (maximum 50 centimeters in height), with erect or prostrate, very branched stems, woody at the base and more fleshy near the growing tip. Leaves are triangular-shaped, pointed and fleshy, arranged in opposite pairs, are 1,2-1,5 centimeters long and 0,8-1 centimeter wide, lightly concave on the top page, greyish-bluish-green, often with reddish edges. If grown in full sun, leaves can turn completely red, of a scarlet, intense colour.
Blossoming occurs in the end of Autumn – beginning of Winter: the flowers are grouped in rounded heads called thyrses, and grow on the axile of the upper leaves. They are numerous, starry, with 5 rounded petals, white with a pink central part, scented, half a centimeter wide, pollinated by bees, moths and bumble bees.
Seeds are really small, similar to powder and dispersed by the wind and formed in the beginning of Spring, March-April, in our hemisphere.
C. rupestris 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 bright red tinges of its leaves, so we advice to put it in a bright spot.
To stay safe, it’s better to keep your C. rupestris 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, should never grow at temperatures below 7 ° C.
Water your Crassula rupestris every 2-3 days in Spring and Summer during the growth season. By the way, if you forget, the plant will survive. Wait for the soil to dry up completely before each watering. Watering slightly more frequent in spring may encourage flowering. In autumn and winter, the watering can be reduced up to be completely suspended.
Choose a porous and well drained substrate, fed with plenty of well-rotten compost.
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 and anytime your C. rupestris outgrows its pot. It has, in fact, a rapid growth rate.
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. It’s also possible to use seeds, to be sown in Spring, Summer, Autumn. Seeds can also be used, to be sown in Autumn, namely, in our hemisphere, September-October-November.
The name Crassula is the diminutive of 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 “Rupestris”, instead, refers to the habitat of this plant: mainly cliffs or rocky outcrops, where the shrublet is able to grow into small crevices.
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