S. yunnanensis is native to the Yunnan Province in southwestern China where the plant grows in the cracks of rocks and can spread up to 2800 m of altitude.
S. yunnanensis is a small perennial succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant can reach up to 10 cm in height and grows in clumps. The plant forms a dense rosette of 50-70 leaves that can reach up to 4 cm in diameter. The leaves are fleshy, thick, rounded on the back surface and flattened on the upper one, pointed at the apex and covered with soft, small hairs. The leaves turn form dark green to brownish red and are covered with small red dots. When the leaves fall, they root on the ground and new plants grow. Blooming occurs from the Autumn to the early winter and buds are borne at the apex of the plant. The inflorescence is a panicle and the flowers are numerous, bell-shaped, large, yellow-green inside and reddish outside with red tips and red stalks. The flowers scent of sweet-sour. The individual rosette blooms only once, then dies, replaced by nearby clumps. The crestata form is much sought after for its unexpected shape.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 10°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. The plant can also be immersed in water, removed and left until it has completely dried out again. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The name literally means “Crassula of China” and the plant is also commonlty known as ‘Chienese Jade’.
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