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CRASSULA

Image of Crassula

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Crassulaceae

Botanical Name

CRASSULA

Plant Common Name

Crassula

General Description

Noted for their handsome, succulent, paired leaves, which are often arranged in striking geometric patterns, the 200 or so annuals, perennials, and small shrubs in the genus Crassula are mostly endemic to southern Africa.

Plants in this remarkably diverse genus have fleshy leaves and stems rich in specialized water holding cells that grant exceptional drought resistance. Plant habit ranges from creeping to upright. Most crassulas grown today are small species suitable for containers. Their dense, architectural, often colorful foliage offers great visual appeal.

Many species and varieties produce conspicuous white, cream, or red flowers. These are held in branched many-flowered clusters. Most Crassula bloom in spring or summer. Indoor or greenhouse plants may not flower at all unless conditions are optimal.

The most popular species, the common jade plant (Crassula ovata), is an old time favorite in Southern California gardens. Among the most spectacular in leaf and bloom is Crassula perfoliata, often grown in coastal California. Small, mosslike, fine-textured Crassula muscosa is popular for mixed containers.

Many of these drought-resistant succulents come from southern and eastern South Africa, where summers and winters are mild. Consequently, they fare poorly in hot climates unless protected from scorching sunlight. Whether grown in the garden or in containers, these plants need bright light and coarse well drained soil, with regular light feedings for maximum growth. Most need a winter dry period.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 12

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1"-120" / 2.5cm - 304.8cm

  • Width

    8"-120" / 20.3cm - 304.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southern Africa, Madagascar, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Magenta

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No