The world of succulents is as beautiful as it is diverse. For those of you unfamiliar with these types of plants, succulents are plants with thickened, fleshy parts that store water. They are native to arid climates. Their ability to survive in harsh conditions is only surpassed by their beauty.
Among these plants, the Crassula Genus stands out due to the amazing geometrical patterns created by their leaves.
If you are interested in growing such plants, we are here to set you on the right track.
Keep on reading to discover the characteristics of these plants and how to care for them. We also prepared a list of our favourite Crassula Succulents to make it easier for you to choose the one you like best.
What are Crassula Succulents?
- 1 What are Crassula Succulents?
- 2 How to care for Crassula Succulents
- 3 Unique-looking Crassula plants
- 4 1. Crassula Baby’s Necklace
- 5 2. Calico kitten crassula
- 6 In Conclusion
Crassula refers to a genus of succulents. This genus includes over 350 species, spread all over the world. In some parts of the world, they are so common that they are grown as hedge plants.
However, they also make excellent indoor plants. Some of them can even be grown as bonsais. These plants can have different shapes, sizes, and colours. Despite their differences, you can easily identify them by the fact that their leaves grow in pairs in symmetrical patterns. The paired leaves grow in layers, creating mesmerizing concentric patterns.
Aside from their shared love for symmetry, Crassula succulents can differ greatly from one plant to another. Some are dwarves while others reach considerable sizes. Some are low-growing ground covers while others have a trailing nature.
Trailing succulents look particularly well in hanging baskets. The thin stems spill over the hanging baskets under the weight of the fleshy leaves, creating gorgeous cascading effects.
How to care for Crassula Succulents
Like most succulents, Crassula plants are very resilient. They can thrive on neglect, as long as they have decent growing conditions.
As such, you don’t have to worry if you lack experience with these plants or if your schedule doesn’t allow a lot of gardening time. While each plant has unique growing requirements, here are some basic tips for growing these plants.
- Choose the right soil. As a beginner, it would be wise to start with a potted plant, not with a propagated one. This way the plant will come with adequate soil. Hopefully, you will learn how to care for it until you have to repot it. When you are repotting or propagating, choose porous, well-draining soil.
- Put off repotting them as much as possible. These plants have very shallow roots and don’t need to be repotted frequently. They actually thrive when their roots are a bit crowded. Repotting them without a real need will put unnecessary stress on the plants.
- Provide the right amount of sunlight. Most Crassula plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. The type of light that they need depends on the local climate. In areas with very hot summers, some plants will require partial afternoon shade. Variegated plants require more sunlight than their single-coloured sisters. You can also make do with artificial growth lights if your home lacks bright windows.
- Don’t overwater! There is no magic formula to determine the exact amount of water that a plant needs. However, when it comes to Crassula plants, less water is always better than too much water. One method that you can count on is the soak and dry method. Simply water the plant until excess water comes out of its drain holes and don’t water it again until the soil is completely dry.
- Keep them at an adequate temperature! While these plants can survive an occasional frost or an occasional heat wave, they are much happier in moderate temperatures. Ideally, the indoor temperature should not drop between 12 degrees Celcius and it should not exceed 30 degrees. Some plants are more resilient than others resisting even frost conditions. Nonetheless, it is better to avoid such conditions if possible.
- Feed them to encourage rapid growth! Regular fertilization will help the plants grow faster. Don’t feed them during autumn and winter as these are their dormant seasons. Use compost, compost tea, or a store-bought organic succulent fertilizer.
- Do the occasional maintenance routine! First of all, succulents need to have their leaves cleaned from time to time. To do this use a damp cloth and gently clean the leaves. This will make the plants look better and it will prevent pests and diseases. Regular pruning is also necessary. It keeps the plants neat and compact, encouraging richer foliage. You should trim leggy stems to encourage branching and pinch new tips if they are not in the desired growing positions.
- Don’t be afraid to propagate! Since these plants survive with shallow roots, propagation is quite an easy process. You can use stem or leaf cuttings. In both situations, you should allow the cut area a few days to develop a callus. Once it does, simply stick it in the porous ground. You can increase your chances of success by first dipping it in rooting hormone.
- Keep them away from pets and children! – Most Crassula plants are toxic, so be careful if you have pets or children. You can place the trailing plants in hanging baskets and the other plants on high shelves to keep them away from dogs and children. You will have to be more careful if you have a cat since cats can be very resourceful when it comes to reaching high places.
- Ideal companions for Crassula succulents include other succulents and cacti with similar needs such as Senecio, Kalanchoe, Agave, Sedum, Aloe, Euphorbia, etc.
Unique-looking Crassula plants
All succulents have their particular beauty. To get you started with your crassula plant collection, we have prepared a list of plants with unique characteristics. Their special looks will surely catch your attention and get you excited about caring for them.
1. Crassula Baby’s Necklace
Crassula rupestris, commonly referred to as Crassula baby’s necklace features small fleshy leaves. The leaves are triangular with rounded corners. Their staked growing pattern makes them resemble a string of beads, hence their name.
The leaves are light green, but their edges are often lined in shades of red or purple. This plant can reach a top height of 30 cm with a top spread of 20 cm.
This is a hardy plant that can handle both draughs as well as low temperatures. Baby Necklace is a sun-loving plant, but it does need the occasional shelter. It usually grows in rocky sceneries where rocks can provide shelter from the scorching afternoon sun.
However, it needs direct exposure to the morning sun for its leaves to reach a vibrant shade of green with contrasting dark variegations. It needs well-draining soil. You can make do with a basic cactus mix or you can add some sandy soil or perlite to the cactus mix for better results. As far as watering needs go, water this tiny plant vigorously but always ensure the water drains properly.
Excess water in the tray can cause root rot. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering it again. This plant also needs plenty of airflows so make sure not to crowd it or place it in an unventilated room.
Learn more about growing and caring for this attractive succulent from our complete guide to Crassula rupestris a.k.a. Crassula baby’s necklace.
2. Calico kitten crassula
Crassula pellucida ‘Variegata’, commonly known in the gardening world as Calico kitten crassula is as adorable as its name suggests. It is a variegated succulent with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are marked with different shades of pink, green, or white.
They are stacked in a concentric pattern. Unlike other succulents, the leaves are thin, so their patterns resemble blooms. It also grows flowers in the spring, and if the conditions are favourable, it can bloom throughout summer. It has a trailing nature and it can be a little high maintenance. It can reach a top height of 10 cm with a top spread of 30 cm.
Like most succulents, you will need a soil mix with excellent water draining capabilities. You can’t go wrong with a cactus potting mix, blended with perlite or sandy soil. This plant requires plenty of sunlight, but just like the Baby Necklace, it can be sensitive to scorching afternoon sun. If possible, place it in an east-facing window. Allow the soil to dry completely between watering sessions.
3. Crassula Pagoda Village
Crassula capitella subsp. thyrsiflora, commonly known in the gardening world as Crassula Pagoda Village, grows its leaves in mesmerizing rosette patterns. Its name comes from the fact that the rosette-shaped stems resemble Chinese pagodas and a whole plant can look like a tiny pagoda village.
The leaves can change their colours from bright green, to red and even purple. They grow on stems that can reach a top length of 25 cm. During spring and summer, the plant grows white micro flowers. The flowers have an average size of 0,6 cm. Crassula Pagoda Village is suitable for USDA zones 9b to 11b.
Crassula Pagoda Village is very resilient when it comes to draughts or even cold temperatures. Nonetheless, it can be sensitive to pests and diseases. Mealybugs and fungal diseases are the main concerns. These problems are more likely to appear if you overwater the plant.
This plant also prefers well-draining soil. Nonetheless, unlike other succulents, it can also thrive in a soil-less mix or clay soil. These plants are also very easy to propagate. Usually, any cutting that you stick in a good potting mix will quickly sprout roots.
When it’s time to repot, do it when the soil is completely dry. Shake off the soil from the roots and check to see if the roots are healthy or if they have any diseased parts that may need to be cut.
4. Crassula Devil’s Horns
Crassula nudicaulis, often referred to as Crasula ‘Devil’s Horns’ is appreciated by gardeners for its attractive, long, and spiky leaves that grow from the centre of the plant. The colour of the leaves can change from light green to dark red, depending on how much sunshine the plant gets.
Devil’s Horns can reach a top height of 15 cm and a top spread of 30 cm. During spring and early summer, it grows some tiny, cream flowers. It is suitable for USDA zones 9a to 11b.
This is a plant that needs full sun exposure. Unlike most succulents, it is not hardy in cold temperatures, so make sure to keep it in a room with moderate temperature. It has the same watering requirements as most succulents. Water only when it is dry and don’t let it sit in water. It can be propagated through seeds, offsets, leaf, or stem cuttings.
Obviously, cuttings are the easiest propagation method and the one with the most chances of success. As far as repotting goes, do it in the warm season, when the soil is dry. After repotting, leave the plant dry for a few days, even as much as one week. The roots are sensitive after the repotting procedure and they are more prone to root rot.
5. Crassula Moonglow
This plant has a very strong zen vibe. It has very thick leaves which resemble tiny stones. Due to the stacked growing pattern, it bears a slight resemblance to balanced stones which are representative of the zen culture. It can reach a top height of 30 cm and a top width of 1,5 cm.
The fleshy grey-green leaves are covered with a short fuzz. This variety is the result of cross-breeding, so the plant is also known as Crassula Moonglow Common Hybrid. It is also the parent of the Crassula Ivory Tower Hybrid which has a similar growing pattern but longer and thicker leaves.
It is suitable for USDA zones 10a to 11b. It has a fast growth rate. The best thing about it is that it blooms in late winter. It produces white or red flowers.
You can water this plant once a week in the summer and once every 10 days in the colder seasons. It doesn’t have much of a frost tolerance so only keep it indoors. You can propagate it through offsets, division, or leaf cuttings.
Even a single leaf can be enough to grow a new plant. When you propagate through cuttings, cover the dish until the leaf sprouts.
6. Crassula Watch Chain
Crassula muscosa, commonly known in the gardening world as Crassula watch chain looks like a succulent shrub that features zipper-like stems with tightly packed leaves that grow in an opposite pattern. It can reach a top height of 30 cm and a top width of 20 cm.
Its leaves are bright green in ideal conditions, but their colour can differ based on how much sunlight this plant gets. It is hardy to USDA zones 9a to 10b. In these areas, it can be grown outdoors as a shrub. In certain parts of the world, it is considered an invasive species. Nonetheless, it can make for a great indoor plant.
While Crassula Watch Chain loves sunlight as much as any succulent, it can be quite sensitive to the afternoon sun. As such, it is best to place it in a window that only gets morning sun. It can also handle light shade.
Water it using the „soak and dry” method. When it comes to propagating it, stem cuttings are your best choice. You can place them in water until they root or directly in well-draining soil. It may need the occasional pruning if it grows too many stems and starts to look tangled and messy.
Read our complete guide to Crassula muscosa a.k.a. Crassula watch chain to learn more about this fascinating plant.
7. Ruffled Jade Crassula
If you are looking for a Crassula plant that is less geometrical and more free-flowing, check out the Ruffled Fade. Scientifically, it is known as Crassula arborescens undulatifolia. Its leaves have a blue-grey shade with purple margins.
They grow on woody stems that are connected to a central trunk. The leaves are elliptical and grow in a ruffled shape. In ideal conditions, this plant can reach a top height of 100 cm and a top width of 90 cm. It develops pink star shape colors, but it rarely blooms indoors. It thrives in USDA zones 10 to 12.
It likes full sun exposure and it thrives in well-draining soil with a neutral to acidic pH. It will grow best in a porous pot such as a terracotta pot. It can be propagated through stem cuttings.
Allow the cuttings a few days to develop a callus before sticking them in the soil. This plant is susceptible to pests and root rot so only water it when the soil is completely dry.
If you live in a very warm area, keep it away from the scorching summer afternoon sun. In temperate climates, it will thrive on as much sun as possible.
8. Crassula Red Pagoda
Crassula capitella, commonly referred to as Crassula Campfire or Crassula Red Pagoda is a lovely succulent plant with bright green leaves with red edges. As it grows, the red takes over, turning into an intense scarlet shade leaving only the centre green.
Its leaves are long and elliptical and its growing pattern resembles a propeller or a flame. The colour of its leaves can vary depending on how much sunshine it gets. It can reach a top height of 60 cm and a top width of 13 cm.
Outdoors it can form mats as wide as 1 meter. This is a biennial plant which means its flowering circle takes two years. It blooms in summer, delivering small, star-shaped creamy white flowers.
Crassula Campfire grows well in full and partial sun. It has typical succulent soil and watering needs. It can be propagated through cuttings and offsets. Allow the cuttings a few days to develop a callous and allow the offsets a couple of days to dry before replanting them. This plant is dormant during summer.
Learn more about this attractive succulent from our complete guide to Crassula capitella a.k.a Crassula Red Pagoda.
9. Crassula Hummel’s Sunset
The Hummel’s Sunset variety is an award-winning Crassula ovata plant. It features glossy oval leaves. The bright green leaves have golden tips and red edges. The leaves are curbed inward so they create beautiful flower-like growing patterns.
The leaves grow on thick stems that unite in woody trunks. A plant can have one or several plants. Hummel’s Sunset can also be grown as a bonsai. It can reach a top height of 1 meter and a top width of 60 cm.
This plant thrives in full sun but it can also tolerate partial shade. It likes to dry out completely before being watered, but don’t put off watering it for too long as it has medium drought tolerance. It prefers rocky or sandy soil.
During the growing season, it needs to be watered regularly, once or even twice a week if it is placed in full sun. In regular seasons, you can water it once every two weeks and during winter, you can water it as rarely as once a month.
Leaves are the easiest way to propagate it. Clip a leaf from the main plant, allow it to dry, and then stick it in well-draining soil. You can also propagate it from offsets.
Read our complete guide to Crassula ovata succulents to learn more!
10. Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’
Our list would not be complete without this adorable succulent. Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’ is a charming, tiny, plant with triangular succulent leaves that are arranged in opposing ranks on slender stems. Quite similar to Crassula perforata, C. ‘Tom Thumb’ consists of many light-green leaves that can develop red edges.
The color of its leaves depends on the amount of sunlight that it gets. If it is grown in the shade, its leaves will remain green with only light shades of red. In spring, Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’ can produce clusters of delicate white flowers. If you like this succulent, you will also like its variegated cousin Crassula ‘Pastel’.
Like all crassulas, Tom Thumb thrives in well-drained soil. Regular feeding during the growing season will allow it to grow faster and bigger. It is more thirsty than other succulents so water it regularly, especially during extreme heat. It gets along well with other plants, especially with sister succulents.
Other attractive Crassula plants worth mentioning:
- Crassula arborescens (Silver Jade Plant)
- Crassula Buddha’s Temple (Crassula Kimnachi)
- Crassula Exilis Ssp. Schmidtii (Fairy Tongue Crassula)
- Crassula Falcata (Propeller plant)
- Crassula Gollum Jade
- Crassula Tomentosa (Wooly Crassula)
- Crassula Ovata ‘Lemon & Lime’
- Crassula sericea var. hottentotta
- Crassula marnieriana (Jade Necklace)
- Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree)
- Crassula mesembryanthemoides
Entering the world of succulents can be a wonderful adventure, even for a beginner gardener. Crassula plants are among the most interesting succulents. Experiment with different varieties and you will be rewarded with splendid, unique-looking plants. No matter which Crassula plants you start with, they will surely steal the spotlight in any room.
The best part about these plants is that they all require minimum care. The most important thing that you need to remember about succulents is the fact that they don’t like soggy conditions and require well-draining soil.
If you love succulents, you were surely familiar with the Crassula family. If not, we hope this article convinced you to start growing these adorable plants. What are your favourite Crassula succulents? Let us know in the comments section!