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Crassula, the famous Jade Plant

Crassula plant

Crassula is an indoor succulent plant family that displays surprising evergreen leafage.

Key Crassula facts

Type – succulent plant

Height – 8 inches (20 cm)
Soil – light, well-drained

Exposure: well-lit      –      Foliage: evergreen       –       Flowering: summer

It shows up in more and more places for its very trendy ornamental value. Caring for it is something anyone can succeed in, even though to keep it beautiful these tips will be very useful.

Planting crassula

Careful planting in the right soil is the key to a long-living crassula.

Planting and repotting crassula

Crassula is most often native to South Africa and adapts well to mild climates.

It is preferable to grow your crassula indoors if you expect freezing over the winter. Indeed, the slightest frost would kill it.

  • You may repot your crassula just after having purchased it if you’ve purchased it when not in flower, but pots for this plant are usually designed for at least another two years of service before growing too small for the plant.
  • After that, an annual repotting whenever your crassula looks like it is in a tight fit is recommended, with soil mix and sand, one part each.
  • Crassula can only survive outdoors in winter in regions closer to the equator.
  • If planting outside, prefer full sun exposure.

Propagating crassula

Crassula propagationCrassula can be propagated by preparing cuttings from young stems.

It is usually quite easy to get the crassula to sprout roots.

  • Slice off young stems with a sharp and disinfected blade.
  • Plant the young cutting in special cutting soil mix.
  • Ensure the soil stays a bit moist (water only when it has turned really dry).
  • Keep your cutting near light, but not in direct sunlight.

Caring for crassula

Although caring for crassula is straightforward, a few tips will help you grow a very nice, long-living plant:

  • It requires a lot of sunlight.
  • Water as little as you dare because this is a plant that stores water in its leaves.
  • The soil must stay rather nutrient-poor, no fertilizer is needed.

Pruning crassula

  • crassulaPrune your crassula when the branches get old or look weak.
  • The pruning is preferably performed after the blooming.
  • Avoid cutting more than ⅓ off each branch, and, this is important, leave at least a few leaves on each pruned branch.

Watering indoor crassula

  • During the blooming, 1 to 2 watering sessions a week, when the soil has dried well.
  • Apart from the blooming season, 1 to 2 watering sessions a fortnight.
  • In winter, light watering 1 time a month is largely enough.

In any case, it is important to wait for the soil to have dried well before watering, in which case it is also better to water once rarely with a significant amount rather then having many smaller watering sessions.

BE CAREFUL! Leaves from succulents are loaded with water. If they start collapsing or drooping over, it’s a sign to water again!

Types and varieties of Crassula

Crassula varieties are numerous and varied. There are hundreds of them!

  • Crassula jade plantThe most famous is Crassula ovata, also called the Jade Plant .
  • This is the one shown here (above/right)
  • It has many distinctive cultivars that breeders have selected.
  • Some have variegation, hollow leaves, and different hues and colors.

Other interesting species include:

  • Crassula perforata, which bears long skewer-like twigs with oval leaves.
  • Crassula helmsii, that grows in extremely wet environments and is frost-hardy.

Buddha's temple crassulaOn top of this, many fascinating hybrids exist that rival in color, shape and bloom for the greatest pleasure of all succulent fans!

  • Buddha’s Temple, with thin, stacked, mesmerizing leaf patterns.
  • It’s a recent hybrid of C. perfoliata and C. pyramidalis.

A summary

Native to either South Africa or Mexico, depending on the variety, Crassula is a very beautiful succulent with particularly appealing leaves.

With its reduced need for care, it poses practically no difficulty to the caretaker.

Although excess water is what most often kills it, it also like having a lot of light, but not scorching direct sun, as when behind a window.

You can set it in a pot or a garden box, along edges or on rocky ground.

Smart tip about Crassula plants

If ever you mistakenly break a leaf off, simply rest it atop soil and mist it from time to time. It will sprout roots and give rise to a new plant!

Images: CC BY 2.0: Marco Verch, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0: Jennifer Fabian, Pixabay: Claire Giral, Barbara Gollan
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  • kashif wrote on 7 August 2020 at 14 h 23 min

    thanks for Such an amazing guide, I have a jade plant which looks not happier now a days, I found black spots on the leaves of my jade plant is this a mealy bugs attacks.

    • Gaspard wrote on 7 August 2020 at 15 h 51 min

      Mealybugs aren’t black, they’re usually cottony white or light gray, but it might be another type of scale insect like the armored or soft scale. Perhaps it looks like the one that also made a black spot on a zz plant. If that’s the case, you can try following the instructions in those articles to heal your plant.

      • kashif wrote on 7 August 2020 at 20 h 13 min

        Thank you for your kind response I am going through your recommended articles

  • Lisa wrote on 10 June 2020 at 6 h 31 min

    On, a side note, I just joined, your site…AMAZING! I can spend hours on here!

  • Lisa wrote on 10 June 2020 at 6 h 15 min

    Thank you, for all of your advice!
    Originally, I had her in a round clay pot, perfect for her size at the time, in a macrame hanger. I have now transplanted her to a ceramic pot half filled with small pebbles and a three inch mixture of potting soil.
    I’ve been keeping her outside, since it is so humid, but in a shady area, and she seems to be happy. I have been misting her throughout the day as well.
    I bring her in at night and put her in a place where she receives indirect sun.
    Only time will tell to see how well she recovers.

    • Gaspard wrote on 11 June 2020 at 11 h 40 min

      That sure sounds like the right way to go!

  • Lisa wrote on 3 June 2020 at 6 h 17 min

    I have, what I just came to realize, as a crassula coral plant. I had it hanging in a window, which receives, alot of summer sun, in the afternoon.
    I didn’t pay much attention to it (I feel horrid now), because of it’s obscure location. I ignorantly assumed, that because she was green, she was doing ok.

    However, when doing my weekly watering, of my plants, I noticed that it had aerial roots (I just learned, what they were today, as I have never seen/heard of them, before), at certain place, along her stalks (?)
    When I checked, roots, they seem to be missing, also, most of her stalks, were shrivelled.
    I cut off, the shrivelled parts, and noticed new growth, coming in, in other places.

    My question is. Is there any chance, that I may be able to save her, if she is indeed dead?
    The only thing, that I could think, of doing, to increase, her chances, of survival, would be to lie her, on her side, in her pot, and burying the aerial roods.

    Any help, would be very appreciated

    • Gaspard wrote on 5 June 2020 at 10 h 13 min

      Hi Lisa! Sounds like an interesting “case”!

      Aerial roots are definitely a sign that something is missing down below. Usually it happens when:
      – there isn’t enough soil or the pot is too small. We’ve had that on a kalanchoe that wanted to tell us it needed repotting :p
      – there hasn’t been any watering for a long time.
      – the plant is rootbound and roots are choking each other out.
      – for succulents, this also happens when the lower part of the plant is rotting. Indeed, root rot interrupts flower of water to the top. Branches higher up try to send out new roots to answer their needs for water.

      Your idea of repotting the stem with the aerial roots is just what the plant needs! The main stem may have died, but the side shoots sprouting roots are still very much alive. Take great care to handle the plant carefully since the roots are very fragile.
      – mist the roots to soften them up a bit (spray with water) about 20 minutes before you start working on the plant. This will reduce breakage.

      After that, pot as usual with a very well-draining soil mix (sand, pebbles and just a little soil). I would recommend replacing the soil entirely and rinsing out the pot with soap, in the off chance some root rot fungus had earlier weakened the plant.

      Do try to start cuttings from any leaves or pieces of stems that still look healthy and feel firm. They’ll make cute gifts for the Christmas season!