Crassula Growing, Care & Cultivation
When I started growing succulents years ago my focus was really on Echeveria and Sepervivums. My Crassula then were mainly of the more well known plants. Useful and hardy but not inspiring. This changed when at a CSSA show Heinz Stroud showed a beautifully grown Crassula deceptor. I thought it was incredibly beautiful. I could not help but ask if he could spare me a piece, 3 months later he gave me my first plant.
Since then I have found the smaller growing ones very difficult to obtain and possibly the best collections were only in a few hands. But I really wanted to have a go at growing them. I finally contacted Max Holmes who very generously gave my first real start. Furnishing me with a fabulous collection, many of his own hybrids for free.
Later I found Olga We traded very happily she had more different ones plus added some quantity to my sometimes, single specimens. Noelene Tomlinson was also adding to my growing collection as well. Now I began growing Crassula. And then the collecting really began. Even last week a really generous customer sent me a new Sedum and Yes A Crassula namaquensis a lovely new addition for me.
I did a talk the other week for the Australian Cactus and Succulent Society. So I thought I would do this write up and add some pictures which I showed for all to see. I like growing and learning about Crassula, As they are suited to the Victorian climate and do well here. It is also a finite group unlike Echeveria and its many thousands of hybrids and species with mixed up names and very fine differences.
Crassula pyramidalis 2 forms
Crassula originated 60 to 70 million years ago in possibly central Africa. Where quite a few things began there.Us ??. Now the Creationists among us had better put their hands over their ears now. As evolution is very evident in this genus as it spread and diversified long ago. It seems that the Crassulacea group moved around and out of Africa in a similar way it is thought early humans did.
With supposed climate change and continental drift. Crassula moves south some moved North to Europe, then Asia. Becoming Sedums and Sinocrassula etc. The southern African lot also moved with continental drift with Gondwanaland and New Zealand having around 10 species of Crassula. And other related African genera having close relatives here and in the Southern American continent. So most Crassulacea are in the Southern hemisphere
Approximately 150 Crassula species are represented, in Africa, Australia, NZ and Europe. A few are nearly worldwide now. Sedge like plants in waterways and ponds. One Australian species has recently been declared a noxious weed in England as its taking over ponds and small waterways and wet areas there.
Plant naming or nomenclature predominantly is based on flower form i.e. all Crassula have the same sort of flowers, even though as a genera they are much more diverse growing group than many other genera.
They inhabit bogs and waterways, to having underground tubers, Crassula umbella most being annuals (growing and flowering then seeding and dying in one season) others are fleshy leaved others with papillae (nodules) tomentose (hairy, and many perennial (living more than one year) shrubs. Some prostrate scramblers.
Crassula deceptor 4 types
Growing Crassula is not too difficult, the species we seem to like to grow in pot culture, the soil must be light and free draining. I use some extra gravel with plants for long keeping or showing not wanting them to grow too fast. They need more water in winter and less in summer, their dormant time. One rule of thumb I like, is when a plant sends up a flower shoot. It is getting ready to breed this is the prime season for healthy growth and fertilization and the dissemination of seed to procreate the species when water is often more available naturally. So water more in the flowering and seeding times.
Crassula mother plants
Crassula cuttings in boxes
Crassula Pests and Treatments
All the normal offenders for most of the Crassula group all being vulnerable to Aphids and Mealy bugs. Cure is Confidore, watch out for oily insecticides as they are not good on hairy leaves. Again, humidity worries with Rust and fungal rots, can be a problem for Crassula which have tomentose leaves which hold the water. I use “Agri Fos 600 systemic fungicide.On most rots and fungal die back in other succulents or Cactus.
And Scorpio fungicide is good for “Rust and Powdery Mildew” unfortunately, rust permanently marks the leaves so you must wait for the new growth to cover the damaged leaves before your plants look good again.
Crassula Mealy bug damage
Creating your Crassula environment. They really do best in cooler but dry climates becoming more difficult the higher the humidity gets. Spots (Rust) develop on the leaves during humid times ( winter in Vic and summer in NSW and QLD . Good ventilation during these time is beneficial.
Try watering during these times well but infrequently on a warm day giving the plants time to dry off before nightfall. The silver and grey ones, are more sensitive to being wet to often getting leaf and stem rots easily in the cooler months. Most Crassula leaves are furry or hirsute, pubescent. Many have papillae ( small protuberances on the leaves) like small warts or regular lumps Crassula ausensis is one of the more beautiful and best example of these.
Papillae or hairy leaves all hold water for longer than a waxy leaved plant. This makes them more vulnerable to rust and rot on the leaves. So try to keep dry cool and airy in winter if your in the south. Also planting them with a gravel topping helps to reduce the capillary movement of water from your mix up to the lower leaves resting on the ground.
Crassula muscosa monstrous
Crassula alstonii or is it Pasrsifal
Crassula Light and Shade
How much Sun or Shade. Some or many or of the species really prefer shade of about 50% I keep mine at the eastern end of my houses where there is some added shade of some trees in the afternoon. The silver and grey ones can take more sun about 30% shade. They can elongate with not enough light, watch for this. Just remember these may be desert plants that grow in the open or in cracks or fissures or between large boulders so therefore may get very little direct light. It is up to you to find this out as every growing situation is quite different and personal as to how you grow your plants
Crassula Moonglow six sided
Crassula Hybrids and Cultivars
Crassula hybrids, and who are the major artists who have created them. There are quiet a few hybrids but not nearly as many as the Echeveria group. So this is another reason I like working with this group as is finite, collectable. You can get your head around the whole group quite easily. Technically a hybrid is a cross between two species this could occur naturally with insects in your house or with a small paint brush of the hybridizer.
With Crassula breeding this really requires some skill. The flowers are very very small, and once pollinated its hard to see swollen seed capsules developing, or to determine when the seed is ripe for picking. If you look carefully at the Hybrids around I think you will see that there is room for some interesting breeding to be done in the future. In the hybrid group I will also list some variations which can be Monstrous forms, crest, mutations, cultivars and variegation's.
Not all hybrids have known parents, but a few have happened naturally in the glasshouse and noticed by the observant Crassula grower. A much more comprehensive list of species hybrids and their parentage, and hybridizers is on the ICN site. See the link below.
Crassula elegans. Large form on right
Crassula elegans variegate
Crassula Favored Species
These species have been favored by the collector and gardener for many years. So therefore these are the parents of most of the hybrids that are available today . Crassula shmidtii for its pink flowers. Crassula perforata and its many hybrids. Crassula rupestris. Crassula suzanae has many hybrids to it name. Crassula teres Crassula elegans and forms. Crassula marchandi. Crassula columnella Crassula cotyledonis Crassula perfoliata. Crassula pyramidalis Crassula quadrangularis Crassula deceptor
Most of these species have been the subject of most of the hybridizing effort to-date Most of these lend themselves to pot culture, which is the favored way of growing these lovely small fat leaved plants. It also fits the trend of smaller growing plants, in small pots that people can fit many in to their collection area easily often in semi or indoor situations
Crassula barbarta Cuttings
Crassula Moonglow Head Cuts
Is rather basic just mostly its done by cuttings. Which must be dried for at least a week before potting. One thing I have noticed some that have tightly compacted leaves like baby’s necklace marnieriana. Rot very easily when potted before rooting as it’s hard to remove the leaves back to a bare stem. I have been for some time taking cuttings leave them upright along the edge of my growing trays with the bases just sitting on the gravel or potting mix. There they start to grow some new pink roots in about 2 to 4 weeks this depends on the season then I pot.
This also stops your drying cuttings turning into bananas which don’t look good, and are hard to pot. Crassula by leaf cutting is good and bad very small leaves root but are hard to handle and very slow to make a plant. I prefer cuttings for them Plants such as Ivory tower fine ones like Buddhas temple very hard to get any to grow reliably. So therefore cuttings are best. Good subjects for leaf cuttings are Talisman Celia Morgans beauty etc the medium sized leaves. Crassula Leaf cuttings should be dried well for a week or 10 days before putting into your pots or trays. Check my photos for examples of how I do this with varying successes. Atomic forms, I will talk of later about this ,how it's done,and what they are.
Crassula leaf cuttings
Max Holmes looking at his hybrids
Crassula Hybridizers and Their Hybrids
Max Holmes is Australia’s own and main Crassula breeder who has worked and studied these plants for a long time Max is possibly the most prolific breeder of this Genera. Lets see. he has created these more well known hybrids. There are others he felt over time did not measure up.
- Crassula Alice Herbert
- Crassula Amulet
- Crassula Bolero
- Crassula Cameo
- Crassula Damsel
- Crassula Daphne Holmes
- Crassula Gandalf
- Crassula Speckles
- Crassula Talisman
- Crassula Tinkerbell
John Trager USA
- Crassula Pangolin
- Crassula Fallwood
- Crassula Ivory Tower
- Crassula Ivory Pagoda
- Crassula Coralita
- Crassula Buddhas Temple
- Crassula Baby’s Necklace
- Crassula Jade Necklace
- Crassula Jade Tower
Dick Wright USA
- Crassula Brides Bouquete
- Crassula Celia
- Crassula Christina.
Rodger Jones from Ballarat
- Crassula Rodger Jones
Corrado Coccorese Italy. These are some I think he has more and will update
- Crassula Angela
- Crassula Falachira
- Crassula Rosa
- Crassula Rosa Marina
- Crassula Camaleonte
- Crassula Reia
- Crassula Jedi
Some notable older hybrids
- Crassula Justus Corderoyii
- Crassula Justus Corderoyii Variegata
- Crassula Emerald
- Crassula Green Pagoda
- Crassula Tom Thumb
- Crassula Parsifal
Some other new hybrids.
- Crassula Rosebud
- Crassula Clavdea
- Crassula Davarree
- Crassula Garnet Lotus
- Crassula High Voltage
- Crassula Picturata hybrids
- Crassula rogersi Silk Variegate (new find by Kim Hamilton)
- Crassula Velveta
- Crassula Baby’s Surprise. Shultz AU
- Crassula Dimples. Morgans Beauty variant. Shultz AU
- Crassula Frosty . Shultz AU
Crassula Daruma Star
Crassula Moonglow variegata
Some new Japan Hybrids and cultivars
The west may not know off yet.
Crassula Coramunca Sindou
Crassula Hammer (China)
Crassula Moonglow variegate
Crassula Moonglow Hexagonal
Crassula Morgans Beauty variegate
Crassula muscosa Ryouja (green snake)
Crassula muscosa Monstrose
Crassula muscosa Crest
Crassula perforata Aiboshi
Crassula perforata Daruma Star
Crassula perforata Giant Form
Crassula perforata Jyuji Boshi (variegated)
Crassula rogersi Variegated
Crassula Springtime variegated
Crassula Volkensii Variegated
Crassula platyphylla Variegated (the name platyphylla is questionable)
Crassula elegans variegated
Crassula elegans Monster Form
Crassula ovata GK4. GR3. GPL. Atomic forms from Korea.
Crassula some that have disappeared.
Crassula Giants Watch Chain
Crassula Pulverinata Boom.
Crassula umbella Mystery. fact or fiction.
Crassula umbella. wine cup Crassula. never seen buy most people or only heard about. In the wild its rarely seen or photographed and seems to have opposite leaves like other Crassula and not an entire circular and flat leaf . Yet in photos on the ICN and other ones among succulent collectors we seem to see an entirely entire round leaf cup shaped red underneath. Are we looking at a Saxifrage or a Crassula. or is this a regional difference. I would love to know.
Crassula umbella Collector photo Crassula umbella wild plant photo
Please don’t think this is a complete list but it is what I know about and have found out about over the last month or so May 2017
References Crassulacea network site. The most up to date definitive site on the web
Corrado. collector, pages on FB. Italy
Wilco Hofstrder. Collector and grower in Holland.
Succulents Australia James Lucas Crassula Album Being added to real soon
Japanese Crassula. these are plants that I have either seen. and or collected. I have used the names given to me at the time or are known as in Nippon.
You as the reader, please let me know. if I have made any glaring errors or omissions, of anything you think may be important, or would be a useful additional knowledge for the Crassula interested public let me know through the contact us on the shop.