Succulents have become a popular choice for houseplants because of their low maintenance and diverse varieties in which they are available. These succulents enhance the look of the place; no matter you grow indoors or in your garden outside. One popular succulent plant is Crassula. It has over 350 species. It’s a native shrub that grows naturally in warm climates. However, in the other climatic zones, people grow Crassula Ovata as an important houseplant.
Most of the Crassula plants that people have at their homes have originated from the eastern cape of South Africa. If temperatures are fine, these plants would be an excellent addition to anyone’s house.
These succulents grow slowly but steadily and need care all year round when grown outside their native region. If you are planning to get yourself a Crassula plant, you have come to the right place. In this post, we have given detailed information on every aspect of growing Crassula plants indoors.
About Crassula plants
Besides thick woody stems, Crassula Ovata plants have oval-shaped leaves, which give them an overall appearance of a miniature tree-like structure, making them a major choice to be grown as decorative indoor houseplants. Crassula plants are long-lasting, if nurtured with proper care, oftentimes they pass from one generation to the other, reaching more than 3 feet in height or more when planted indoors.
Crassula plants adapt well to dry yet warm temperatures. Owners should water the plants sufficiently during the summers and keep them dry during winters. Crassula Ovata plants are susceptible to rots. Hence, allowing the soil to dry out in between the watering sessions is essential. Also, Crassula plants are not very adaptive to cold damage. So, make sure you take the plants inside the house every time the temperature drops below 50 F.
Varieties of Crassula Ovata
Like we already mentioned, there are innumerable varieties of Crassula Ovata available to be nurtured as houseplants. Here are the major species that are expected to catch your eye:
- Crassula ‘Morgan’s beauty’: This plant species comes with silver leaves dusted in white. Not just that, it yields pretty pink flowers in late spring. This plant grows up to a height of 4 inches.
- Crassula erosula ‘Campfire’: This plant species has long branching lime leaves that turn red in winters. It grows even taller than the previous one, sometimes reaching up to 8 inches and 2 feet wide.
- Crassula pellucida Variegata: This species is special for its mass of heart-shaped leaves that come in a variety of colours like green, pink, creamy yellow.
- Crassula perforata: Sometimes called the stacked Crassula, the leaves of this plant grow to circle around a central stem, which is a rare sight.
Conditions required for growth of Crassula Ovata
While growing Crassula Ovata indoors, you need to ensure that it gets the necessary conditions for healthy and happy growth. Enlisted below are some conditions you must go through before buying Crassula plants for your house.
Crassula plants must be kept in shade for most of the summer. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need sunlight. They require bright daylight to attain their vibrant colour. If you prefer keeping it outdoors during the daytime, make sure it gets the morning sunlight directly and is shifted to a shaded region during the afternoon.
The leaves may be scaled if kept in direct sunlight all through the day. If you keep the plants indoors throughout, make sure to keep them at a spot that receives sunlight for about 6 hours daily. Placing your Crassula plant pot on a south-facing windowsill is perfect.
The soil chosen for this plant must be very well-drained. Crassula plants grow well in rocky, sandy soils that are formulated especially for succulents.
Crassula Ovata plants prefer acidic soils but soils with too high pH levels are also not good for their growth. If planted in wet, boggy soils, their roots will soon begin to rot.
Succulents don’t need to be watered frequently. One must avoid overwatering the plants. If you are growing the plant indoors, sparse watering must be maintained all through winters to late spring.
Soak the plant, allow the water to drain completely, and wait until the soil becomes dry. Now water the plant again. During winters, reduce the watering sessions. Crassula Ovata grows faster in the spring season, so increase the watering sessions slightly.
- Temperature and Humidity
Crassula plants shouldn’t be kept outside in winters. Some species are frost tolerant while some aren’t. However, temperatures below 30 F are sure to kill the plant.
Humidity levels required for Crassula plants are usually low. However, they can also survive in regions with high humidity.
Add fertilizers to your Crassula plants very rarely. You can consider adding some amount of fertilizer to the soil during the spring season, the time when these plants grow faster. Feeding in the other months isn’t necessary.
Propagating Crassula Plants
Usually, Crassula Ovata is propagated from stem cuttings or leaves. You can also divide the offsets sometimes. Planting a new Crassula plant is an extremely easy and enjoyable process. Let’s see how this is done.
- Take a stem cutting or a leaf from a healthy Crassula plant. The stem cutting must be at least 2 to 3 inches in length and have two pairs of leaves.
- Now, keep the stem cutting or leaf aside for several days in a warm place. Notice that a callous would form over the cut area in the original plant, which is the plant’s mechanism to prevent rot and enable further rooting.
- Bring a pot and a well-drained soil mixture. Use slightly moist soil. It shouldn’t be wet though.
- Now, take the leaf that you took from the main plant and place it on top of the soil, with its cut end covered well in the soil. If you took a stem cutting, do the same.
- Now keep the pot in bright light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Don’t water.
- After about one or two weeks, you would notice that the stem cutting or leaf has started to send out roots. After a few more days, tug at the plant to see if the roots have been planted firmly to the soil.
- Once the plant is firmly rooted, you can water it carefully, at regular intervals. Make sure to not disturb the roots too much. Water the plant gently. To ensure faster growth of the roots downwards, don’t just water the surface of the soil. Make sure the water goes below the top layer as well.
- After watering it enough, let the soil dry out before you put water in again. Keep the plant indoor and make sure it receives enough sunlight, but not the direct rays of the sun.
Taking care of Crassula Ovata plants
Keep the following things in mind to nurture a healthy, happy, Crassula plant at your house.
- Once your plant is grown up, keep it in direct sunlight for at least 4 hours. The morning rays of the sun are ideal. Young plants shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight.
- Room temperatures between 65 F and 75 F are ideal to allow Crassula plants to thrive naturally. Slightly low temperatures in winters are preferable. These plants aren’t tolerant to frost. So, don’t forget to keep them inside at night during autumn and winter.
- When you notice signs of active growth, water it more. However, don’t overwater it. Water the plant deeply. Wait for the soil to go dry, before watering it again. So, watering the plant depends on how fast the soil drains the water- it can be once a week or daily, or once a month.
- In winters or autumn seasons, Crassula Ovata plants usually go dormant. Don’t water them much during this time. Water them extremely less during these times of the year. Large Crassula plants don’t need to be watered more than twice during the entire winter season.
- Don’t splash water on the leaves. This can increase their chances of getting rot.
- Use filtered or distilled water for watering Crassula plants. This is so because these plants are sensitive to salts that are present in tap water.
- If you notice brown spots appearing on the leaves or leaves falling off, it means that the plant needs more water. On the other hand, if the leaves become waterlogged or squishy, it means you are overwatering them.
- For feeding, give a diluted mixture of liquid fertiliser that’s specially made for succulents and cacti.
Repotting Crassula Ovata
Crassula Ovata plants wouldn’t mind if you uproot the plant and plant it anywhere other than a small pot. If you continue to keep them in one small container, it would prevent full growth of the plant, keeping it small in size.
- Owners can repot the Crassula plant once in two or three years to fasten their growth. Older Crassula plants can be repotted after every four to five years.
- Transplanting in the early spring season is ideal.
- After repotting, refrain from watering the plant for up to one week or so. Don’t fertilise it for a month. Otherwise, it can accidentally burn the roots.
That’s all you need to know about growing Crassula plants indoors. These plants also encounter issues with pests like mealybugs, spider mites, etc. Take special care of the plant if you see any signs of infestation by pests. Use non-chemical treatments to deal with such issues.