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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-28
Full Sun
Full
Minimal Water
Minimal

Crassula

Crassulaceae
Cacti and succulents, Perennials

These are mostly South Africa natives. All have succulent foliage; many have strange geometric forms. Excellent in containers.

Need good drainage. May not survive winter frosts without overhead protection. To cope with extreme summer heat in desert zones 12 and 13, grow in containers or coolest sites (such as a northern exposure). 

Crassula capitella thyrsiflora ‘Pagoda Village’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Crassula capitella thyrsiflora ‘Pagoda Village’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Crassula capitella thyrsiflora

Grows to 6–30 in. high and a little wider than tall. Slightly branched, with rosettes of long, triangular, fleshy leaves; leaves are dark red when plant is grown in intense sunlight and poor soil. Tiny white flowers in summer. ‘Campfire’ (may also be sold as C. coccinea or C. erusola) has spreading growth, 6–12 in. high with bright green leaves edged with bright orange-red. It is frost sensitive.

Crassula mucosa

Leafy, branching, erect stems to 1 ft. high and wide, closely packed with tiny green leaves in four rows; effect is that of braided chain or of some strange green coral. Very small, inconspicuous greenish flowers. Easy to grow and useful in dish gardens.

Crassula ovata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Crassula ovata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Crassula ovata

Sometimes sold as Crassula portulacea. This is a top-notch houseplant, large container plant, or landscaping shrub in mildest climates. Use only as potted plant in hottest desert regions. The plant has a stout trunk and sturdy limbs, even when small, and stays small in containers. In time, can reach 9 ft. tall and half as wide, but is usually smaller. Leaves are thick, oblong, fleshy pads 1–2 in. long, glossy bright green, sometimes with red-tinged edges. Clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers appear from fall into spring.

Crassula schmidtii

Mat-forming, spreading plant to 4 in. tall, 1 ft. wide, with long, slender, rich green leaves. Clusters of small dark rose or purplish flowers put on a show in winter and spring. Good choice for containers or rock gardens.

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